Author: S. A. Bodeen
Series: Shipwreck Island (Book 1)
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (July 29, 2014)
Description: Sarah Robinson is deeply troubled in the wake of her dad’s second marriage. She now has to deal with a new stepmom and two stepbrothers, Marco, who is her age, and Nacho, who’s younger. Even though they’ve all moved from Texas to California to start life as a new, blended family, none of the kids seem remotely happy about it.
Sarah’s dad and stepmom then decide to take the whole family on a special vacation in order to break the ice and have everyone get to know one another. They’ll fly to Tahiti, charter a boat, and go sailing for a few days. It’ll be an adventure, right?
Wrong. Dead wrong.
Shipwreck Island is the first installment in a series from S.A. Bodeen.
My Thoughts: This first book in a series introduces the characters and sets the scene for the rest of the series. Twelve-year-old Sarah Robinson wasn't at all happy when her widowed father married Yvonna Murillo after meeting her online. Worst of all Yvonna comes with two sons - twelve-year-old Marco and ten-year-old Nacho. Sarah is sure that Yvonna married her father for his money and is determined not to like her or her sons.
Marco wasn't happy about the marriage either. He had to leave all his friends in Texas to move to California. Nacho is more accepting of the marriage because he wants his mom to be happy. Nacho is a bit of a germophobe. His suitcase was packed with hand sanitizer and the materials he needs to work on his merit badges as an Eco-Scout.
The parents have decided that the best way to unite the family is to go on a family cruise. First they have to spend 36 or more hours on planes flying from California to Figi via Shanghai and Sydney. Once they arrive on Fiji, they find that the luxury sailboat that is supposed to be waiting for them has been vastly misrepresented. They decide to go anyway despite the peeling paint, mildewed sails, and grunge below the waterline. Barely out of port they run into a storm. During the storm, the captain is killed, the mast breaks off, and no one knows if an SOS has been sent.
They wake the next morning to find clear weather and the sailboat rammed into some rocks near an island. They transfer what they can salvage to the island which seems like a tropical paradise at first glance. It doesn't take long for weird things to start happening. Sarah sees a kangaroo with long claws; Marco sees a four-winged bird with a mouthful of sharp teeth. Neither tells their parents about these things because they hope they were seeing things. Marco and Sarah's father also discover an abandoned cabin that Marco finds really spooky.
After an attack by huge coconut crabs and spending a night in the trees, they take refuge in a cave to avoid a weird red thing in the sky. Then there are the weird wails that come and an unconscious girl on the beach...
Than the book ends.... Talk about cliffhanger endings. I am filled with questions about what is going on there on the island. Middle grade readers will be demanding the sequel RIGHT NOW!
As they headed out of the clearing, Marco turned and looked at the house one more time. He knew he would come back to that place to help haul the water and pick fruit and swim in the waterfall pool. But only in the daytime. And, if he could help it, he would never spend a night in that house.I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.
Because, for some reason, he had a feeling that whoever had lived there...might just mind after all.