The Islanders

Aladdin. Aug. 2021. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534427273.
Gr 3-6–Jake Potter, a military kid, finds himself stuck for the summer on a remote South Carolina island with his grandmother. His dad has been injured in the field, and his mom needs to go and care for him. With the injury to worry about and no phone, internet, or video games, Jake slowly begins to explore the island and make friends with two other 11-year-olds. At first depressed, his grandmother begins to perk up as Jake makes discoveries. Jake, who is white, and his friends Lovie, who is also white, and Macon, who is Black, find a loggerhead turtle nest on the beach and work to protect it. Monroe and May’s middle grade debut is a thoroughly wholesome adventure, but younger readers may enjoy this story more than middle schoolers. The descriptions of the island’s wildlife are vibrant, and young animal lovers will be delighted at the information about turtles and other animals. Otherwise, the plot unfolds quite slowly, without many points of conflict or the character development that would give the book emotional resonance.
VERDICT A good purchase for elementary collections where there are budding naturalists. A secondary purchase otherwise.

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