Google+ YA Romantics: Trending Thursday: Island Tales, From Idyllic to Sinister

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trending Thursday: Island Tales, From Idyllic to Sinister


Welcome to Trending Thursday, a weekly post in which I pick some trendy aspect of YA literature and we can discuss...

I just finished this book, which was set on a private island....


That got me thinking about YA books that take place on islands.  I think that Island Books are a timeless trend, the kind of thing that never really goes out of style.  Island settings take the element of isolation and make it either romantic or sinister.  I thought We Were Liars, which I'll review soon, was a clever combination of both.

Here are the four types of island books that I thought of:

Idyllic Island: romantic walks on the beach on a charming island you won't want to leave... 
Creepy Island: you think you're on that charming island, but then things get spooky...
Survivalist Island: on these islands, only the strong survive...
Fantastical Island: these stories blend mythology with the supernatural...

Classics set on islands run the gamut, from Idyllic (Anne of Green Gables) to Survivalist (Lord of the Flies or Robinson Crusoe) to Creepy (Island of Dr. Moreau)

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TV shows set on islands often have Survivalist and/or Creepy elements...

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In terms of recent YA, there are a few Idyllic Island books.  Not everything is perfect on these islands, but the worst that might happen is a broken heart or a bad case of sunburn...
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Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
The Au Pairs by Melissa de la Cruz
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick


Creepy Island books are a favorite of mine. Everything seems nice, until you realize that something sinister is afoot...
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Ten by Gretchen McNeil
The Turning by Francine Prose
Shadowlands by Kate Brian


Survivalist Island books seem to have surged in popularity since the TV show LOST. In these island books, you might be menaced by a virus, an asteroid, Mother Nature, or your fellow castaways...
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NIL by Lynne Matson
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Elemental by Antony John
The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

On a Fantastical Island, you might find supernatural forces, mythical creatures -- or both!
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The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan
Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsay
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Revel by Maurissa Guibord

There's something about a book set on an island that just captures my imagination. What do you think of this timeless trend?

21 comments:

  1. Loved Nil but great point about survialist islands. I have never seen lost but know it is popular

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    1. I watched it until it jumped the shark. It was really good for a while!

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  2. I love island settings whether it be idyllic, creepy, survivalist, or fantastical. I thought of two other books that take place on islands: The Living by Matt de la Pena (survivalist) and The Sound by Sarah Alderson (creepy) Great post! =)

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    1. Ooh -- haven't read those -- thanks for the suggestion :)

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  3. I haven't read any book with island settings, but I loved watching Lost and Survivor.
    Right now I really want to read Ten and The Scorpio Races, maybe those books make me want to read more about the topic!
    Great post, Jen!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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    1. If you love LOST and Survivor, you should try some of the Survivalist books. And somewhere in my pile of mess I have a list of YA books that I think were influenced by LOST...

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  4. I am all about the creepy Island books! I love scary books!!

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  5. Aaaaaalright, I'm reading What I Thought Was True right now and it's pretty fantastic. I'm working on my final assignment of the semester so that I can spend all day tomorrow reading (or writing O.o). BUT, I don't think you can call Tumble & Fall a survivalist novel, because nobody cares if they live or die and, really, either everybody lives or everybody dies, and I think it has more to do with chance. Wow, I have feelings about that book. Oh my.

    Also, The Scorpio Races is my favorite book. (And I have now fulfilled my duty to say that every time I see it mentioned.)

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    1. LOL -- even if the main characters didn't care that they were about to be obliterated by an asteroid, maybe some of the other people on the island did..

      Scorpio Races is a great book :)

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  6. I like to compares island settings with boarding school settings. They are an easy way of explaining all the extras out and diving straight into the story. Also, there is nothing better than a nice story on an island and the creepy stories can work their way in quite deep as well. Great post :P

    -Mari

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    1. Good point -- books where all the characters are stuck somewhere are always more suspenseful...

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  7. I think they are just eternally mysterious and creepy settings for books, except for the light summery reads, of course. There's a feeling that anything can happen, and secrets can be kept from mainland society. I liked Vitro and The Madman's Daughter too, I think those were particularly creepy, isolated islands. And Lost, oh the memories! I wish that last season had never happened though. Great post!

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  8. I tend to love books set on an island, so this is one trend that I'd like to continue seeing. Partials is almost completely on an island (Manhattan I believe) and I loved that. It really made sense for the story. Very fun, Jen! I love these!

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  9. Well it's not strange that fantasy islands are the most appealing to me! :) I love your post and I totally agree that books set on islands have a different vibe and they are timeless. Great post, Jen :)

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  10. What a great comparison this week Jen! I love reading island books but this makes me realise I haven't read many of them o.o I started reading Scorpio races but I couldn't get into it, so I put it down. Lovely post!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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  11. The way we fall in on my wish list.

    Great post!

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  12. Thank you for compiling this list of books, Jen. I love this kind of posts! I do agree that even to me island settings just has that certain charm that attracts me to it like a moth to a flame. There's something so romantic and creepy about islands in particular. I haven't seen one that can be both, though, so We Were Liars is definitely something I'd need to check out.

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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  13. This is awesome list - I read few of those creepy books and ugh... I don't even want to think about them.

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