Take 5: YA Fiction Set on an Island
Since today’s earlier post is about islands, I thought I would share with you some recent YA that takes place on an island. Fair warning, usually a lot of people die in the island books I read. Sorry about that.
When I was in middle school, one of my favorite books and movies was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. And there are not 1 but 3 YA books that are loose retellings of this compelling story, proving that I probably wasn’t as weird of a teen as I thought I was.
Never Coming Home by Kate Williams
Publisher’s Book Description: The beach read you have been dying for! When ten of America’s hottest teenage influencers are invited to an exclusive island resort, things are sure to get wild. But murder isn’t what anyone expected. Will anyone survive?
Everyone knows Unknown Island—it’s the world’s most exclusive destination. Think white sand beaches, turquoise seas, and luxury accommodations. Plus, it’s invite only, no one over twenty-one allowed, and it’s absolutely free. Who wouldn’t want to go?
After launching with a showstopping viral marketing campaign, the whole world is watching as the mysterious resort opens its doors to the First Ten, the ten elite influencers specifically chosen to be the first to experience everything Unknown Island has to offer. You know them. There’s the gamer, the beauty blogger, the rich girl, the superstar, the junior politician, the environmentalist, the DJ, the CEO, the chef, and the athlete.
What they don’t know is that they weren’t invited to Unknown Island for their following—they were invited for their secrets. Everyone is hiding a deadly one, and it looks like someone’s decided it’s payback time. Unknown Island isn’t a vacation, it’s a trap. And it’s beginning to look like the First Ten—no matter how influential—are never coming home.
And if you like murderous ya set on an island loosely based on Agatha Christie, and I apparently do, you may also like these . . .
And let me take this moment to say that if you like YA thrillers and horror, you can’t go wrong with Gretchen McNeil.
NEVER COMING HOME will be released in June of 2022
Some other island tales . . .
Before actually living in a deadly pandemic, I loved to read about deadly pandemics. The Way We Fall series is about a group of teens trapped on an island during a deadly pandemic. It’s very good and everything you want in a good pandemic story. There’s a slow build up of bodies, a lot of science, and the desperation of a group of people trying to figure you how to survive what appears to be the unsurvivable. This is a really great addition to STEM reading lists.
We Were Liars is an older book that has gotten so popular on BookTok that they are releasing a prequel called Family of Liars in 2022. This is a haunting tale about a family full of secrets that slowly unfold and when they truth is revealed, nothing will be the same. Every family has a liar, but what happens when you are all a family of liars and secrets?
The town of Sparrow is surrounded by water and death. Centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death as witches. Each summer the ghosts of the sisters take their revenge, stealing the bodies of the girls that live there and luring boys to the town. When a boy named Bo shows up, Penny thinks she may be falling in love with him. But love will put them both at risk to The Wicked Deep.
Here’s another island haunted by a witch burning and a curse. Nor is a teen who has maybe not really there super powers and an equally not really there love life. Then, a mysterious book appears saying that it can cast a spell . . . for a price. Is Nor willing to pay the price? From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.
You know I can’t talk about books being set on an island without mentioning Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This is one of the best books to listen to on audio, you will split your sides with laughter. A group of teens crash on an island on their way to a beauty pageant and while they try to survive they learn that not everything is as it seems. It’s a wild ride full of survival, friendship and corporate malfeasance.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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