The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan
Summary:Sixteen-year-old Leilani loves surfing and her home in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. But she's an outsider - half white, half Hawaiian, and an epileptic.
While Lei and her father are on a visit to Oahu, a global disaster strikes. Technology and power fail, Hawaii is cut off from the world, and the islands revert to traditional ways of survival. As Lei and her dad embark on a nightmarish journey across islands to reach home and family, she learns that her epilepsy and her deep connection to Hawaii could be keys to ending the crisis before it becomes worse than anyone can imagine.
Wow! To be completely honest, I sincerely did not know what to expect from author Austin Aslan’s debut novel The Islands at the End of the World. But I am coming away sincerely impressed and slightly even terrified with this stunningly original debut.
Right before my eyes, my beautiful islands are changing forever. And so am I …
To most people, it’s a vacation spot. But to 16-year-old Leilani, a passionate surfer and epileptic, it’s home. When Leilani and her father travel to the island of Oahu, they’re not prepared for what happens next. Suddenly, Hawaii is cut off from all technology and electricity; and people are forced to resort to traditional methods of survival. As the two of them embark on a dangerous cross-country journey to get back to their homeland, Leilani realizes the power to stop this crisis may just be inside her.
One of the things I absolutely loved about Aslan’s novel was his ability to incorporate Hawaiian mythology and ecology into the story.
Hawaii has such a fascinating and beautiful culture, and it really plays a big part in the lives of the people who live there. I felt Aslan did an absolutely incredible job incorporating this culture and it’s mythology into the story in a way that made sense.
Character-wise, I found this to be incredible. While Leilani definitely isn’t a perfect protagonist, I found her to be relatable and well-developed. You could really feel her pains and her struggles throughout the story, and it was so easy to empathize with her. From her feeling of not belonging on the island she lives on because of her race, to her maturity and determination, she’ll truly worm her way into your heart.
Most YA books being published nowadays seem to be bombarded with things such as love triangles and instalove. Thankfully, The Islands at the End of the World does not have either of those two things. Rather, it takes a different route and focuses on another fundamental value: the power of family. The relationship between Leilani and her father throughout the novel is truly a powerful one, even if it isn’t perfect. You can truly feel how much they love and care for each other, and it’s pheonominal.
If you want to be transported to the beautiful island of Hawaii as it turns into an terrifyingly realistic post-apocalyptic wasteland, give The Islands at the End of the World a try. It won’t disappoint.View Spoiler » « Hide Spoiler