Survival: Hawaiian Style

Survival: Hawaiian Style

The Islands at the End of the World

by Austin Aslan

Genre: YA Post-Apoclyptic
Published: August 5th, 2014
by Wendy Lamb Books




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.

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37 thoughts on “Survival: Hawaiian Style

  1. SOLD.
    I was sold as soon as you said Hawaiian mythology! That is something I haven’t seen yet and I am definitely looking forward to! Plus I love that instead of a romance it focuses on family! πŸ™‚ You don’t see that a whole lot in YA!

    Fantastic review, Zoe and THANK YOU for sharing! πŸ™‚

  2. Ow! I have always been fascinated with Hawaii not only because of the Hula but the beautiful sceneries as well.

    I never thought that it can be a perfect setting for a post-apocalyptic novel to unravel. Will try this one not only for the wonderful setting but also of its heavy familial theme. πŸ˜€

    Lovely review!

  3. You are impressed and slightly terrified? I am impressed and slightly terrified, too, but do sign me up! I’ve yet to read a book set in Hawaii so I’m not really that familiar with its culture and its mythology but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested. I don’t know about the others, but when you said that this novel’s strengths are in its characters and its focus on family dynamics, I definitely am more excited to read this one. Fab review, Zoe! πŸ˜€

  4. Zoe, I’m so so happy that you enjoyed this pretty! There’s not many books that are set out in Hawaii, so this will be a definite start for me. I got this on my Kindle not too long ago, so I now know what to expect! I love powerful family relationships, and this seems to have itβ€”as well as surfer characters. πŸ™‚ Beautiful review, and of course I had to click that spoiler button. xD

  5. Whoa, a 4.3 from Miss Zoe?? I stumbled across this book on GR and thought it looked great. Your love for it makes me even more excited to read it! Hawaii is gorgeous, I can’t wait to be transported back there in this book. *sigh* I love relatable characters, and I HATE perfect characters. It’s so unrealistic. Awww the power of family <3 That's the best bond ever. Great review, Z. I'm loving the gifs t00 πŸ˜‰

  6. So Zoe I really want to read this one but the only problem is that it’s about Hawaiian Mythology and while that sounds wickedly awesome and cool and totally oringal and everything i want and need to read i feel like part of me is going to be pissed off i’m not in Hawaii! Does that make sense?

  7. I have this book, and NEED to read it. I have been waiting for it for awhile, the premise sounds o incredible. Your review has made me even more excited (pretty sure I am reading it next!). I also really love the idea of a father-daughter relationship being explored, we don’t see a ton of those! Great review!

  8. Wow girl! I haven’t heard of this one till I read your review and now it’s totally on my TBR. That cover also really pulls me in and makes me wonder what the book will contain.

    I do love and adore Hawaii. It was where my parents married, and where I have spent every second winter since I was 6. I love surfing more than anything else and scuba diving in the ocean is such a beautiful experience. Needless to say, I’ll be able to connect to the MC and the story in this one so easily. I’ve been to Oahu and Hilo so just hearing about those locations would be cool. I can’t also wait to see the true Hawaiian come to light.

    The survival aspect in this one appeals to me so much. In YA I feel like this sub-genre does tend to be swept aside unfortunately. However I personally think it holds such amazing promise. It’s really telling of humans and how react under dire circumstances.

    Lovely review girl! <33 thank ya so much for putting this on my radar

  9. Holy awesome cover, batman!

    I love stories set in holiday destinations, because then we get to see the ‘true’ place. All the little nuances the locals know etc. Plus Hawaiian mythology? HECK YEAH.

    I’m so happy the only love story in this is the love between family πŸ™‚

    Awesome review, Zoe!

  10. It sounds fabulous! I can’t wait to get my hands on this. My dad and I have a great relationship, it would be easy to connect with Leilani, I’m sure. I’ve always adored apocalyptic books, I am not gonna miss this chance HAHA

  11. Whaaaaat? No love triangles or insta-love? I almost don’t even know what to do with that, it’s been so long since I’ve read a YA book without either! LOVE that this book incorporates Hawaiian culture and mythology, that has me really excited to pick it up. Thanks for the amazing review!

  12. I love that this not only features Hawaii but that it refrains from love triangles and insta love. I am pleased to see that it is all about family. I will have to check this out.

  13. YES! YES to the power of family!! We need more of that in YA! But what’s most Hawaii. Man, I really want to go there, not only because of beaches but yes culture and mythology. I need to read this one to find out more about it! Also character here seem amazing and I cannot wait to meet them. Great review, Zoe! πŸ™‚

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book based in Hawaii! And no love triangle or annoying tropes? I’m in! I hadn’t really looked into this book before but it sounds like something I’d enjoy! Great review, hun!

  15. Ah yes I wouldn’t know what to expect with this book either. but I love the idea I confess mainly in Hawaii and I never heard of the book so I should try to see something a little different. Great review lady!

  16. I love dystopian novels πŸ˜€ Loved your review. I enjoy reading what you write because you write so well πŸ™‚ I’m definitely going to read this book soon. This would look like something I might enjoy at the moment <3

  17. YES. FAMILY! Wow no love triangles? IN HAWAII? APOCALYPTIC? Going to add this to my TBR now, because it just sounds amazing. This book just gives off a different vibe compared to other books, I just feel it. πŸ˜€

  18. BEAUTIFUL review Zoe <3 I knew there was going to be a Lilo & Stitch gif coming up once I read it was set in Hawaii and it was about family hehe. πŸ˜›

    This book sounds brilliant – I love that it focuses on familial love and that it's about a dad and daughter relationship. We really don't see that enough in books at all.

    It will be so scary to have epilepsy during a disaster like this. I'm really curious as to how Lei and her father handled everything in this novel. I'm looking forward to picking this up – wonderful review Zoecakes <3

  19. Beaches and coconuts are about the only things I know about Hawaii lol!! Can’t imagine how The Islands at the End of the World narrates the Hawaiian folklore, must be a unique experience πŸ™‚ Definitely have this in my radar now, thank you for the great review as always!

  20. I love when you begin your reviews saying that you didn’t know what to expect, because usually I can already mark it down as awesome and open up a new tab to buy a copy. This sounds brilliant and it’s about time YA focused on family, rather than forced a horrid YA romance. I don’t know about you, but can you imagine pashing on while you’re half dead and the world has turned to shit? Me either.

    I have to have this one too. Brilliant review Zoe, you’re costing me an absolutely fortune in books I must buy immediately lately <3

  21. Huh, this sounds really good and I don’t think I’ve read a book set in Hawaii so I am very inclined to read this!

    Lovely review, Zoe <33

  22. Whoa- No istalove or love triangle, and not even romance? That is a special one. Love that it focuses on the family and their relationship (you usually don’t get much of them either.) I don’t know that much about Hawaiian culture in general anyway, so this would be fun to learn, especially to see how it incorporated the mythology. πŸ™‚

  23. I LOVE that cover, it speaks to my soul. (Not dramatic at all). I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Hawaii and besides, the only thing I know about the place is that it has nice beaches and uh pretty…beaches. So Hawaiian mythology sounds perfect!

    And a book that focuses on family, instead of some tragic instalove story? Yes please! I’m definitely getting this soon.

    Thanks for the great review, Zoe! <33

  24. I hadn’t even heard of this one before, but now I am desperate to get my hands on it. It sounds amazing, a truly unique debut. I haven’t read ANY books on Hawai as far as I can remember, it’s a place I am fascinated by and would love to visit. I definitely need this book in my life. Thank you for the review πŸ™‚

  25. Oh wow, I haven’t read any books set in Hawaii before (and now I’m wondering why!) This sounds completely fascinating and I think Hawaii is always left off the radar when it comes to post-apocalyptic novels, so this one will definitely be interesting. Thanks for sharing Zoe – I haven’t heard of this before!

  26. Girl, you already convinced me when you mentioned how it doesn’t have a shitty love triangle… that it focuses on family. That’s what I’ve been LOOKING for for many, many months now. Nothing better than to be able to read something that enforces family love and support.

    And it’s apocalyptic, too! I love that genre despite being crashed and burned many times. Sigh, I wonder how I can get a copy of this?

  27. This sounds so interesting! I love that the novel doesn’t focus on relationships like the typical YA trope, but focuses on family! Combine this with an apocalyptic focus and I’m seriously adding this to my TBR list! You’ve definitely convinced me to read this! Lovely review!!

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