b00k H00t #14 The Other Side OF The Island

Yes, another dystopian YA novel on the list for year nines. But this is my favourite yet! It is eighteen years after "enclosure", the world as we know it has been flooded, presumably due to global warming, and there is only a series of numbered islands left. "Earth Mother" who is in charge of the Corporation, has enclosed some islands to control their weather, and the people's minds!

Allegra Goodman's combines globalisation and global warming in her dark vision for our potential future. The writing is tight and pacy and there's certainly much to be discussed in terms of language choice and her extrapolation of current global events. For example, the punishment for not filling out forms correctly is 24 hours of "Persuasive Reasoning and Positive Reinforcement" and the potential loss of teeth. As in all the best dystopian texts, the price of freedom is pain.

Honor (all the children in her birth year have names beginning with 'h') and her parents move to island 365 where there is New Weather and all people are controlled down to their jobs, housing and reproductive rights. Sound familiar? This totalitarian scenario has been seen before in texts, and of course in our world. The complications come when Honor's family defy the rules- even her name isn't really complying, and they begin to fight back. Of course along the way Honor tries to fit in with this new order.

I can't recommend this one highly enough. Speculative fiction has an important place in the classroom and in our lives, it always has. There are subtleties that adults will enjoy. For example: the Corporation are in the process of 'ceiling' the world; there are hotels just visible beneath the ocean and there's one memorable scene with a lone polar bear which reminded me of the scene from An Inconvenient Truth.

I think teenagers will lap this one up- and Honor certainly kicks some corporation ass!

Happy reading,

Barking Owl

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