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ISLAND BOYZ by Graham Salisbury Kirkus Star


by Graham Salisbury

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 9th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-72970-7
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Hurricanes, volcanoes, capsized fishing boats in shark-infested waters, cliff-diving in a dangerous ravine, and a mysterious stranger at the Taco Bell are among the thrills in this excellent collection of stories. Running through them—through the storms of nature and human nature—is a reverence for the “most mind-boggling, most impossible universe you could ever imagine.” The author’s affection for the Hawaiian Islands where he grew up is evident throughout. Despite the menace or malice in each story, above the surface or below, the characters always reflect the last lines of the opening poem: “ I would not have traded places with anyone not even God.” “Mrs. Noonan” and “The Doi Store Monkey” are two fine contributions about the cruel underbelly of boarding-school life, whose protagonists find quiet means of resistance to evil. “Waiting for the War” superbly tells of how the bombing of Pearl Harbor affected peoples’ lives and attitudes on the island, through the relationship between two boys and an “army guy” named Mike. The final selection, “Hat of Clouds,” is about brothers, the Vietnam War, and the healing power of a place to come home to. Each story stands alone, but much of the power and appeal of the collection lies in how each individual piece contributes to a larger portrait of the place. A must for any good collection. (Fiction. 12+)