ISLAND'S END by Padma Venkatraman
Kirkus Star

ISLAND'S END

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

In an isolated island culture, a girl guides her people into the future despite encroaching mainland influences.

Uido lives on an Andaman Island in the Bay of Bengal. Her family is one of 40 in this island’s communal hunter/gatherer tribe; they live in a village of thatched huts during the dry season and move to the jungle for the rainy season. Because Uido visits the Otherworld in dreams, the tribe’s oko-jumu (spiritual leader) chooses her as the next oko-jumu. Lah-ame trains Uido in the jungle, teaching her how to start fires, make medicines from plants, perform rituals and chase away lau (illness spirits). What Lah-ame can’t teach Uido is how to handle the biggest threat: Strangers who keep landing on their island, bringing matches and digital cameras, provoking curiosity and discontent. An insect-eating plant hints that adaptation enables survival, but Uido’s choices become increasingly difficult, especially when the strongest spirit, Biliku-waye, warns her of “[m]onster waves” approaching. Uido’s clear, intelligent, present-tense voice consistently engrosses as she pushes through doubt and loss to find the right path. The beach, jungle and cliff settings are palpable. Perhaps most important, Venkatraman never undermines the portrayed religion. There is very little information about Andaman Islanders, making it hard to gauge the authenticity of this portrayal; the author’s note indicates a respectful and diligent approach to her subject.

Refreshingly hopeful and beautifully written. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-25099-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2011




2011 BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS: THE COMPLETE LIST:

ChildrenVIRTUOSITY by Jessica Martinez
by Jessica Martinez
ChildrenBEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray
by Libba Bray
ChildrenTILT by Alan Cumyn
by Alan Cumyn
ChildrenTHIS THING CALLED THE FUTURE by J.L. Powers
by J.L. Powers

MORE BY PADMA VENKATRAMAN

ChildrenA TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman
by Padma Venkatraman
ChildrenCLIMBING THE STAIRS by Padma Venkatraman
by Padma Venkatraman

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenSO SINGS THE BLUE DEER by Charmayne McGee
by Charmayne McGee
ChildrenMAATA’S JOURNAL by Paul Sullivan
by Paul Sullivan