Bodeen’s second book in the Shipwreck Island series wades a little deeper into the island’s mysteries.
Twelve-year-old Sarah Robinson and her newly blended family are stranded on a tropical island, where perplexing events increase as hope of immediate rescue fades. Mysterious Cash, a girl they discovered unconscious on the beach in series opener Shipwreck Island (2014), has recovered and tells disturbing tales about the Curator, a self-described collector who tried to imprison her. Sarah’s stepbrother Marco shares Sarah’s and his own strange experiences, but their parents remain skeptical—surprising, since everyone’s seen the same scary “red orb in the sky” hurtling toward them. Meanwhile, Sarah’s stepmother, Yvonne, is sick (something more ominous than morning sickness?), and just as Sarah and her stepbrothers are beginning to embrace a cooperative relationship, Sarah’s dad and Marco’s little brother disappear. Like a deepening bad dream, the search for missing family leads Sarah and Marco (literally) to a cliffhanger and a chilling encounter with the Curator. Though characters are uneasy about splitting up, they can’t resist, which allows readers to enjoy the island’s scenic side, with crystal-clear streams and juicy mangoes. The plot, however, would have benefited from a clearer story arc, and readers will be impatient for more reveals in the next installment.
Bodeen’s enjoyable castaway fare enhanced with a touch of sci-fi futurism still entertains, but readers will hope Volume 3 tightens things up. (Adventure. 10-13)