The inhabitants of The Island only know there was a scourge of massive fires that destroyed the rest of the world, leaving what is known as The Wastelands. The Island was colonized by ten men who were able to escape and set up a society with strict rules. These rules are enforced by the ten male descendants of those men, known as Wanderers. Only Wanderers are permitted to ferry back and forth to The Wastelands for supplies, and it is only they who have any knowledge of what life was like out there.
Children on the island feel stifled until the summers when all children are allowed to run amok around the island. However, when the girls reach womanhood – usually at the age of 12-15, their summer is different. Instead of running wild, they enter the Summer of Fruition to find their mate. They are expected to have children soon after – only two – and when those children bear children, they take their final draft and die, no longer useful to the community.
The most important rule on the island is that a daughter obeys her father, but some of the girls are beginning to realize there is something dark about their society. As they attempt to change things, the entire island is risked. There are allusions to terrible things that happen to young girls, though nothing is said outright. I found that to be a powerful choice by the author. This community knows no different, understands no different, and therefore do not think of what is happening as strange. The mind boggling-ness of it all is what makes this book so captivating.
It’s getting a lot of comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale, but it also reminds me of M. Night Shayamalan’s “The Village”. If you liked either of those, you’ll love this.
4.5 out of 5 stars.