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Shipwrecked review

shipwreckedShipwrecked by Siobhan Curham

June 2013, Electric Monkey

Book jacket blurb:

I jump at the sound of a whispered voice over my shoulder. But when I turn around all I see is sand, and the towering, green wall of the rainforest. I guess it must have been the breeze, but I can’t help shivering. I have the weirdest feeling that we’re being watched.

Grace Delaney and her fellow dance students are en route to perform on a South Pacific cruise-ship when a freak storm hits and they find themselves stranded on a seemingly deserted island.

With the tropical heat rising, passions and tensions swell to breaking point. And the island itself is quietly steaming with a terrible secret…


This book is billed on the back cover as ‘Gossip Girl meets Lost: The newest guilty pleasure’. You might as well throw in Step Up, with a sprinkling of Lord of the Flies too, because there is a lot going on in this book. First you’ve got Grace Delaney and her fellow dance students, with all the high drama and complicated group dynamics you might expect from a bunch of creative, expressive teens: secret crushes, not-so-secret crushes, best friend jealousy, and the age-old popular rich-kids vs not-so-popular kids divide. Then we meet enigmatic and silent Hispanic hunk Cruz, who is charged with the task of driving them all by speed boat to the cruise ship where they will be performing for the summer. But they never make it, because a sudden storm leaves them on a remote island. If tensions were running high before, you can imagine what happens when they realise a) they are stuck on this small island with each other and b) it doesn’t look like they’ll be rescued any time soon. Enter the final element to the story: creepy voodoo goings on emanating from the island’s jungle-ridden interior.

I was intrigued by this ambitious premise, but I wasn’t convinced that all the threads worked together. It felt a lot like the book couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. The developing romance between Grace and the mysterious Cruz was really quite sweet, as two people who in their own way felt apart from the others found a kindred spirit. But this didn’t really sit at ease with the spooky element of the story. There was a tense, foreboding atmosphere on the island and the sense that they were being watched, but when it came to the crunch the voodoo theme came out as a bit cheesy and overblown. A shame, because it felt like it had such potential. I almost wished the author had picked forbidden love or horror. There also wasn’t a very real sense of the danger the characters were in. They all seemed a bit too breezy about their predicament – group relations turned sour, sure, as their situation worsened, but I didn’t really get a sense of the physical effects of the lack of food and shelter on them.

But I couldn’t stop reading, because the author has a real knack with cliff-hanger chapter endings, and the pace kept up throughout. The friendships and fall-outs were well-executed, and the characters, though perhaps based on teen stereotypes, were believable and each had their own little quirks. If I had an afternoon to kill on a sun-lounger and someone handed me this book, I certainly wouldn’t have any complaints, and I can definitely see it working as a TV series someday.

The delinquent librarian’s verdict:

Easy reading for a lazy summer’s day.

Thank you to Electric Monkey for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Other books you might enjoy:

from what i remember uk



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