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Dr. Franklin's Island

Dr. Franklin's Island

4.4 69
by Ann Halam

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Semi, Miranda, and Arnie are part of a group of 50 British Young Conservationists on their way to a wildlife conservation station deep in the rain forests of Ecuador. After a terrifying mid-air disaster and subsequent crash, these three are the sole survivors, stranded together on a deserted tropical island. Or so they think. Semi, Miranda, and Arnie stumble into the


Semi, Miranda, and Arnie are part of a group of 50 British Young Conservationists on their way to a wildlife conservation station deep in the rain forests of Ecuador. After a terrifying mid-air disaster and subsequent crash, these three are the sole survivors, stranded together on a deserted tropical island. Or so they think. Semi, Miranda, and Arnie stumble into the hands of Dr. Franklin, a mad scientist who’s been waiting for them, eager to use them as specimens for his experiments in genetic engineering.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A plane crash strands three survivors on a remote island where a mad scientist and his terrified employees plan to start performing trans-species genetic-engineering experiments on the trio. PW wrote in a starred review, "A nightmarish thriller of white-knuckle intensity." Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
To quote the hardcover review in KLIATT, July 2002: When their plane crashes somewhere off the coast of South America, three teenage science students on the way to a wildlife conservation station are stranded on a tropical island. Semi, a shy and frightened girl, tells of their struggle to survive as resourceful, upbeat Miranda takes the lead and obnoxious Arnie teases both of them. They believe the atoll to be deserted, but then Arnie disappears-and in searching for him, they stumble across the other inhabitants of the island, and their ordeal turns into a nightmare. They are all captured by a mad scientist named Dr. Franklin, who plans to create a new race of creatures with both human and animal traits-and intends that the teenagers become his first trial subjects. Under his transgenic treatment, Semi is transformed into a manta ray and Miranda into a bird, while Arnie, appropriately, is a snake. The three teenagers can communicate telepathically, but are they starting to lose their humanity? And will they ever be able to escape and regain their human forms? This thrilling horror story "was inspired partly by H.G. Wells's story The Island of Dr. Moreau," according to the author, who writes adult SF and fantasy (under the name Gwyneth Jones) as well as books for children. It's an imaginative and absorbing tale that fans of fantasy and horror tales will greatly enjoy. The many sensory details, like Halam's evocations of the joys of being a fish, help make this riveting and memorable, and the close friendship of Semi and Miranda gives the story some emotional depth, too. The spooky cover will help attract an audience. (Note: See also the audiobook version reviewed in this issue.)KLIATT Codes: JS-Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Random House, Dell, Laurel-Leaf, 245p., Ages 12 to 18.
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Taking off from H.G. Wells's classic story, The Island of Dr. Moreau, British author Ann Halam adds genetic engineering, environmental activism, and an air of disaster to this terrifying science fiction adventure involving three teens. Narrator Emilia Fox's rather delicate but edgy British-accented voice captures the personalities of the three English characters as she lends a flat, American cadence to the voice of Dr. Franklin. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Halam delivers a nightmarish thriller of white-knuckle intensity.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

“Halam creates a gripping, exciting, surprising, and disturbing novel.”—VOYA, Starred

“This exciting and well-developed book will appeal to fans of horror and adventure.”—School Library Journal

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
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File size:
551 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

chapter one

We formed a small crowd in the big confused mass of travelers in the Miami airport departure lounge . . . most of us identified by Planet Savers T-shirts, Planet Savers baseball caps, Planet Savers jackets, or at least Planet Savers lapel buttons. We were going to spend the next three weeks together, fifty British Young Conservationists. We were prizewinners in a competition run by the Planet Savers TV program. Part of the time we'd be staying on a wildlife conservation station deep in the Ecuador rain forest; part of the time we'd be visiting the Galapagos Islands.

I'd enjoyed flying from Gatwick as an unaccompanied minor. It was the first time I'd been alone on a plane, but that hadn't frightened me at all. Now I was beginning to feel scared. I'd won a place on this trip by thinking up a biodiversity experiment about beetles. But I suppose I'm a typical nerd, good at the details, not very smart at seeing the larger picture. I'd gone in for the competition because I liked my science teacher, and it had been like doing any interesting piece of homework. I had not thought it through. I had never sat myself down and said to myself, "Hold on, Semirah, what if you win? You are shy. How are you going to survive for three weeks surrounded by total strangers?"

Two presenters from the Planet Savers TV program were coming with us--Neil Cannon and Georgie McCarthy. They were at the center of a chattering group, tall, thin Neil with his spiky ginger hair and freckly tan, Georgie with her glowing dark skin and her cheeky smile. Both of them looked very friendly and cheerful and genuine, the way they did on television. They were the only people I wanted to go up and talk to. They seemed like friends, because I'd seen them so often on TV. But I knew that was an illusion. Real life is different. So I walked about instead, counting my fellow prizewinners.

There were thirty-seven teenagers and ten adult organizers, including Neil and Georgie. There were actually fifty prizewinners, but the other thirteen were traveling on another flight. I decided I was in the rain forest already, or else in a zoo. Maybe I was a new young animal, freshly arrived, and I had to find the enclosure where I belonged. I spotted a baby giraffe; a wolf cub; a slinky green-eyed lizard; a couple of pointy-nosed, mischievous young lemurs; a pouchy-faced boy with tufty auburn hair who looked amazingly like a guinea pig, the kind with the fur sticking up in rosettes. There was one sad girl with big eyes and smooth fair hair sitting by a set of beige pigskin suitcases (while the rest of us had backpacks and nylon stuff-bags), who was like a baby seal--beautifully dressed and totally helpless. There was an awkward, gangly boy with a huge nose, carrying a fluorescent orange puffa jacket, who looked like a newborn wildebeest, stumbling over his own legs. There was a Very Cool Girl, with long black hair, long brown legs, black T-shirt, gray cutoff combats, and a battered rucksack that looked as if she'd borrowed it from Indiana Jones. . . . I couldn't think of an animal comparison for her. She didn't look lost or anxious at all. She must be one of the keepers.

But what kind of animal was I? I didn't know.

I walked all the way around the zoo, and then came back to a girl with a round face and fluffy hair, who looked like a baby owl. I like owls. I was about to say hello when along came Very Cool Girl, with her beautiful hair swinging. She smiled at me, and so did the baby owl. But oh no . . . My throat closed up. I simply could not speak. I can't talk to strangers! I swerved off, and pretended I'd been heading for a nearby drinks machine.

On the row of seats by the machine there was a big chunky pale boy with bristle-short dark hair, sitting by himself. You wouldn't have known he was one of us, except that he had a Planet Savers information pack lying facedown on top of his rucksack. I'd given up on the animal identities, so I didn't try to think of one; but I decided I'd sit down, not next to him but a couple of seats away, to drink my can of Coke. I would try to look casually inviting, and maybe we could strike up a conversation. I sat down, giving a sigh that might have been a sort of noncommittal half-hello. He looked up from the game he was playing on his GameBoy and stared at me, narrow-eyed. His expression said very clearly, I've got your number, Unpopular Girl. Stay away from me.

I am not unpopular. People like me when they get to know me. It's just that I'm chubby and shy, and maybe I work too hard, so I'm not very sociable. . . . I shrugged and walked away, trying not to feel insulted. But being glared at like that naturally didn't make me feel any better. I decided he was an animal after all; a bad-tempered, solitary kind of animal, liable to lash out and best not approached.

Our flight was delayed. I still hadn't managed to talk to a single person when we got on the little bus and were driven out onto the tarmac to board our charter plane. I'd spent most of my time reading a book (well away from the nasty boy). It was hot outside, even though it was evening by then. I remember looking around at all the gray tarmac and the planes, and the smoggy sky, and being glad I was going somewhere green and wild.

There was some swapping of seat allocations, as the lucky people who'd made friends arranged to get next to each other. I had no part of that. I was extremely surprised when I found I was going to be sitting with Very Cool Girl.

"Do you want the window?" she said. "I've got it, but I'd rather have the aisle."

I said yes, I would like the window; and we sat down, me thinking how sophisticated not to want to sit next to the window.

"My name's Miranda Fallow," she said, holding out her hand. I wasn't used to people shaking hands with me, but from Very Cool Girl it seemed adult and right.

"Howdeedoodah," I said, "I'm Semirah Garson, people call me Semi--"

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

In addition to writing children’s books, Ann Halam writes adult science fiction and fantasy books under the name
Gwyneth Jones.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Dr. Franklin's Island 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We had to read this book for our reading class and at first i was like 'ugggh! Sci fi!'. But i knew i HAD to read it because all the projects that we had to do throughout the unit was 70% of our semester grade. I read it and i loved it even when i was only on Chapter 3. I definetley recommend this book. Trust me its worth every penny.
Elly120 More than 1 year ago
Dr. Franklin's Island is an amazing science fiction novel. It is about a plane full of British teenagers who are on their way to a conservation station in Ecuador, when the plane crashes. It lands on an island in the middle of nowhere. The three sole survivors, Semi, Meranda and Arnie are left on this strange island to fend for themselves. They thought they were alone, but there was actually a whole civilization on the other side of the island, led by Dr. Franklin, a mad scientist. Dr. Franklin had been waiting for them, so he could use the teenagers as specimens for his experiments in genetic engineering. This book was very descriptive and detailed. It was also very thrilling, and after every chapter, I wanted to read more. It kept me interested, too, and I never got bored of it. I love how the author, Ann Halam, had you connect with some of the characters. But I wished she developed the character Arnie into a more likeable character. Some of her long, formal words were a little hard to understand, so some language wasn't very realistic. The writing style of the author is very descriptive, and she uses a lot of short sentences. Even though her writing has many formal words, it is very casual. Halam's characters speak in slang in this book because most of them are modern teenagers. The language they use isn't very realistic and believable, but the author's writing is very clear, and the point of the book is easily understood. This book is told in first person, which is what I really liked. I reccommend this book because it is funny, and a great book for science fiction lovers. It also hooks you in so you'll want to read more. Other books by Ann Halam are "Snakehead", "Taylor Five", "Siberia" and "Daymaker". As you can see, I enjoyed "Dr. Franklin's Island" very much and I highly reccommend it.
2012rocks More than 1 year ago
Well this book is scary. If you like scary stuff I recommend you reading it. If you don't you shouldn't read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitly recommend this book to everyone!!! Im read it three times and its still awesome!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was amazing. This is the second time reading it (first time being in fourth grade) yet its still amazing. Definetly worth the money
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book paperback and i found it really weird. It was well written but the story plot was just plain weird
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book. I decided to read it because I love reading animal books, and this definately feeds into your imagination. Highly recommend this book for a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a book that was very well thought out, i couldnt put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing and intriguing book!!! I couldnt put it down and read it twice!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is intense and extremely sci-fi. It could be considered a tad bit scary at some points but I would recommend this to anyone who loves sci-fi, especially in the subject of genetic engineering.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title tells all. In my class we have to read 45 minutes each night so i found this book thinking it was not going to be good. As i read on it got better and better i just couldnt put it down...... i finished it in 3 days. I seriously recommend this book, it is my favorite of all time!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. If you like sci-fi books, you will love this book! I've read it 3 times. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great action and very descriptive. A little gross at some parts but defently worth your time.
Tom Scherlis More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! Ful of great sci-fi wlements and a cliffhanger at eveey scene. Could not pur it sown. Action packed, just great. I really hope there is a seqqual soon. BUY IT!!!!!!!
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Genni More than 1 year ago
Just like others, this book kept me wondering what is going to happen next in the book. The twist of animal transitioning from animal and human enhanced my entertainment if this book. I akso liked how this book was not predictable and how Miranda and Semi disvovered more and more things about Dr.Franklin's Island. The plot was amazing and this book was well-written. You will miss on a hreat oppurtunity if you don't read this book!
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Halie Schwingel More than 1 year ago
This book just kept me on edge and made me think about everyones future...what if people actually start to do that??? Gobble gobble
Anonymous More than 1 year ago