The Island

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Every morning fifteen-year-old Wil Neuton gets up, brushes his teeth, leaves the house, and rows away from shore. He's discovered the island—a place where he can go to be alone and learn to know nature—and himself. On the island he watches the loons and the fish in the lake, and writes and paints. It feels good to get away from the tension rising between his parents, tension brought on by yet another move to a new town.

But Wil can't stay away from the outside world forever. He ...

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The Island

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Overview

Every morning fifteen-year-old Wil Neuton gets up, brushes his teeth, leaves the house, and rows away from shore. He's discovered the island—a place where he can go to be alone and learn to know nature—and himself. On the island he watches the loons and the fish in the lake, and writes and paints. It feels good to get away from the tension rising between his parents, tension brought on by yet another move to a new town.

But Wil can't stay away from the outside world forever. He must face Ray Bunner, the bully determined to challenge him, and his parents, who worry when Wil decides to stay on the island indefinitely. Can Wil bridge the growing gap between himself and the rest of the world?

Fifteen-year-old Wil discovers himself and the wonders of nature when he leaves home to live on an island in northern Wisconsin.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The island is in the middle of a small lake in northern Wisconsin. It is uninhabited until the summer Wilstet, who is 15, arrives. Wil is at first drawn by the simplicity of the place, but as his concentration sharpens the island unfolds its matrix of life and death, mirroring the unfolding layers of Wil's self-consciousness. He fills notebooks with watercolors and writes essays about what he sees, feels, remembers and observes within. He decides to stay, Thoreau-like, supported by his new friend Susan, even though the worldanxious parents, town bullies, and a curious pressoccasionally intrudes. His serenity finally becomes fascinating. This could have been another back-to-nature story, but Newbery Honor writer Paulsen tells Wil's inner journey with a confident lyricism that duplicates Wil's emotional qualities. The somewhat forced plot elements are secondary to the author's purposehis spareness, repetition and use of rhythm gives his language intensity while holding out to readers the promise of all-too-elusive clarity. Ages 11-14. April
School Library Journal
Gr 9-12 Fifteen-year-old Wil Neuton is forced to leave Madison for the upper reaches of Wisconsin when his ne'er-do-well father takes a position with the state highway department. Wil leaves behind the security of old friends and old crushes. In the course of adjusting to his new environment, he discovers an uninhabited island sitting in the middle of Sucker Lake. It is on this island that Wil chooses to emulate ``The Thinker'' by Rodin and learn more about himself. In this strangely different coming-of-age novel, Paulsen is not clear enough in leading readers down the path of humor. And a joke is not a successful joke if it is on the reader rather than a shared adventure. Therefore, what might have been a funny take-off on adolescent angst does not quite work. There are hints along the wayfor example, the lake's name and Emil Aucht, the tobacco-spitting handy man. But the plausible does not become implausible enough until late in the novel. By then readers have something in common with the name of the lake ``on which the island lay.'' Therese Bigelow, Hampton Public Library, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531057490
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1988
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author


Gary Paulsen has written more than 175 books and some 200 articles and short stories for children and adults. He is considered one of the most important writers for young adults today. Three of his novels — HATCHET, DOGSONG, and THE WINTER ROOM — were Newbery Honor books, and his works frequently appear on the best books lists of the American Library Association.
Mr. Paulsen and his wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, an artist who has illustrated several of his books, divide their time between their home in New Mexico, a boat in the Pacific, and adventures in the wilderness.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    The Island. Gary Paulsen. New York: Scholastic,Inc. 2005. 202 pages.

    'The Island", by Gary Paulsen is a very good book. This book deals with what kids go through when they are growing up. For example, bullies and the way kids lives change when they move and have to make new friends. I would say that Gary intended this book towards teenagers and young adults. My reason for this being that the main character is a teenager struggling through high school. It is very entertaining with the main character, Wil's humor.
    Gary Paulsen was born in 1939 and became hooked on books at a very early age. Running away at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival gave him his taste for adventure. Along with the many other adventurous things he has done. Including the following; a youthful summer of rigorous chores on a farm, jobs as an engineer, construction worker, ranch hand, truck driver, and sailor, and two rounds of the 1,180-mile Alaskan dog sled race. These activities have inspired many of his book plots over the years. He has recently written a new book called "Woods Runner".
    Through out this book the main character, Wil, is forced to move to a small town in Wisconsin. The reason being his father had taken a job there. Not long after settling in he discovers a small lake while riding his bike on the back roads near his house. At this lake he finds an abandoned minnow boat and rows it to an island in the middle of the lake. On the island he notices the wildlife and nature there. He becomes mesmerized by the cranes, frogs, turtles and fish. Because of this he decides to stay on the island until he has learned everything about it. He begins to camp on the island, to spite his parents disapproval. He visited only by a girl named Susan. A girl he had befriended at school. Susan helps him learn about the island and becomes a very close friend to Wil.
    As I said earlier this is a very good book. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a good, coming of age story. However, I feel that it is more directed at teenagers and young adults. The story is very entertaining and written in a way that keeps you interested.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Paulsen encourages young boys to read!

    Paulsen's books are great! My sons are dyslexic, these books have been such motivation encouragement my youngest has gone from the lower 5% to the upper 97% in reading in just 1 semester, Thanks Gary!

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Island Review

    I had to read this book for class. It actually has a few graphics parts. I enjoyed it. It acutualy did have some lessons but theyy were n't as clear. Ii mean not like it is not a good book. Fir people around 1 or 12 it can be hard to understand. For maybe 14 or 15 you would probably understand it. If you love ccracking up it is bot for you. But besid all that it is a wonderful adveenture. Some romance acured during Wil and Susan friendship grows oon throughout the book. To find out for you'll justhave to read the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    Follow a Boy as he Learns on an Island

    All in all, this was a fairly good book. It was alright as a whole but didn¿t keep my interest throughout the whole thing. I will say it straight I have read better books. This is about a young boy of fifteen years of age who basically has his life set. Then, all of the sudden, his father announces that they have to move to help with his job working on the highway. Wil finds himself in the middle of nowhere where the mosquitoes are thick as fog. Later Wil finds and island in the middle of a peaceful lake. After a few visits to the island, he finds himself wanting to learn more and to stay there. He finds himself making a friend and being at peace on the island. Everything is fine until he has an interview with a reporter and finds out that he is famous but what for? What happens when more people show up? Is it goodbye island and no more peace? There were a couple of things I didn¿t like about the book. To start with, it got off to a slow start. It didn¿t give a clear-cut reason why he frequently visited the island. I also wished it would talk a little more at the end of the book of what happened. Along with the bad parts were some good ones as well. I enjoyed it more when Wil¿s dad finally understood why Wil was on the island. Also, before each chapter, it displayed some of the things Wil has thought about. It plays with your mind. This book was written by Gary Paulsen. I thought it was a step down from some of the other books he has written. Other books you would like if you¿re a Gary Paulsen fan you will like is Hatchet and Brian¿s Winter. Hence, It was an alright book with its own misunderstandings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007

    Coming of age

    Every young adult should read this book, it is inspiring. One of the best by Paulsen, and one of the best you can find in the Teen section.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2005

    a new way to look at nature and yourself

    The book, The Island, by Gary Paulson is overall a very good book in my opinion. I loved the way this book made me look at things in a new perspective. This book was hard for me to put down and never bored me. It has short chapters, which I prefer and flows very effortlessly without confusing jumps forward or backward in time or changes in setting. After reading the book I felt like going out and finding my own island to explore nature and find out more about myself. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the outdoors or wants to learn more about themselves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    the island

    this book was good. i think it was the kind of book that needs another book to follow after. i want to know more about Susan and Wil.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    The Best Book I Have Ever Read

    I liked this book because the way they had the setting were this kid named Will had to move to a new town in northern wisconsin. he met a new friend named Susan. She helped him by bringing food for him on the Island.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2003

    The Island

    Author¿s name: Gary Paulsen Title: The Island Genre: young adult fiction A young boy (Wil) lives in a family that moves whenever they can: this happens to be too often for Wil. When Wil and his family move to a small town in the country something is different here for Wil: the Island. This book has massive amounts of detail, which personally can determine its value. I¿m a fan of Gary Paulsen and his writing style, but if you are looking for some exciting adventure story, this is not your book. It¿s more about a young person learning things in which he never even thought of perceiving. Some parts get a little boring, and the plot is so-so, but it¿s kind of amazing when Wil thinks about something he realizes the finest details as though looking at it through a microscope. I could see the heron in the wind that came, the small breeze that moved the reeds slightly, a gentle waving, and did not move the heron; the movement showed more of the heron then the stillness did. I hope you enjoy the book should you decide to read it; I know I did. I made a text to self connection. I own a house up in the Lake George region, actually on the lake. Sometimes I kayak out to Delaware island and admire the mountains and the waves and the under water sealife if I remember to bring my goggles. I think this is very similar to the book, but Wil perhaps thinks deeper into what things really mean when I only admire things and accept what they are. You should read this book slowly and cautiously because the good parts are only a page or two long, and can easily be missed. Some parts get boring, like I said before, but the good parts more than make up for the boring parts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2000

    Emil Aucht- the total idot

    It is a great book. I got it from the library at my school. I'm always looking for books that I think will be good. (I read all of the other good books!)*The Island* is the ultimate book to read! ^__^

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2000

    A Different Perspective

    Everyone has an island of their own. When Wil Stanton finds his own island, he plans to stay there until he finds himself. Becoming one with yourself isn't an easy task, and Wil has to accomplish many things before he is truely one with himself. In a funny story that makes us all look at the world differently, THE ISLAND is a truely compelling story written by an excellent author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2000

    The Island

    I am a 14 year old young male. I did not feel the book was as good as the hatchet, or Brian's Winter. Talking about becoming one with the ants was kind of boring. Gary Paulsen is one of my favorite authors but the book was not very good. If you are looking for something to do then it might be but it is not something I would ask my friends to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2000

    a reviewer

    It was an over all great story but it did leave some spots for improvement but dont all books. There were some parts in the story that were just plain boring but there were also parts wee it was very exsiting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    An inspiring novel

    Gary Paulsens book The Island was one of those books that I devoured. I was up until 11:30 at night on my bathroom floor reading it. I loved it. It inspired me to be better then I was. To see my full potential, and to realize that I could have a life other then my social life. Im doing a book report on it and hope others will read it to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 1999

    The 'Psyco' Island

    Wil Neuton becomes a bit psycotic over a small island where he jsut recently moved. I've read quite a few Gay Paulsen books and this one is my least favorite, so if you are thinking of getting this book check out some others first. The end is very good, but the previous parts weren't so great. Overall it wasn't

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