The Other Side of the Island

The Other Side of the Island

4.3 60
by Allegra Goodman

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Earth Mother is always watching... And one brave girl is about to find out why.


Earth Mother is always watching... And one brave girl is about to find out why.

Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Hand
Goodman, the author of several acclaimed adult novels and a National Book Award finalist, does a stellar job with this, her first book for young readers. The story's dystopia is at once original and frighteningly familiar to anyone conversant in Orwellian doublespeak. And Honor is an appealingly conflicted heroine, torn between her need for acceptance and a growing realization that the price for conformity is not just her own memories, but the lives of those she loves most. The Other Side of the Island is dark but shot with sly humor, and the narrative grows increasingly satisfying as Earth Mother's web of conspiracies and denial unravels. Goodman has written a bracing, exhilarating novel that manages to be both subversive and optimistic.
—The Washington Post
M. John Harrison
Allegra Goodman develops her world with deft strokes, bringing together the linguistic traditions of the dystopian novel with those of classic post-disaster stories like Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker or Walter M. Miller Jr.'s Canticle for Leibowitz, in which language is used to demonstrate catastrophic change.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

From Kaaterskill Falls to Intuition, Goodman's fiction proves that she can tackle big subjects with unobtrusively graceful and perceptive prose. Her first YA offering, a dystopian eco-fantasy in which a malevolent Corporation lulls North America's few remaining inhabitants into complacency with memory-altering substances, misinformation, fake skies and a leader named Earth Mother, is a top-notch genre piece-but not her most robust storytelling. Honor is 10 when she and her parents are forcibly brought back from the supposedly uninhabitable North to Island 365; in one of the few but clever twists on convention, it is Honor's parents who actively rebel, and Honor who embraces Earth Mother's laws, at least at first. When her parents are inevitably caught, it falls (predictably) to Honor and another child to rescue them; this plot line depends on coincidence and inconsistencies, but dramatic pacing and otherwise shrewd psychological insight help camouflage these flaws. A subtle frame places an omniscient narrator in an even more distant future; in slyly casting a retrospective eye on her story, the author opens the apparent outcome to the reader's questioning, and this may be the most innovative aspect of her novel. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

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. . . the book is at its best when it's inside Honor's head, as she struggles to balance her parents' unorthodoxy with her craving to belong . . . will keep readers engaged.
Washington Post
Gripping, beautifully written . . . evokes Lois Lowry's The Giver. Goodman does a stellar job. A bracing, exhilarating novel . . . Big Brother better watch out.
Horn Book Review
Fans of dystopic and speculative fiction will want to check this out-there's certainly much material for discussion and debate.
VOYA - Snow Wildsmith
Honor's family has come to the Island during the time of the Enclosure, when the Earth Mother and her Corporation have finally begun the glorious work of mastering the weather. But Honor's family does not always act the way everyone else does, which can be dangerous in a world where the Acceptable live safe lives and the Unacceptable disappear. Goodman, a National Book Award Finalist, pens a dystopian tale for her first young adult novel, and although she does not break a lot of new ground, she succeeds in crafting a fast-paced and exciting read. The unique element is that she chooses rabid environmentalism for her society's cause, showing the most drastic reaction to the melting of the polar ice caps. Smoothly incorporating details of today's society, and resisting the urge to set her story too far in the future ensures that her story will be believable. Unfortunately this work suffers from being slightly too similar to books such as Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993/VOYA August 1993), a common problem with dystopian fiction, but fans of that story and of Margaret Petersen Haddix's Among the Hidden (Simon & Schuster, 1998/VOYA October 1998) will be thrilled to find another exciting read featuring a daring young person determined to fight for her right to live free. Reviewer: Snow Wildsmith
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
Goodman turns to a future world setting to tell what might happen if the world as we know it is destroyed by environmental changes and a benevolent (or maybe not so benevolent) dictator seeks to keep people safe. It's not hard to see some parallels in the modern world, as citizens seem willing to give up hard-fought-for liberties in exchange for feeling safer. Her main character is Honor, born in the year of the Hs—all children her age have names that begin with H. She has spent most of her childhood in relative freedom with her parents away from The Enclosure. Now, they are living within the "protection" of The Enclosure, and Honor is seeing firsthand what school is like there—what "right" answers are. Her parents find other dissidents, Honor's little brother is born, and escape is attempted—with much action and many interesting details. There are parallel themes to The Giver, though this book's plot is more complex. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Honor and her parents have been forcibly relocated to a seaside shack, the most dangerous living facility in this carefully constructed dystopia. In this future world, reminiscent of that in Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993), the Corporation, headed by the mysterious Earth Mother, has created a totally controlled society. Lands are being enclosed to protect the inhabitants from freak natural weather, and "safe" weather is created with overlays-fake sunrises and sunsets projected daily on the sky. Honor's parents refuse to conform. Honor suffers from being different, but when she meets Helix, a boy whose parents are also intent on rebelling against the Corporation, the two children must discover a way to rescue Helix's parents and Honor's mother, who have been "taken" and turned into the zombielike orderlies who mindlessly serve the government. Honor's evolution from someone willing to conform to make life easier and safer to one committed to fight for her individuality is believable. The increasingly sinister atmosphere, echoing elements of National Socialism and China's Cultural Revolution, is well done. Parodies of self-help books for children ("What It Feels Like When Parents Disappear") add grim humor. Miss Blessing, one of the Corporation toadies, with her perfectly buttoned cardigan and high sweet voice, is a particularly chilling character. A compelling science-fiction novel.-Quinby Frank, Green Acres School, Rockville, MD

Kirkus Reviews
A popular adult author tries her hand at a dystopian children's novel, with mixed results. In a future where only a few habitable islands remain on waterlogged Earth, ten-year-old Honor lives on Island 365 with her unconventional scientist parents. Though Honor attends a government school that espouses the propaganda of Earth Mother (the environmental version of an Orwellian Big Brother), her parents are part of a whisper campaign against the push to "Enclose" all remaining land to protect it from the wild weather patterns. They also take issue with the ban on any books, music or art that doesn't come from "The Corporation." Eventually Honor's parents are arrested for their radical views and Honor is forced on a quest to the unregulated "other side of the island" to find them. Though Goodman's straightforward and sometimes emotionally distant environmental fable suffers in comparison to similarly themed titles, such as Lowry's subtle Giver (1993) and Westerfeld's exciting Uglies (2007), the simple prose, clear message and timely topic still make this a solid introduction to the genre for middle-grade readers. (Science fiction. 11-14)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 5.78(h) x 0.94(d)
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Allegra Goodman is a National Book Award Finalist and the author of Intuition, a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book of 2006. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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The Other Side of the Island 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
xXalyssaXx More than 1 year ago
The Other Side of the Island is definitely an exciting read; the author takes you on a journey into the future after a world-wide disaster. The people in the story no longer feel safe, as they had just recently had their life ripped away by the forces of nature. They don¿t know what to do- until Earth Mother steps into the picture. Earth Mother is a dictator, who took over what was left of the world, before anyone realized what she was doing. Memories were erased, disagreeing people disappeared, and suddenly the world was incased in a giant bubble.
No, I am not kidding. Earth Mother feels that the only way to keep humans safe is to ¿reduce, recycle, and reuse¿. Most would compare that to trash, reduce it, recycle it, and reuse it, but Earth Mother means everything. She will reduce the amount of land humans can live on, recycle virtually everything and create her Utopia so earth-friendly that human life becomes harder, and harder. She will also ¿reuse¿ people. If a citizen does not comply to the cities laws, and does not react to ¿persuasive reasoning and positive reinforcement¿, they disappear only to be reused as a human version of a robot.
No one questions Earth Mother, simply because they can¿t remember their old lives. Chemicals are forced into them, hidden on every piece of food, and in every drink. ¿Planet Safe¿ makes it so the people lose their long-term memory, erasing every memory from before ¿Enclosure¿, when Earth Mother took her throne. She re wrote history, re wrote all the songs, and re-wrote any negative aspect of life she found, and made them all positive.
Allegra Goodmann has made this story so interesting that I simply could not put the book down until I had read from cover to cover. She uses vivid imagery to make you feel as if you are Honor, the main character, experiencing the new world as it is now, while living with rebellious parents. She is an amazing writer and The Other Side of the Island just helps to prove it. I loved this book, and I¿m sure any other person would too.
Robert Burke More than 1 year ago
I recently started this book and just now finished it, definetely pulls you in, recomended for Hunger Games lovers, similar post-apocalyptic setting. Especially fun for me, since my name is Honor, though offensive at times. Great read. Gives you that sudden urge to jump into the story and start whacking the character upside the head for being so stupid, but as great readers know, wisdom ruins the plot. Buy it!!!!!!
booksponge More than 1 year ago
I read about this book in a magazine, and it really interrested me. A few months later I finally decided to puchase it to get a break from the much longer book I knew would take all summer. Another factor that went into my decision was that I had just finished reading a book in creative writing camp, and I enjoyed it. (The book is listed in my recomendations) The book took me two days to read, but I enjoyed reading it very much. The book was incredible in the beggining, but towards the middle it was a little dull. The ending however was very open ended for anything could have happened. At first this disapointed me, but when I read the author's note, it was easier to understand why the ending was that open ended. All in all the book was great. I would recomend this book for anyone who enjoys reading similar science fiction.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
It's the eighteenth year of Enclosure and everything on the islands in the Tranquil Sea have become regulated. Earth Mother and her Corporation, who have a vision for a world with only happiness, control everything from jobs to the weather to children's names - and expect everyone to conform to this view of normality, no matter what the consequence. On Island 365 lives a girl named Honor and her family, who don't really fit into this society.

While Honor desperately tries to fit in, her parents try even harder to not fit in. They break curfew, don't pray to Mother Earth, and biggest of all have a second child. When Honor meets Helix she soon finds out some dark secrets; those that don't conform soon disappear...forever.

Filled with fear that her parents might be taken, Honor tries to change even more, thinking that if she fits in, no attention will be brought to her parents. Will all her efforts be in vain? Will she and Helix uncover more secrets about the island?

From the very first paragraph I was drawn into the story and knew that it would be great. As it progressed, I was certainly not disappointed. Having only read a few post-apocalyptic or dystopian society books, I was a little unsure as to what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised with the ability of the book to hold my attention. I felt like most of the characters, especially Honor, were well-developed and real. Something that really stood out to me was Honor's ability to stay real, and very human-like, in a setting composed of conforming events and questions.

In this case it was easy to connect with Honor, because the author made the reader have some of the same questions as she did. Ms. Goodman also did a great job of creating suspense within the novel. There were many times where I was not able to pull myself away from the book at all. The questions that the book brings up keep you enthralled and wanting more. Overall, I was very much impressed with THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND, and am very much hoping that there will be a sequel.

Fans of THE CITY OF EMBER, THE UGLIES, and THE GIVER will really enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently started reading this book and I already finished it. It is about a brave girl named Honor who finds out what Earth Mother is actually doing.The adventure starts when Honors parents,Will and Pamela, arent following Earth Mothers rules and are Unpredictable. They are then taken by the corperation and Honor or now Heloise goes to get them back. This is a great book and I think you should buy it. The only thing I want to know about is how their lives and Earth Mother concludes. But overall one of the best books ive read!!
Tierlittle123 More than 1 year ago
The other side of the island is the best book I've ever read so far. It is about a brave girl named Honor that doesn't fit in... A lot of things are Not Allowed... I think it is Allegra Goodman's best book so far. I can't wait to read another book by her!I highly recommend that you read this book!
Reader734 More than 1 year ago
My librarian recomended it to me and i absolutly loved it. It made me wonder what would happen if all of a sudden the world almost died but someone saved us. How would we live and who would be in charge. An over-all Good book and i recomend it to anyone who likes to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it is a really good book i can't wait for the second one to come out. i am a major bookworm and this makes my list for my favorite books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutly Amazing!!! If you like books that have strange turn arounds, thn I have a good feeling you will enjoy this book alot!! I recomend this book to teenagers and young adults!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book has a very smoothe beggining which was not hard to understand. This was very good since the book has some very weird elements. The plot had good meaning and the book was written very confidently. I would not reccommed the book to anybody without a strong imagination because the book can get very made-up and mythical with no real-world connection. It had an overall good plot with great elements.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much that I have read it three times. Honor tries to fit in by following Earth Mother's rules, although her parents do not. Amazing book and great plot. If you liked The Hunger Games trilogy and The City of Ember series you will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg this book keeps you locked forever!!!!!! I love the adventure excitment and thirst dor revolt in this book. Definetly one of my favorites
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of mystery and adventure
christal fisher More than 1 year ago
this book is great i read it last summer i read it in 3 hours
Imma_be_reading_ALOT More than 1 year ago
Honor knows a few things for certain: Being Inaccurate is Not Allowed Those who don't fit in disappear Enclosure is SAFE or is it Different is dangerous Earth Mother is always watching and she doesn't fit in!! Will Honor try to fit in? Will she discover the secrets of the other side of the island, or will ALL be lost? This is a totally awesome book for teenagers and young adults. It is fiction and it is set in a futuristic society. Human Robots and a creepy plot. Allegra Goodman is an amazing author that is very descriptive in her writing and it is almost like watching a movie! Perfet awesome amazing book!!! I can't wait to read more of her books!
Facepalm More than 1 year ago
When I started this book, I was really expecting something awesome from it. The basic concept of the plot is very good : A futuristic world where everyone has to follow the rules and individuality is being drained from society. The first half was okay- not amazing, but not horrible. About 3/4 of the way through though, it sort of fell flat. It was at a point where everything should be speeding up, bringing you to the climax, getting you excited- but really it just made me bored. The ending left something to be desired. Overall- not as good as I would've hoped.
Anonymous 18 days ago
I squeeze my fist harder as i step closer to my target and then... i suddenly hear my friend call my name. I look down at the rock clenched in my fist as a wave of realization of what i was about to hits me. Would i really hae hurt him? I dont have time to ponder over my actions as my friend reaches me looking panuck stricken. I kniw something is wrong and i have to be here for her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually got this book at a book fair for only 4 or 5 dollars and it was better than i thought! It made me want to keep reading yet it was a bit short and also allegra needs to write a second book this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was really good, it was getting dry near the end. I really wish it would tell you the ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book but it cant just end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exceptionally well written book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was well thought out and executed beautifully. A classic Dystopian book. I recommend this to anyone who likes a mystery dipped in sci-fi and coated in a Dystopian setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago