The Islands at the End of the World

The Islands at the End of the World

4.8 9
by Austin Aslan
     
 

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In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated, and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani’s epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier

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Overview

In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated, and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani’s epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier ways. 
   A powerful story enriched by fascinating elements of Hawaiian ecology, culture, and warfare, this captivating and dramatic debut from Austin Aslan is the first of two novels. The author has a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Praise for Islands at the End of the World:

“A riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home.”—School Library Journal, Starred

"Aslan’s debut honors Hawaii’s unique cultural strengths—family ties and love of home, amplified by geography and history—while remaining true to a genre that affirms the mysterious grandeur of the universe waiting to be discovered."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Aslan’s debut is a riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home."—School Library Journal, Starred

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/18/2014
After 16-year-old, half-Hawaiian Leilani and her father travel from the Big Island to Oahu so she can take part in a trial for a new epilepsy drug, tsunamis sweep across the eastern shores of the Hawaiian islands; additional chaos descends as people realize that other disasters have struck all across the world. Technology fails, the military tries to gain control, food and resources dwindle, and ethnic factions take up arms to wrest Oahu from the tourists. Lei and her father only want to get home to the Big Island, and thus begins their dangerous journey across jungle, sea, and the islands, even as a strange cloud appears in the heavens that people start calling the Emerald Orchid. Debut author Aslan shows off his promise as a writer, delivering a fresh, of-the-moment take on apocalyptic fiction. The ecology of Hawaii and its mythology glow vividly as Lei awakens to her special connection to the Emerald Orchid and its purpose. First in a planned two-book series, it's an exceptional adventure and survival story that's intimately tied to its setting. Ages 12–up. Agency: Pippin Properties. (Aug.)
VOYA, August 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 3) - Meghann Meeusen
Having grown up on the mainland, Leilani is faced with the challenges of being a half-Hawaiian “newcomer” to Hilo (on the Big Island of Hawai’i) when she travels with her father to O’ahu to investigate new treatment for her epilepsy. But the trip suddenly turns into a nightmare when a global apocalyptic disaster strands her and her father hundreds of miles and islands away from their family. Desperate to get home, Lei and her father cling to each other to survive as the world turns violent and dangerous, and Lei soon learns that her epilepsy and love of Hawaiian mythology might do more than lead them home—they might save the entire planet from an even more terrifying future. Rich with references to Hawaiian culture, The Islands At The End Of The World combines sometimes disturbing apocalyptic action with a heartfelt tale of family and survival. At times frighteningly realistic, the story portrays what humanity is capable of when stripped of its access to electricity and communication, but it also includes remarkable fantasy as readers discover the source of the disaster and Lei’s remarkable ability as an epileptic to prevent further imminent nuclear threats. Most unique and riveting of all is Lei’s relationship with her father, which, in addition to the Hawaiian setting, adds a distinctive element to the novel’s engagement with recent dystopian trends. The book is sure to grip teens with both an intriguing plot and thoughtful prose, and readers will eagerly anticipate the series’ second installment. Reviewer: Meghann Meeusen; Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-06-01
Hope for a promising epilepsy treatment brought Leilani, 16, and Mike, her ecologist father, to Honolulu; when a global catastrophe plunges the world’s most isolated metropolitan area into chaos, they’re desperate to return to family on the Big Island of Hawaii—it won’t be easy.Lei—half-Hawaiian, half-white—still feels like an outsider three years after moving from California to Hilo. Nevertheless, her island heritage speaks to her and could be the key to understanding the cataclysmic technological disruptions changing the world. Satellite-based GPS and other electronic communications systems fail, and only well-heeled tourists can buy their ways home. To combat mounting chaos, the military herds those at large, including Leilani and Mike, into internment camps. Leilani’s seizures carry voices to her, while an alarming discovery makes her quest to unravel their message and escape from the camp increasingly urgent. Seeking home drains their dwindling resources but strengthens their trust in each other. Flashes of kindness and empathy provide respite from the chaos and cruelty. Anchoring the story, the powerful bond between father and daughter reminds readers that love is as potent as fear and greed. Aslan’s debut honors Hawaii’s unique cultural strengths—family ties and love of home, amplified by geography and history—while remaining true to a genre that affirms the mysterious grandeur of the universe waiting to be discovered.A suspenseful and engaging series opener made all the more distinctive through its careful realization of setting. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
Kirkus starred review, May 15, 2014:
“A suspenseful and engaging series opener made all the more distinctive through its careful realization of setting.”

School Library Journal starred review, June 2014:
“Aslan’s debut is a riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home."

Publishers Weekly starred review, August 15, 2014:
“Debut author Aslan shows off his promise as a writer, delivering a fresh, of-the-moment take on apocalyptic fiction […] it's an exceptional adventure and survival story that's intimately tied to its setting.”

School Library Journal
★ 06/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—Destruction descends upon Hawai'i. Not from the volcano-goddess Pele, but from a mysterious force that cripples one of the world's pillars, technology. This occurs while Leilani, who suffers from epilepsy, is on O'ahu. Along with her father, they journey across the islands searching for home, supporting each other through every difficult step. Tension builds at a steady pace as the magnitude of the situation reveals itself. The former paradise faces depleting resources, looting, martial law, and chaos. With the world stripped of its electronic casing, the old world blooms. Hawaiian mythology is explored through numerous stories and elements of their journey. Hawai'i is a vibrant, personified setting that is well crafted. The author includes numerous references to the language, ecosystem, and culture. Despite her love for her home, Lei feels like she does not belong, partly because she is half Hawaiian, but mostly because of the disease that prevents her from having a "normal" life. Nevertheless, she feels a connection to her ancestry and the old gods. Slowly, the protagonist comes to a revelation that allows her to accept her blossoming self. Aslan's debut is a riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home.—Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ontario, Canada

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385744027
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
08/05/2014
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
598,540
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.60(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Austin Aslan was inspired to write his debut novel, The Islands at the End of the World, while living on the Big Island of Hawaii. He earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. His research on rare Hawaiian plants located on the high slopes of Mauna Loa won him a pair of destroyed hiking boots, a tattered rain jacket, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He lives outside Tucson, Arizona, deep in the Sonoran Desert, where he pets scorpions and hugs saguaro cacti with his high-school-sweetheart wife and their two young children. Austin is pursuing a PhD in geography at the University of Arizona and thinking up new stories while conducting ecosystem resilience research atop the Peruvian Andes. He continues to write fiction and looks forward to the publication of this novel’s sequel, The Girl at the Center of the World.

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