The Islands at the End of the World

( 8 )

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, ...
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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

From the Hardcover edition.

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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.”

From the Hardcover edition.

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: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 104,395
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL590L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2014

    I had the privilege of listening to Austin Aslan read an excerpt

    I had the privilege of listening to Austin Aslan read an excerpt from The Islands at the End of the World during a young adult author round up. At the time he mentioned a twist in the story that he was happy made it through to publishing. As I read the story, I found myself excited when I reached the point in the story that was obviously the twist he mentioned. It was nothing like I expected. The entire story was captivating and I found myself stealing every moment in the day that I could to sneak in a few more pages. I couldn’t wait to see how the story ended even though I did not want it to end. Leilani and her father showed the power of home and family throughout their adventures. The action drew you in and made you feel as though you were on this journey with them. After thoroughly enjoying the story, I read the sneak peek for the sequel and cannot wait for more! I am looking forward to sharing this story with my own son. While it is in the YA genre, it is a great read for young adults as well as adults.

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  • Posted August 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 stars Sixteen-year-old Lei and her father Mike travel to Oa

    4.5 stars

    Sixteen-year-old Lei and her father Mike travel to Oahu to search the medical cure for her epilepsy. When a mysterious force cripples the world's technology and plunges the isolated metropolitan area into chaos, they’re desperate to return to family on the Big Island of Hawaii.




    Lei is half-Hawaiian and half-white. She still feels like an outsider even three years after moving from California to Hilo, partly because she is only 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 and hears echoes of the mythological past whenever she slips into a seizure. I love how Lei grows throughout the book. Not only does she learn how far her father is willing to go to keep the family together, she also comes to accept herself. Lei is an inspiration for young girls to act courageously in the face of challenges and to observe and understand the environment around them.




    The storyline is filled with the fiery legends and wonder of Hawaii. It primarily focuses on the love that Lei and her father feel for their other members of the family,and how desperate they are to get back to them. Leilani and her father fight their way through depleting resources, looting, martial law, and chaos. Their voyage is filled with challenging and life threatening obstacles, but rather than weakening their bond, it strengthens their trust in each other.




    The Islands at the End of the World is a thrilling and heartbreaking story of survival tale of father and daughter bonding against impossible odds, as well as a journey into the history and mythology of Hawaii. The author does an excellent job of capturing the voice of a teenage girl hungry to belong and who discovers the strength to fight for herself, her family, and her home. I highly recommend this book for YA fans of all ages.

    Review by Alice

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  • Posted August 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    'The Islands at the End of the World' is a dynamic young adult d

    'The Islands at the End of the World' is a dynamic young adult dystopian novel about what would happen to people living on an island or islands - like Hawaii - if a global disaster struck. This is precisely what happens in the novel, and our main character Leilani and her father must revert to survival skills in order to return home to their family. It's a fascinating take on the apocalyptic/dystopian genre that makes you think about things in the world differently.

    I have to start by saying that this book was fantastic and a complete breath of fresh air into the dystopian genre. Most novels that deal with the end of the world or a dystopia are centered somewhere inland; whereas this book is set on the islands of Hawaii. Before reading this story, I hadn't really thought about what would happen to people living on an island if a global disaster should occur. It would be completely nightmarish - being alone and disconnected from the rest of the entire world. Shedding light on this possibility was obviously part of the author's point - and it was an intriguing one that made me really sit back and think about it.

    Our heroine, Leilani, feels like an outsider in her own world. She's half-Hawaiian and half-white with epilepsy on top of that. It was easy to identify with Lei right from the beginning of the book. Who hasn't felt different or left out at least once in their lives? She's a fantastic heroine for the book - smart, strong, determined, and a fighter. It turns out that what made her an outsider might just be what saves them all. I loved watching Lei's character grow and mature throughout the book as she grows into her self and assumes responsibilities and trials that she never imagined. The plot was sensational - as I said before. It really hits on ideas and possibilities that never occurred to me and it is completely unique in the dystopia genre. The writing is magnificent with a fast pace that had me reading as quickly as I could to see what was going to happen next. The descriptions and imagery throughout the novel were incredibly vivid. I felt like I was right beside Lei the entire time, experiencing each situation - good and bad - with her. I loved how the author put in facts about Hawaii - it's culture, economy, and setting. I loved learning everything that I could about the islands and I think that adding in those elements really gave the book a depth that it wouldn't have had otherwise. I'm hoping that these interesting tidbits about Hawaii and other things are expanded on in the sequel. Overall, this was a really thought provoking novel that also combines several genres - such as action, science fiction, dystopia, and adventure - to create a wholly original and unique story that has something for everyone. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy the dystopian genre as well as those wishing to read something new and exciting. I'll definitely be reading the sequel as soon as it's released!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted August 7, 2014

    The plot of this amazing book is deceptively simple: Austin Asla

    The plot of this amazing book is deceptively simple: Austin Aslan knocks out the global power grid and takes us on a wild ride through the Hawaiian Islands as society devolves into a state of anarchy. But as they say, things soon get complicated. I was kept guessing until the very end, and I'm usually good at seeing plot twists coming a mile away. This story is fresh and original, scary and touching and funny; but it's the finely drawn characters and the author's deep respect for Hawaiian culture that make it a must-read. Plus I hear there's a sequel coming, woot!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    A heart-thumping, can't-put-it-down, haunting, postapocalyptic t

    A heart-thumping, can't-put-it-down, haunting, postapocalyptic tale of the love in one family and a desperate journey home. I fell head-over-heels in love with Leilani and her disintegrating island paradise. And the father-daughter relationship is hands-down the strongest I've ever seen in fiction. The characters live and breathe, the plot swept me along, and the setting is exquisite. This book will draw you in and leave you begging for more.

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  • Posted August 5, 2014

    Full review to come, but seriously . . . imagine being on an isl

    Full review to come, but seriously . . . imagine being on an island when the world at large is in chaos. An edge-of-your-seat read!

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  • Posted August 5, 2014

    Fresh, exciting, and filled with the fiery legends and wonder of

    Fresh, exciting, and filled with the fiery legends and wonder of Hawaii...what a setting! Very impressed with Aslan's expert use of imagery, Leilani's character (I love a strong female lead), and the powerful relationship between father and daughter. A great story. I loved it! Can't wait for the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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