Classic When it Comes to Island Settings
L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of the Green Gables series takes place on Prince Edward island and who doesn’t know that. Not many people like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies which is all things downright creepy and nightmarish and takes place on a deserted island. However, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and The Lost World takes place on a jungle island with dinosaurs.
Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague features ponies and horses and Rachel Neumeier’s The Floating Islands is a fantasy that features dragons and men with wings.
Juliet Marillier’s Wolf’s Skin is a sweeping historical fiction fantasy about Eyvind who dreams of becoming a Wolfskin. Dan Elconin’s Never After is a reimagined tale of Peter Pan with perils and laughter as no genre is complete without a retelling.
Stranded with Suspense and Murder
In Gretchen McNeil’s Ten, it was supposed to be a three-day party weekend on an island. But now it’s all about one person having a killer party. Similarly, Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Boys is all about everything gone wrong when a brutal murder happens. Running for your life has a new meaning and it’s Haas.
However, in Megan Shephard’s The Madman’s Daughter, we go back in time on a remote tropical island to uncover the truth about Juliet Moreau’s mad, mad father. Whereas Francis Hardinge’s The Lost Conspiracy is more about adventure than murder but there’s definitely something sinister going on.
Threats and Unraveling Truths On an Island
But could island settings also be something wrought with a different kind of a danger?
Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is spine-tingling for a sinister reason and Marcus Sedgewick’s Midwinterblood is an unsettling story about immortality set in the future on an, you guessed it, island.
Anna Collomore’s The Ruining features insanity and I bet that insanity on an island is worse than in other place. There’s just something about it… Moving on, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars is creepy on a private island.
But it’s not always psychological as Austin Aslan’s The Islands at the End of the World is a bloodchilling dystopia set on Hawaii featuring an epileptic main character. Moreover, Allegra Goodman’s The Other Side of the Island is all about finding out the truth and Lynne Matson’s Nil and Nil Unlocked feature an island that’s full of dangers and a terrible truth.
Francine Prose’s The Turning takes place on an isolated island where things are bound to get spooky and Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall is about a community surviving on an island after it’s been quarantined because of a virus.
Crash! Now Survive
Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens is perhaps a stellar book when it comes to suvival because you got a bunch of beauty pageant participants on an island. Fun times ahead, eh? Contrastingly, S. A. Bodeen’s The Raft is about a couple of survivors, one of whom is unconscious for a better part of the book.
Basically, books set on island make me wish never to be on one. Do you like books set on islands? Does it get old for you fast or does the thrill of it all excites you?
Cassie G says
I haven't really read a ton of books that take place on islands, but of all the ones listed, I've liked the ones I've read! (I.E. We Were Liars & Dangerous Girls) I just purchased Ten the other day, so I'm excited to start reading that one now!
Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers
Out of all books I only read The Scorpio Races, but I've heard many great things about Miss Peregrine!
I feel like Islands are an alternative dystopian/utopian setting nowadays, since it also allows the author to build a whole new world. The best example would be Battle Royale, it's a must-read!
Jess @myreadingdress says
Surprisingly, while I love the island trope, I haven't read all to many. I think it's because island books just put me off holidays 😛 Like Dangerous Girls O_O Why. I have so much fear now xD And despite loving Stiefvater as much as I do, I refuse to read The Scorpion Races…I think it's because of the horses which I know I won't enjoy and so I'm trying to stay ignorant so I don't ruin this image I have in my head =_=
Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness says
I haven't given much of a thought to this topic, but you're right! A lot of things creepy tend to happen on islands. Even if we know that some of them could be a real paradise. But it seems that things tend to go wrong all the time. What is worst, there are some really creepy examples out there in the real world like Alcatraz or Poveglia, this scary as hell Italian island who is very beautiful, but I dare you to spend a night on it.
click clack gorilla says
Island of the Blue Dolphins! That was a favorite when I was a kid.
Danielle Cox says
Since I've read only one book on this list – Scorpio Races – I guess I'm indifferent to island settings in general? I like a good survival story, but none of the others have really peaked my interest outside of that.
Great topic idea! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Joséphine Simone says
For Anne of Green Gables, I totally forgot about the island setting. That fact totally didn't remain in my memories. Maybe because I don't really care all that much if a book is set on an island or not. But if it adds to the story, then that can only be a good thing.
Like Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian. I think the island setting really added to the story because it made a lot of sense why everyone knew everyone and it definitely helped develop their culture.
Two other books set on islands that I've come across are Vitro by Jessice Khoury and The Islands at the End of the World by Aslan Austin. Both are sci-fi and I have read neither. Haha. Vitro I plan to read for sure. It's about genetic research on a tucked away island. The Islands at the End of the World is a dystopian set in Hawaii. I found it at the library but wasn't in the mood for it. Maybe I'll read it in future.
Terri S. says
I've always remembered "Island of the Blue Dolphins" fondly – a girl gets stranded and has to learn to live on her own. Not something I'd want to do, but it's kind of a classic!
Ah, The Scorpio Races. I meant to start the audio book yesterday in honor of the first of November but I forgot. I'll start it tonight! Savage water horses for the win.
I haven't read many books set on an island, but they always seem to be creepy and I do like that. Miss Peregrine and The madman's daughter were pretty good, but they are both places I'd rather not visit :p
natalie kate says
Until this post I hadn't realised so many of these books take place on an Island (the ones I haven't read I'm talking about). Definitely added a few to my TBR (ten, dangerous girls, beauty queens and the raft) I wasn't planning on reading We Were Liars because of the mixed reviews but I think I'm going to see what all the talk is about and which side of the spectrum I fall under (loving it or hating it)