Scar Island (by Dan Gemeinhart) Review

As I was browsing my local library’s shelves, I came across Scar Island. I enjoy reading YA fiction, and this book really caught my attention, mainly because I had never heard of this author before. This book isn’t that thick, maybe 325 pages (I could be wrong, I think it was actually 350) so I thought “Why not try it? It could end up being a very good read.”


Scar Island is, so far, one of the best books I’ve read this year. Dan Gemeinhart was great at developing the characters, and he didn’t rush the story. When it ended, it felt right. At first, I was like “Really? The Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys is on an island? This is going to be a very un-realistic book!” I was so wrong, I thought the setting was perfect! It really made the whole story believable, like it can really happen.


Here’s the synopsis from Scar Island.


scar island.jpg


Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys–an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves.

Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he’s willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming.

Just as he’s getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can’t come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety… then every boy on the island is doomed.

Dan Gemeinhart’s most gripping novel yet, this is a tale of misfits and outcasts at odds and in peril, and a redemption story that shines a light on dark truths to reveal that the strongest prisons of all are the ones we build for ourselves.


My Thoughts


Such a great book! It really makes one think about past choices, and how you cant’ always control a situation. It’s also a good redemption story, and it’s great to see Jonathan evolve, and find courage to face his past.


Even though the kids obviously did something wrong to end up at the reformatory school for troubled boys, most of them aren’t bad kids. The “school” is not the right place for them, and when a freak accident happens and they’re left alone, they realize that they have to live and get along together. It proves to be very difficult, especially when one kid becomes the leader, and doesn’t put up with anyone leaving.


To sum up


Scar Island is a story about overcoming life’s obstacles, and facing the truth. The truth can be scary, and hard to face. Jonathon has to decide whether he can live with the truth, or just be miserable and guilty his whole life. It’s a unique and powerful book, one that you will rarely stumble across.


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