This is an important book. Hodges has written a powerful, moving story, and done so in impressive fashion.
Joshua has suffered for three long years at the hands of Rhonda and her bully squad. Eve has just been drawn into Rhonda’s inner circle. Hodges tells the story in alternating viewpoint, which I was trepidatious about at first. Stories like ‘Sarum’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ work as multiple viewpoint tales, thanks to sweeping landscapes and epic timelines. ‘Joshua’s Island’ is an intensely personal tale, told from Eve’s and Joshua’s perspectives. The back-and-forth works wonderfully, and Hodges even doubles back from time to time, retelling events from the opposing character’s viewpoint. It was a risky move, but one that immensely paid off. It drives home the effects of bullying, and how one event can trigger countless others.
Another risk Hodges took was writing a teenage story with real kids. No one has secret powers, no one turns 13 and becomes a wizard/vampire/werewolf/alien, and everybody just tries to go about their regular, day-to-day lives. This feeds the emotional impact of the story to reach amazing heights. He’s made the conversations between teenagers actually sound like conversations between teenagers, which is no mean feat.
‘Joshua’s Island’ is not for the squeamish. There are scenes of intense violence, but none of it feels gratuitous. These are moments that countless kids experience across the globe every day, and they are too often sugar-coated and buried underneath political correctness and adult mishandling. Hodges has gone for it, and again, the book is made better and more impactful because of it.
This book would not be out of place in a classroom setting, serving as a wonderful way to show how important it is to speak up, build a community, and not be afraid to step in when you see something happening you know is wrong. Hodges has written a very powerful, important book that should reach a wide audience and be appreciated for the amazing story it is. Thank you, Mr. Hodges.
Buy it now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Fg3qos
And check out Patrick Hodges’s Author blog: http://bit.ly/1DWOD0k