‘Joshua’s Island’ by Patrick Hodges is a story that captures the innocence of childhood and blends it with the uncertainty of being a teenager. All the while, bullying is at the core of the story. Joshua has to deal throughout the novel with the ongoing aspects of bullying that plague him day in and day out, and have done so for the last three years. Now that he’s in the eighth grade, he realizes that there is only one more year until high school – the only freedom he can see in the foreseeable future. Compounding his troubles are his new Science class partner, Eve, who wants nothing to do with him. As time goes on, their relationship evolves into something more. Whereas in other novels evolution along these lines sometimes seems forced, it was compelling and realistic in this novel. Joshua finds friends in unexpected places, and Eve, whose status changes between popular and outcast in the story, gives Joshua strength he didn’t know he had.
Through friends like Eve, as well as a younger girl who rides his bus named Kelsey, and others, he finds hope. Even though hope doesn’t always translate into action, progress is not a lost concept in this story. If only everyone had someone in his or her life who was as concerned and willing to help at any cost as the friends Joshua finds as the story goes on, maybe bullying could be a thing of the past. I was very moved by this story. I found myself smiling, tearing up, and wanting to know what happens next. Though some readers might think the narrative and dialogue sound too mature at times for eighth graders, by the end of the novel, it was a moot point and made sense. A great read for kids and adults alike.
Additionally, feel free to check out my video review of ‘Joshua’s Island’:
You can find ‘Joshua’s Island’ by Patrick Hodges on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1C7if6f