Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kyle’s Island

Sally Derby
Young Adult (YA)
Rating: 5

In 1974, Kyle has anticipated his summer at the family cottage after a difficult past. His dad left, his grandmother died, and his mother has troubles that only a single parent can really understand. The cottage has no indoor plumbing and the water is drawn from the pump outside. The family history is written on the walls and updated as seen fit. Kyle loves this family cottage and when his mother puts it up for sale; he does what is necessary to keep it in the family. The first buyers are not very impressed with the “homey” atmosphere and are more interested in tearing it down. Kyle, though, remembers something his dad taught him, about controlling his temper, and putting his energy to better use. Across the lake is the island he is finally old enough to explore by himself.

Kyle’s Island is a story of a young boy’s growth through loss, new perspective, and a willingness to learn, “Mostly we don’t know about other people”. The author, Sally Derby, creates a scenario around Kyle and his siblings dealing with a series of life’s difficulties almost any young teenager can relate to. At almost thirteen and dealing with the death of a grandparent, Kyle does not want to lose the only physical representation of his family history―the cottage. Derby brings the frustration of youth through Kyle’s voice, while juxtaposing those voices of his siblings―older sister Vicky, twin sister Andrea, and younger brother Josh. It is interesting to read through the eyes of a pre-teen boy and watch his growth over a summer. This is Derby’s first novel, and she does it well.

Debby Willett


Previously published in the August 2010 issue of the Christian Library Journal.

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