The other side of the island

by Allegra Goodman

Paper Book, 2008

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

New York : Razorbill, 2008.

Description

Born in the eighteenth year of Enclosure, ten-year-old Honor lives in a highly regulated colony with her defiant parents, but when they have an illegal second child and are taken away, it is up to Honor and her friend Helix, another "unpredictable", to uncover a terrible secret about their island and the corporation that runs everything.

User reviews

LibraryThing member EKAnderson
Honor Greenspoon lives in a world where the polar ice caps have melted, destroying what we know as continents, leaving only islands dispersed across the earth. Earth Mother and the Corporation have numbered the Islands and moved all the survivors to ones deemed proper for colonization. At the age of ten, Honor and her parents are moved to Island 365 where she attends the Old Colony School. She doesn't fit in. All the other girls from year H have names from the list like Helena and Hester. Honor's H is silent. To make matters worse, she doesn't know as much about goegraphy, climatology, and New Weather as the other girls. When she has to recite, they all laugh at her. Honor's parents aren't helping. While everyone else dresses in plain, neutral colors, the Greenspoons wear colorful clothing, even black. And they are always staying out past curfew. When Honor's mother has a baby and doesn't give her second child back to the community, it's the last straw for Honor. At thirteen, when Honor's brother start's school, she decides she will do anything to fit in. She learns her recitations, studies all of Earth Mother's writings, and acts like the other girls who make fun of the orphans whose parents were Taken. But when an old friend is suddenly seen in orphan's overalls, Honor has to wonder what the fate of her nonconformist parents will be. How long will it be before she, too, is an orphan? And whose side will she choose if she is? The Other Side of the Island is a fresh take on conservationist dystopia, rife with plot twists and well-rounded characters. It is a science fiction that feels that it could be on the horizon, and a coming of age story that holds true in any generation. Compelling from page one, this is a novel that paints a terrifying, well-imagined portrait of the future and asks all the right questions.… (more)
LibraryThing member jenniferthomp75
A post-apocalyptic story about Honor, a girl torn between following the rules of Earth Mother and society and following her parents' advice on how to live her life.

I didn't find Honor's character to be very compelling and I didn't connect to any of the characters. I found the dystopian storyline fairly dull and listless and, at times, found Goodman's writing to be overly simplistic. It's not a bad book, but it could've been much more interesting if it had been a bit bleaker. Instead, I'd rather re-read "The Giver." Now THAT'S a good dystopian book.… (more)
LibraryThing member hewayzha
An Earth where everyone must live their lives adherring to the sayings of Earth Mother. Everything is controlled by these sayings. There is no individuality tolerated. When the story begins ten year-old Honor and her family have moved and must now follow a strictly regimented life. Honor's parents will not be like everyone else even and though Honor tries her best to be "just like everyone else" in order to save them from themselves, they "disappear" and leave Honor and her brother "orphans". As in most authoritarian societies there are dissenters and there is hope for freedom.

Honor is the central characters and everyone else is secondary. Honor is very strong willed and even though you admire her for her convictions sometimes you want to shake her and tell her to pick her battles. Since the story is from a ten year-old's perspective it is interesting to see how she grows to understand what her parents were trying to tell her. Not a bad tale, but it did move slowly in some parts. Still, I got involved enough to want to find out what happened.
… (more)
LibraryThing member nilchance
Neat little world-building book on a society destroyed by global warming, trying to build itself back up through oppression of free will. Great main character, Honor, both flawed and amazing. I'd add this to my list of good books for teenaged girls.
LibraryThing member Miranda_Paige
The thing I liked best about this book is the characters. The book is filled with vibrant well-written characters. I was absorbed into the book and sometimes caught myself pronounces the H in Honor and even said Not Allowed or Objector the way a young child says a swear for the first time.
I really loved Honor. She was so innocent and willing to believe anything everyone said that I fell instantly in love with her. It was painful to have to see her slowly drained of everything that made her Honor and I watched helplessly as another plot twist would come up and she would adapt to that new way of being and forget who she had been. She changed so much over the course of the book but ultimately found herself again.
I also liked that the author slipped in the bits of the history book as Honor's homework because it lets the reader catch up with what happened to get humans to this point without overwhelming her.
However I have to say that I thought Honor's running off into the woods was unrealistic. She might have left Helix and Quin behind but it seemed uncharacteristic and she should NOT have been able to survive out there. She knew nothing of surviving in a wild fores and there wasn't enough food even if she had known where to find it. Also some moments in the book were predictable like in a movie when the music changes and you know something bad will happen. I knew she would see her mother at the bakery and I knew her parents would be gone that day when she got home. The Pratts and her father being alive I did not suspect at all though.
Overall I give it 3 and 3/4 stars.
… (more)
LibraryThing member jentifer
I read this quickly - it was interesting to read an adult author's take on dystopia after reading so many YA authors; I had really high expectations because I'm a fan of Allegra Goodman's short stories. I'm bummed that it didn't leave much of a lasting impression, but I did enjoy it while I was reading it.I found the ending interesting - I like abrupt endings, but this seemed like something Goodman did to "reach out" to the kids and teens reading the book. I guess it sums up my feelings about the book, overall: it felt like it was trying a little too hard to be aimed at teens.… (more)
LibraryThing member TheDivineOomba
This book is not at all what I was expecting, where I was expecting a typical teenage drama type book set in a dystopian future, I get a well thought out story about fitting in in, about figuring out who you are, and whats important.

Its also about a mystery corporation, drugs that affect memory, and lies, that may, or may not be true. Its about weather control (kind of) and what is safe.

The first half of the book was great - we get Honor trying to fit in at her school, following the rules. Her parents don't follow the rules, and Honor is very frustrated by this.. she just wants to fit in. We get hints about what the "Corporation" is doing, but its fragmented, told from a point view who doesn't know very much about the world nor is told very much about the world. Its the second half that gets weird... It reminds me of that 70's TV show where a man is on this island, given a number for a name, is surrounded by odd people, and drugged at every opportunity. The story became surreal, other worldly. I liked the book up until the end. The ending suddenly stops and the author writes a note explaining why it suddenly stops (its up to you, dear readers, to decide how it ends). It was incredibly jarring, not very nice, and made me quite angry... even adding one extra chapter would have helped immensely.
… (more)
LibraryThing member LarsTheLibrarian
I'm harsher on this than other books, simply because these types of novels are my favorite, dystopian world building, coming of age, growing to realize that what you've been told your entire life is wrong...

This fell flat for me. I almost felt like I didn't know what story the author was telling. Is this the parent's story, or the child's story? I never felt invested in either. I kept feeling angry at the parents, recklessly putting their children's lives in danger, in most circumstances I admire the character who plays within the rules, and takes those rules and slightly bends them to his or her own benefit. Not the couple who ignore the rules and then get plucked out of their children's lives leaving them to fend for themselves.

I saw very little character growth in Honor, her as a ten year old and her as a fourteen year old were the same. Too much of the book felt like "here is an example of why the society is bad" "hey look an incidence of control", the society was never shown as evil, and instead of realistic subtlety, it just felt not fully fleshed out. I had a hard time believing that these "orderlies" were fully brainwashed into doing complex tasks with no rebellion, but Pamela could send a code in base two to her daughter. The ending wrapped up very quickly and easily, with no sense to me of immediate danger.

I guess I am enumerating the flaws because they so easily don't have to be there. It felt more like a draft to me than a finished book. Some more focus, attention to audience and which story exactly should be told. I think I should try the author's adult books, I think I might find ther focus matching the writing there.
… (more)
LibraryThing member dwhapax
Though provoking in a good way. But I found the orderly story line too conveniently handled, and the way they were described made it seem as though there were only white people in this future, and only hetero folks as well.
LibraryThing member Kivrin22
A Eutopian Society book. Not bad, the best book on the list of scifi books we had to read for class.
LibraryThing member katec9999
Global warming has caused the polar ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise; consequently, much of the Earth’s land has disappeared, leaving only high-lying islands. A corporation run by a woman known as Earth Mother now rules all of the islands. Honor and her family have moved to Island 365, and from the outset it looks like they’ll have a hard time fitting in. First of all, Honor’s name is all wrong. Everyone born in her year has a name that begins with H, but Honor’s name has a silent H and is therefore all wrong. Honor’s family also sings songs (forbidden), stays out past curfew (a serious offense), and worst of all, has a second child. Honor grows more and more embarrassed by her family’s disrespect of the rules, but her embarrassment turns to concern when she finds out what happens to people who do not fit in.

This book is similar to other futuristic children’s books, like the City of Ember books and the Shadow Children series. If you liked those books then you’ll probably like this one; however, it’s not a standout. I liked how some of Earth Mother’s rules were similar to the rules of the former Chinese ruler Mao Zedong, like how all people had to hang a picture of her in their house and have a book of her sayings. It is truly frightening how Earth Mother and the people who work for her are able to control the population.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Maggie_Rum
This is a great young adult post-apocalyptic action novel.
LibraryThing member bhwrn1
This book was very odd for me. I'm not really sure I even fully understand what happened!
It is set on an Island where the people are controlled by Earth Mother. Earth Mother is worshiped like a G-d. Earth Mother controls the weather. All books and sayings some how include earth mother. People must abide by Earth Mother's Rules such as staying in their house after curfew, going to bed at certain times, teaching children certain things.
Honor and her parents come to the Island from the North. It is clear from the beginning that Honor's parents are resisters (they have a second child, when this is not the norm, they name Honor with an H name as instructed but the H is silent so she's different, they stay out after curfew, they sing songs they are not supposed to, etc.). Honor is unhappy about this and even eventually changes her name to Heloise b/c she wants to fit in. She doesn't understand why her parents defy Earth Mother, even tho they drop many hints along the way.
I didn't find the language in this book interesting. the writing was very flat. The descriptions didn't really help me to see any type of scenery. The characters weren't interesting at all. The only character that grew was Honor, the others just kind of drifted along.
I also found there were many mistakes in the book. The author would say one thing but then a few chapters later it was contradicted. For instance, the school children who had parents wore a certain uniform while those who were orphans wore something different. Yet, when Honor becomes an orphan, she still wears the same school uniform. This was confusing to me.
I give this book a 2/5. I'm glad it's not a series b/c I would not read any more of them.
… (more)
LibraryThing member KarenBall
Another dystopia! This one reminds me a lot of The Giver, but with a clearer setting, more information about how this place has come to be, and actually more realistic options for the people in the story. Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Her parents don't quite fit in, and neither does she in this extremely regulated place. In their first apartment, the Neighborhood Watch arrives to tell them that they are not allowed to sing Honor to sleep to make her feel better in this new place. Although the island is peaceful, it is difficult following the rules and being obedient to Earth Mother, the corporation that now runs the planet and regulates all life and events, including the weather. Honor meets Helix, who also is interested in more than what the people on the island are being offered. Slowly, Honor and Helix discover a horrible truth about life on the Island: one way or another, people who are unpredictable or different vanish, and they don't ever come back. This one is a good companion novel for The Giver in 6th grade, but also will work well with the Holocaust curriculum in 8th grade (the idea of controlled society, getting rid of those who are different, propaganda, etc). 6th grade and up.… (more)
LibraryThing member AmyLovsBooks
It was a fairly good book. I didn't find much to dislike in the book. But the story didn't particularly strike me.
LibraryThing member KarenBall
Another dystopia! This one reminds me a lot of The Giver, but with a clearer setting, more information about how this place has come to be, and actually more realistic options for the people in the story. Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Her parents don't quite fit in, and neither does she in this extremely regulated place. In their first apartment, the Neighborhood Watch arrives to tell them that they are not allowed to sing Honor to sleep to make her feel better in this new place. Although the island is peaceful, it is difficult following the rules and being obedient to Earth Mother, the corporation that now runs the planet and regulates all life and events, including the weather. Honor meets Helix, who also is interested in more than what the people on the island are being offered. Slowly, Honor and Helix discover a horrible truth about life on the Island: one way or another, people who are unpredictable or different vanish, and they don't ever come back. This one is a good companion novel for The Giver in 6th grade, but also will work well with the Holocaust curriculum in 8th grade (the idea of controlled society, getting rid of those who are different, propaganda, etc). 6th grade and up.… (more)
LibraryThing member KarenBall
Another dystopia! This one reminds me a lot of The Giver, but with a clearer setting, more information about how this place has come to be, and actually more realistic options for the people in the story. Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Her parents don't quite fit in, and neither does she in this extremely regulated place. In their first apartment, the Neighborhood Watch arrives to tell them that they are not allowed to sing Honor to sleep to make her feel better in this new place. Although the island is peaceful, it is difficult following the rules and being obedient to Earth Mother, the corporation that now runs the planet and regulates all life and events, including the weather. Honor meets Helix, who also is interested in more than what the people on the island are being offered. Slowly, Honor and Helix discover a horrible truth about life on the Island: one way or another, people who are unpredictable or different vanish, and they don't ever come back. This one is a good companion novel for The Giver in 6th grade, but also will work well with the Holocaust curriculum in 8th grade (the idea of controlled society, getting rid of those who are different, propaganda, etc). 6th grade and up.… (more)
LibraryThing member MsHooker
In [The Other Side of the Island] the author[Allegra Goodman] gives us a very interesting take on our possible future. The Corporation and Earth Mother are building the Enclosure over the (now flooded) Earth to protect the people. The question is at what cost does this protection come and what are you willing to sacrifice?

The book was an excellent read and as the author intended left me with questions. I will be highly recommending this book to my students.… (more)
LibraryThing member librarybrandy
[October 2011]
Just re-read this, and found it more engrossing the second time through--which tells me it's better than a lot of the recent crop of dystopias. Still, the inconsistencies, and I still had a moment of "what??" when I hit the line about "she knocked back an arrow." No, you knock back drinks; you nock arrows. Arrrgh. Anyway.

Honor is 10 years old when her family moves to Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Her parents tell her it's an adventure, moving to this place, where they have no jobs and no money and everything is regulated by the Earth Mother and the Corporation. Honor desperately wants to fit in with the girls at her new school, but it's hard with parents like hers--parents who aren't willing to do the things they're supposed to, parents who have a second child, parents who name her Honor instead of a name with a proper "H" sound for her year--a name like Helen, or Hortense, or anything besides Honor. Eventually her parents are busted for their crimes (not a huge spoiler; it's pretty obvious from the beginning) and Honor finally gets wise to the world. WIth the help of her best friend Helix, of course.

Post-apocalyptic in that the planet is mostly destroyed; what's left are islands all over. We get infodumps a lot in the beginning as Honor is studying for the entrance exam for the school, and as infodumps go, they're pretty well integrated into the story, so kudos for that. This is more a dystopia, though; the Corporation controls absolutely everything, including the weather and the stars in the sky. Deviations from the norm are not tolerated; books are sanitized to eliminate any sad content or mention of things like bad weather; people who do not fall in line are drugged to the gills and given menial jobs.

Similar to the forthcoming Eye of the Storm (Kate Messner) for control of weather, Secret Under My Skin (McNaughton) for classism and societal control, Inside Out (Snyder) for classism, work assignments, and discovery of secret, forbidden spaces. Middle school level, maybe grades 6-9? A little more advanced than City of Ember, but not a taxing story by any means.


[January, 2009]
Looking at the other reviews of this book, it looks like you either love it, or think it's okay. I'm on the latter bench. I think it's a great dystopian book for slightly younger readers (middle school?) but it didn't grab me the way I wanted it to. The world, as intriguing as it is, never felt as real to me as (f'rex) Exodous, or even The Secret Under My Skin. I don't think we saw enough of the other characters--I'd have liked to have seen more interaction early on with Helix--and as a result, I never really locked onto anyone as the "identity" character. Oh, I feel for Honor, certainly--what pre-teen hasn't gone through the struggle to blend in with her peers?--but I never connected with her.

As sci-fi goes, this will be a pretty easy sell, and I really didn't hate it--I just didn't love it, is all. Add in a couple of inconsistencies along the way (a classroom pet goes missing after a storm, but then is around to cause a ruckus soon after?) and I'm going with around 3.5 stars.
… (more)
LibraryThing member librarian1204
Hard to follow at times. Sketchy at the end. Might spur some good discussions.
LibraryThing member CherieReads
In general I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to fans of dystopia and good story telling. I was particularly impressed with the societal world building. The book is set sometime in our future after climate change which causes the oceans to rise and then extreme weather, famine and war. Survivors are brought together by a woman who is come to be known as "Earth Mother" and she rules the new world with 7 other people called "The Corporation." Over time Earth Mother is pretty much worshiped as a god. There are details within the story telling that gave me chills because I could see things being twisted this way in the future (the corporate creed, for example which is really just a twisted version of The Lord's Prayer and then the nursery rhymes...).

The reason I did not give this book a higher rating is because I believe - as many other reviewers seem to - that the characters were a bit weak. Honor is developed to a certain degree but none of the other characters really were - including her parents, her best friend and her brother.

From the author's notes at the end of the book it seems that she is happy where it ends. I liked the ending but there is definitely room for a continuation in the future. I would read a sequel if there were one.

Overall a very enjoyable read.
… (more)
LibraryThing member callmecayce
A decent attempt at a dysptopia world, post-global warming. Honor's family is stuck in a world where they must fit in, except her family doesn't. And, because she doesn't quite know any better, Honor tries to fit in. In the end, things backfire on her and she must come to terms with the reality of the world she's living in. Good, but not great.… (more)

Language

Barcode

4502
Page: 0.3855 seconds