I was simply blown away by Joshua’s Island. It’s hard to convey in words because this story touched my heart and opened my own wounds. I was never bullied physically, only emotionally, and those scars have never really healed.
Joshua’s Island takes a poignant look at bullying and the effect it has on an entire social structure. No one is immune to bullying, whether it’s directly or indirectly; we all feel the pain on a human level.
I have never read a YA novel, but the weird thing is: I love YA movies. This novel was introduced to me on Goodreads; at first I’d hesitated, and then I thought "what the heck". I’d been looking to branch out beyond my usual romance, paranormal, and historical novels, and I never thought in a million years I would love a YA novel where the characters were all under the age of eighteen... but I could not have been more wrong. Kudos to Patrick Hodges for making me step outside of my comfort zone.
The premise of the story deals with Joshua, a brave but scrawny eighth-grader who is a social outcast and who has faced relentless bullying almost daily for three years. Joshua, brave Joshua, is in his last year of middle school, and prays that high school will bring something new, something different. No more being bullied by the ‘Bully Squad.’ No more being an outcast. No more sitting alone on his Island, watching the world pass him by.
Joshua forms an unlikely alliance with a lovely girl name Eve. Now, Eve isn’t too fond of Joshua because, like other kids facing peer pressure, they tend to believe the gossip about someone as if it was gospel. Eve is on the fast track to popularity, her main goal being part of the ‘It Crowd’... but fate steps in, pushing Eve in Joshua’s direction.
They bond because of their Science class partnership, and even more once Eve is ousted by Rhonda, the queen bee of the popular clique, because of said partnership. Together their friendship grows deeper and more meaningful, something a lot like First Love.
I highly recommend this book for middle schools and high schools alike. It was well-written with excellent dialogue. The point of views between the characters shift effortlessly, and I found myself eager to read Eve’s point of view just as much as Joshua's, even though the story centered more on him.
This was an excellent book. Please let’s put an end to Bullying and push to get Joshua’s Island in school libraries.