Daybreak on Raven Island

Daybreak on Raven Island
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
August 23, 2022
ISBN
978-0593404638
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Tori, Marvin, and Noah would rather be anywhere else than on the seventh grade class field trip to Raven Island prison. Tori would rather be on the soccer field, but her bad grades have benched her until further notice; Marvin would rather be at the first day of a film festival with his best friend, Kevin; and Noah isn't looking forward to having to make small talk with his classmates at this new school.
 
But when the three of them stumble upon a dead body in the woods, miss the last ferry back home, and then have to spend the night on Raven Island, they find that they need each other now more than ever. They must work together to uncover a killer, outrun a motley ghost-hunting crew, and expose the age-old secrets of the island all before daybreak.

Editor review

1 review
Don’t let your fears control you.
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
The trio of main characters form an unusual blend of personalities. Tori is a competitive soccer player and could be a popular member of the class. However, she’s upset about being suspended from her team, her brother’s in prison, and she really has no interest in making friends. That’s strange as she chooses Marvin, a geeky boy with dreams of creating a spooky movie, as her field trip buddy and they add Noah, a withdrawn new kid who fears everything, as their third. Marvin’s curiosity gets them into loads of trouble. Noah doesn’t want to be left alone even though every new experience adds another subject to his list of fears; he literally has a twenty-page list of them.
The story involves ghosts but it doesn’t exactly feel like a ghost story. The kids are able to see ghosts, while adults cannot, but their interactions aren’t frightening or spooky. A ghost offers help when the kids are lost in the dark woods but other observations are more confusing. The ghost of the last warden is seen talking to inmates near a rowboat along the shore but the kids don’t understand why. They figure out something happened on the island when the prison was still open and they’re determined to uncover the secrets. The overall story reads like a mystery so readers will be able to speculate and piece together the clues along with the characters.
The setting is perfect for a ghost story. The deteriorating stone prison is crumbling, damp, and musty which creates a stifling atmosphere. The waters between the island and the mainland are treacherous as the powerful tides only allow the ferry to safely traverse the distance once each day. The kids have no way to leave and much of the story takes place at night. Of course, it’s a cold and rainy night. The structures on the island include the run-down prison, an old lighthouse, and a forgotten morgue. Black ravens constantly watch from the trees causing readers to wonder if the eerie birds might be stalking the kids.
What didn’t work as well:
For kids with various emotional issues, all three main characters make incredibly “brave” decisions and take dangerous risks. Noah constantly ventures into the unknown despite requiring psychiatrists in the past to help him face his phobias. The characters’ behaviors don’t always match up with the personalities established in the early chapters.
The Final Verdict:
Don’t let your fears control you. The mystery on Raven Island is interesting but it’s difficult to make connections with the characters. Perhaps it’s just me, but I keep wanting more descriptions or detail to help me infer the whole characters. The atmosphere and conflict definitely fit the story and I recommend this book for lovers of mysteries and ghosts.
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