Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L. Printz Award winner Geraldine McCaughrean comes an extraordinary story of eight boys stranded on a rock in the middle of the sea, left to fight for their survival. Every time a lad went fowling on the stacs, he came home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is. Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned―cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive such a forsaken place of stone and sea? This is an extraordinary story of fortitude, endurance, tragedy and survival, set against an unforgettable backdrop of savage beauty.
Where the World EndsFeatured
I would add some caution for readers in terms of some of the themes that can be sensitive, and I will include them here, which could be spoilers (so skip to below if you are concerned about spoilers). More specifically, I would warn for a girl who was raised as a boy (but may identify as a girl), pedophilia (one of the adults decides that she should marry him/that her presence is a gift for him), religious in the extreme with casting out of demons/religious figure not very pious, and stoning of others/bullying/mistreatment.
What I loved: The imagery here is fantastic. We feel the isolation, the desolation of the landscape, and the unforgiving nature of survival. The world-building in terms of the rocky island was very good. We got a very good feel for how this fowling trip was.
What left me wanting more: The book moves very slowly, and facts are often revealed slowly, making it hard to visualize the world outside of the island and understand the societal structure (though this may be presumed as it is historical/based on truth). The slow pace can make it hard to read in places, but on the other hand, this does help build the isolation and overwhelming nature of the trip.
Final verdict: Fans of LORD OF THE FLIES will enjoy this new tale of historical survival in an unforgiving environment and with evolving social structures. Would recommend for people who like compelling world-building and immersive scenarios.