Author: Tony Bertauski
Release Date: 31 Dec 2011
When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds. Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane. Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works? Together, they discover what it’s really doing to them.
I was given an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was actually given this months ago and I fell massively behind and have only just gotten round to reading it. I am making a huge effort to catch up at the moment, I feel bad I'm keeping everyone waiting.
Anyway, to the book. I don't mind accepting books from self-published authors, I've had quite a few and had some really good books that way, I am quite selective with what I will accept though. I didn't know much about this book when I accepted it but something obviously called to me, and I sat down yesterday to read it.
Have you ever started a book and been thinking 'What the heck is going on?' whilst reading? I was like that for quite a bit of this book, and just when I thought I was starting to understand something would happen and i'd be all 'What?' again, but this was actually done in a really good way, at no point did I want to put the book down, it just made me even more intrigued and interested and I had to know what was happening, it only pulled me in further.
Danny-boy wakes up in a strange room with an old man leaning over him, he's told that he was ill and is in recovery, having had something done to his head. He is in a place to relax and get better again, always better! But Danny starts to notice things aren't quite right. The island only has boys on it and they are allowed to play computer games, go outside, play, etc no questions asked. Then the 'cycle' ends and the boys are sent to the Haystack where they are put through discomfort - almost torture before being given the chance to enter 'Foreverland', a place where dreams come true and you can truly do anything you want - fly, teleport, meet girls, anything. The boys love it and crave the escape. But Danny wonders if it is worth the pain, and what happens to the boys when they 'graduate'?
This book was nothing like my usual read but had elements that reminded me a bit of Alexander Gordon Smith (whose books I LOVE), and there was something about this book that I couldn't help but be drawn in by.
The 3 main characters (in my opinion anyway) are Danny, Zin and Reed. They each bring somehting to the story and really build up the world. Danny-boy is the spanner in the works, the one you know will end up being the hero but you enjoy seeing his journey there. Zin is like the side-kick who you just know will end up being kick-ass, but my favourite and probably most mysterious character was Reed. He has been on the Island the longest but has never once taken the escape in Foreverland, he is an anomoly and the men running the island want to know why he resists and try everything to make him accept. He isn't the full focus for a lot of the book, but his strong presence sets a feel for the book and you are always aware of him on the edges. He called to me and I would search the page waiting for his name to come up again. He is the one you really connect to- I want to save him, make him safe.
There are so many twists in this book that you are constantly on the edge of your seat. I love the added layer of 'Lucinda' - a strange girl who seems to stalk Foreverland, looking for a way out and a way to save Reed, and ultimately all the boys. It added a whole other layer of intrigue and she was a great character to read.
Reading this I was alternatley Freaked out! (needles going into the boys brains, leaving them with holes in their frontal lobes eugh!) and hooked on the mystery and unable to look away.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this and although I expected to hate it, and when I think of what it's actually about it sends shivers up and down my spine, but you know what? I actually really enjoyed it, and the story still keeps nudging my mind, almost like the characters are friends that have gone away but are waving at me from a distance or sending me a quick 'hello'.
Definitely aimed more at boys, probably at least teenagers. Really good read.