Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Annihilation of Foreverland - A young adult novel with a dose of horror!

Author Tony Bertauski has created a paradise of an island in the south Atlantic Ocean where adolescent and teenage boys roam, fish, play state-of-the-art video games, anything they want to their heart’s content, except leave. Each is watched over, coached and guided by an elderly man of dubious health known as an “investor.” Every couple of weeks the boys are herded into “The Haystack,” a building that is the gateway to “Foreverland” where every impossible dream can come true but not without its price.

The Annihilation of Foreverland is told through the eyes of multiple characters but mainly by Danny Boy, whom we first encounter as he wakes up on the island devoid of any memory of his past. In fact, none of the boys remember who they are or where they came from. Another viewpoint is that of Reed, an older boy who has steadfastly refused to succumb to the promise of “Foreverland.” Finally, we get insight from the mysterious island owner known only as “The Director.” The old men or “investors” vary from supposedly kindly and caring to downright creepy and cruel. There is a psychotic bully among the boys which adds more tension. The characters and their pasts are gradually revealed over the course of the novel. The suspense and horror grows until we have a satisfyingly full picture of each.

The storyline is a unique one in which technology, privilege, money, and power all combine for an exciting, thought-provoking, ethics-challenging tale. The author added exquisitely creepy little details that absolutely made my skin crawl. These small details added a whole other level of “eww” to the story. Thankfully, the villains get their “just desserts” and we can leave the island with the knowledge that things are going to work out right. With a marvelous setting, interesting characters, and nice plot revelations, I recommend this to the young adult readers that like theirs with a good dose of horror.

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