Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
A teenaged boy struggles as he watches his family and relationships fracture after the death of his mother, and is now faced with the terrible possibility that his twin brother may have just killed their father.
Seventeen-year-old Rad comes home to find his father lying broken and dead at the bottom of the ravine behind their house. Rad’s twin brother, shaken but very much alive, had watched their father fall.
Desperate to understand what has happened before calling the police, Rad confronts his brother and the complicated landscape of their past. He reconstructs not just the circumstances leading to his father’s death, but the history of his family.
How can a family simply disintegrate? Were they ever happy, or were the roots of unhappiness always there? What plagued his father? What plagues Rad?
As the time comes to do the right thing, the question remains. Did his brother kill their father? And what will happen to the boys now?
About the author
Patrick Downes’ first two novels for young adults, Fell of Dark and Ten Miles One Way, received multiple starred reviews and were named to best-of lists (NYPL Best Books for Teens, Booklist Top 10, Kirkus Best Teen Reads). He is also the author of Come Home, Angus (illustrated by Boris Kulikov), a picture book.
A New York City native, Patrick splits his time between the United States and Canada.
Excerpt: Island (by (author) Patrick Downes)
“Jacqui?” I had never said her name, and it felt sticky and sweet on my lips, like cotton candy.
“Rad, I’ve spent some time thinking about this. I think we should be friends.”
Silence. I was tasting her name, the taste of blue.
“What do you think, Rad? Interested?”
“Why do you want to be friends with me?”
Jacqui rocked back and forth on her feet. “Don’t be stupid,” she said.
“That’s hard for me,” I said.