Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Elizabeth Atkinson
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
The mysterious Island of Beyond, partially owned by Martin’s even more mysterious Aunt Lenore, is Martin's assigned haven for the summer. Martin is an eleven-year-old boy with interests different than that of what his parents deem a “normal boy” should have, and he is therefore sent away for the summer to be with Aunt Lenore. While on the island, Martin meets a couple of interestingly different children and sneaking adults who share some of his underlying homosexual tendencies. Between his growing outside his comfort zone and his growing understanding of his pre-pubescent nature, Martin explores the uncertainties of his ever-changing world.
The author of The Island of Beyond catches readers’ attention by introducing plot points that are later resolved through Martin’s exploration of the island. However, there seems to be a large discrepancy in the plot in that Martin’s father, who spent his childhood summers on the island, knew what Martin would be finding there. Martin’s father, who has clearly hinted at the fact that homosexuality will not be tolerated, sends Martin to an isolated area in which he knows that two homosexual men live. Although the message of the book clearly intends to tell readers that they can find a place to fit in despite their individual identities, the plot discrepancies distract from the overall moral.