Book review: The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

ELS librarian Sarah reviews her recent lockdown read, The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

Set in The Philippines, Ami lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants – including her mother – have leprosy. Ami loves her home, with its blue seas and tropical forests, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she’s desperate to return, but can she make it before it’s too late?

This story is beautifully written and transports you to a tropical world described so evocatively. The story and characters propel you from the very first line to the last. In her notes the author writes, ‘fiction is sometimes at its best when there is fact at its heart’, and this is certainly true in this case. Culion Island exists and became the world’s largest leper colony between 1906 and 1998.

There is so much to learn and enjoy in this book – themes of prejudice, empathy, nature, love and friendship.

What a wonderful book! Highly recommended for Upper Key Stage 2.

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