The Island at the Edge of Night by Lucy Strange

The Island at the Edge of Night – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Historical, family, nature, friendship, discovery.
Children’s book title: The Island at the Edge of Night.
Children’s author: Lucy Strange.
Genre: Children’s gothic fiction.
Published by: Chicken House.
ISBN: 9781913322380.
Recommended for children aged: 10+ year-olds.
First published: Paperback April 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: Confident readers and for reading aloud to the class. There are cliffhangers galore to enable discussion about what may happen next.

The Island at the Edge of Night by Lucy Strange

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Our review:

Faye Fitzgerald has lived with her aunt since her father’s health began to fade and misses the man he used to be. After her governess gives notice Faye is sent to Scotland where a new school has just been opened on the Isle of Auk. Accessible only by boat Faye has no idea where she is or how long she will be staying but as the term begins with the funeral of a pupil she wonders if she will ever leave.

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Discovering that the school is for disruptive students who have committed wicked acts, Faye tries to remember what it is she is supposed to have done without success. Gradually a few memories return and she begins to plan how she can get off the island but knows the other pupils have to travel to safety with her. The adults however are determined to keep everyone together but as the weather closes in, and the rough seas make travel impossible, the Island of Auk gets ready to receive its final two guests.

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Our verdict:

This is a book which covers a great deal of ground in its 311 pages and provides an ending which both confirms and surprises in equal measure. Faye is an excellent main protagonist, who is conflicted but strong-willed and absolutely not about to go down without a fight! Written from her point of view, the gradual enlightenment as to what she has done and how she is going to sort things makes for a definite page-turner.  I defy anyone not to want her to succeed or urge her forward.

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Teaching points and book club discussion ideas:

  • The subjects covered include the psychological damage from engaging in armed conflict, the power of nature to both nurture and heal, as well as the strength needed to confront impossible situations with confidence.
  • This is a book which will encourage discussion about what has been read and what could happen next. I thoroughly enjoyed it and although the main protagonist is a girl this will appeal to all confident readers in the middle-grade age range and above.
  • Read a free extract.

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Many thanks to Chicken House for the review copy.

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If you like The Island at the Edge of Night by Lucy Strange you might also like: our reviews of Hide and Seek by Rhian Tracey, The Grimmelings by Rachael King, Butterfly Wings by Samuel Larochelle, illustrated by Eve Patenaude and The Magician’s Map by Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai.

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About Tracy Wood

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I am a voracious reader and used to be a learning support assistant in a senior school for eight years before leaving to home school my now adult daughter. I have ten grandchildren who I love reading to and spending time with. Reviews by Tracy Wood