Updated: Sep 13
It is nearing the end of the school year, and a class of seventh graders from Greenville Middle School is embarking on an impromptu field trip to the infamous Raven Island prison. They are the first tour to visit the island in over fifty years, but not everyone is looking forward to the trip. Noah is the odd one out without a partner, and Tori would rather be defending a soccer goal; only Marvin sees the potential in this visit as he prepares to create the greatest horror movie of all time. The three classmates ultimately team up for the field trip, finding themselves interacting with unexpected characters during their visit. When the ferry leaves without them and the only chance to return to the mainland happens the following morning, the unlikely trio must combine their skills to survive not only the human inhabitants of the island, but their ghostly companions, as well.
Inspired by the real-life Alcatraz prison, Raven Island is filled with secrets and nefarious realities that instill fear in the hearts of visitors of all ages. This story takes place almost entirely on the grounds of the island, from the prison to the surrounding forest and beyond, and readers will sense the palpable anxiety felt by each of the characters. Though Tori, Marvin, and Noah are not friends initially, they each share common threads of loss and life experience that help them connect on a deeper level while spending a harrowing night on the island together. With three different and distinctive personalities, these characters all bring important contributions to the table as they puzzle out a mystery that threatens their very lives.
Taking place over the course of only about twenty-four hours, this book packs intensity into each page. The pacing of the narrative is gripping, and readers will be compelled to continue turning pages until the final resolve is achieved. A diverse set of characters is woven into the novel, and the narrative includes pertinent cultural references which enhance the depth and flavor of the story. As the children interact with one another, their dialogue is believable and approachable, and readers are sure to feel a connection with the characters from the first moments. Middle grade readers with an interest in spooky mysteries will be immediately drawn to this story; it is a clever and entertaining addition to libraries for middle grade readers that is not to be missed.
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