Monday, December 3, 2012
Plot Summary: Reese isn’t too happy at the idea of a boating trip with his mom, dad, a little sister taking up his entire summer vacation. Try as he might, he can’t convince them that he’s mature and responsible enough to stay at home by himself. But none of them could have expected that their peaceful trip would wind up with them stranded on a deserted island after a bad storm destroys their boat. As they try to make a shelter, they discover that this island might not be 100 percent deserted—it appears to be the home to some very odd plants and animals that want to either maim them or eat them! When they stumble upon a mysterious artifact and a journal of a long dead explorer, they discover information about the island and become prey to the evil inhabitants that want the artifact. Turns out the artifact can awaken a peaceful alien who is the mortal enemy of the evil inhabitants. Will Reese’s family make it to safety or will they become Bad Island’s next victims?
Critical Evaluation: Bad Island unfortunately isn’t as great as TenNapel’s other graphic novels, especially his first, Ghostopolis, but it is still fun. However, it is an action-packed, fast-paced graphic novel that guy readers will especially latch on to. Reese is a sympathetic boy who wants to just prove he’s responsible but is constantly treated like a child (something a lot of teens can relate too). He finally gets a chance to show what he’s made of on the island when he takes charge. There is lot of humor in the story from the character of his younger sister, such as when she sneaks her pet snake aboard the ship and he doesn’t survive but she refuses to leave his body behind until she can properly bury him. Where the novel fails a bit is the alien island concept. We are lead to believe one thing for most of the story and then find out the history of the island and aren’t given enough of a background to truly appreciate it.
Reader's Annotation: Robot mecha warriors? A dead pet snake? Rock creatures? Trees that try to eat you? Bad Island isn’t your average vacation destination and Reese’s family is about to find out why!
Author Information: Doug TenNapel was born in Norwalk and raised in the town of Denair, California. TenNapel studied art at Point Loma Nazarene University. TenNapel began his career as an animator on Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series. He soon began working in the video game industry. In 1994, he created Earthworm Jim, the character that would star in Shiny Entertainment's video game, toy line, and cartoon series. He is best known in the YA world for his graphic novels Ghostpolis, Bad Island, Creature Tech, and Cardboard (Doug, 2012).
Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalking Ideas: “Read” the scene where Reese’s younger sister makes their father kiss her (unfortunately) dead pet snake and be friends with it. (It sounds morbid but is hilarious!)
Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+
Challenge Issues: N/A
Challenge Defense: N/A
Reason for Inclusion: A short, humorous action graphic novel that is stand alone.