TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2000

Island Boyz

Graham Salisbury

Graham Salisbury was an island boy himself, and this collection of short stories--ISLAND BOYZ will give the most land-locked reader an intimate look at being a teenaged boy on a Hawaiian island. Teenaged boys AND girls will hear the surf and taste the saltiness of the sea as they meet the inhabitants of the eleven stories, told in the island language of the teller. Readers will share Henry's reluctance to ignore the soldier's offer of friendship, and his ultimate decision to name his horse for that young man. Readers will feel Johnny Smythe's guilt-filled regret for the torment a classmate received from the other guys. Readers will know Joey's panic as wild hurricane waters try to steal Joey's life. The stories themselves are like a rainbow, each with its own hue and intensity, but part of the whole wonder of island life. Even though some contain dark and painful plots, each ending shines with the conviction expressed in the introductory poem, "I would not have traded places with anyone not even God." I would rate this book a 4. After reading ISLAND BOYZ, I feel like I've spent time in Hawaii with Henry, Johnny, Joey, and others teens experiencing life and the changes that life inevitably brings to all who grow. Graham Salisbury creates very real characters, and the story endings don't always turn in the direction expected. The first story in the book, "The Ravine," will demonstrate that.
Reviewed by Carol. Grade: ----- in Cortland, - Link directly to entry
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