Dee-Ann's Reviews > The Secret of the Lonely Isles

The Secret of the Lonely Isles by Joanne van Os
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May 15, 11

bookshelves: australian-authors, children-s-book, ya-literature
Read from May 13 to 15, 2011

This story is about four children, Jem (the main character), his brother Tyler, sister Maddy and friend Zac who live in Darwin, in the Northern Territory. Jem, Tyler and Maddy use to live on a farm, but following a mining accident where their father lost his leg, they moved to Darwin with their parents and lived with their grandmother Neenie. Their dad, Steve is struggling with his disability and assicated changes, and thus often becomes angry and this causes a stressful situation in the household of six people. In the middle of this turmoil, great-aunt Ella turns up, which results in the four children going siling with their aunt, whilst Jem's parents go to Adelaide for treatment. Ella, an intrepid sailor, came to northern Australia in order to find a location of a secret colony which was believed by some to have been established and dissapeared a long time ago, with one of the members being an relative of the family. Thus the five sail off for an adventure amongst some remote islands north of Australia. They are not alone however in their pursuits!

I really enjoyed this book. For me it was a cross between Enid Blyton's Famous Five series and Colin Thiele's Blue Fin, both of which I have fond memories of from my younger days. I really enjoyed the local aspect of the story, could relate to places in the book, the language (we really do talk like that which is a worry)and the culture. I found the family very real and I appreciated the dilemma faced by the family in relation to their father's disability and depression and found this refreshing and very real. it was interesting to see how the family dealt with it ... many families have the same issues.

I enjoyed the colony/treasure hunt as well as the local history lessons thrown in as well. The only problem I had with the story was that I wanted a bit more itme on the island and a bit more sailing adventure.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Joanne (new) - added it

Joanne Thanks Dee-Ann. I'm glad you liked it - suggestions noted for next time!


Dee-Ann I have passed it on to my eldest (16 year old) son to see what he thinks. he has a huge pile of books to read, most of them supplied by myself, but I will be interested to see what he thinks.


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