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The Islands at the End of the World

(Islands at the End of the World #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,138 ratings  ·  426 reviews
Right before my eyes, my beautiful islands are changing forever. And so am I ...

Sixteen-year-old Leilani loves surfing and her home in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. But she's an outsider - half white, half Hawaiian, and an epileptic.

While Lei and her father are on a visit to Oahu, a global disaster strikes. Technology and power fail, Hawaii is cut off from the world,
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Austin Aslan I lived in Hilo, on the Big Island, when I was getting my masters degree in Tropical Conservation Biology. My field sites were high up on the forested…moreI lived in Hilo, on the Big Island, when I was getting my masters degree in Tropical Conservation Biology. My field sites were high up on the forested slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano. I was coming home from a rainy day of doing pollination experiments with rare Hawaiian flowers and I drove down through the clouds and suddenly had a great, clear view of the ocean surrounding the island. I was struck by how alone and isolated the Hawaiian Islands were (this is something that people in Hawaii think about frequently, and it wasn’t a new thought for me, either). At that time, I happened to be thinking about a haunting post-apocalyptic book by Cormac McCarthy called THE ROAD. The idea popped into my head that it would be really interesting to set a post-apocalyptic story on the isolated Hawaiian Islands, and the story and characters just started flowing out of me like lava! I thought to myself, Everybody know what happens at the end of the world in New York and LA, but what would a global disaster mean for Islanders? 95% of Hawaii’s food is imported every day. The islands are home to 1.5 million people. If things got tough there, where would all those people go? There are no mountain ranges or Great Plains to escape to. Everyone is stuck. Hungry. No way to escape. When I arrived home at the end of my drive, I started writing the book immediately, that night, and I had my first draft finished 83 days later—all while going to class and doing field work for my degree!(less)
Jeremy Other than some issues I had where the protagonist wasted time thinking about cute boys I found it enjoyable as an adult. Some of the action was very …moreOther than some issues I had where the protagonist wasted time thinking about cute boys I found it enjoyable as an adult. Some of the action was very non-YA, in fact. (less)

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Start your review of The Islands at the End of the World (Islands at the End of the World, #1)
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up on a whim, knowing I'd need a book to read on the plane back from Phoenix ComicCon and was *very* pleasantly surprised.

(To be completely honest, I enjoyed the book so much I kinda failed at being a good dad coming home from the convention. As I kept pulling it out to read, rather than paying attention to my kids like I should.)

It's Young Adult, if that sort of thing matters to you. But it's not bubblegummy or trite. I also really enjoyed the fact that it was set in Hawaii, a locat
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. More review to come but this book REALLY did it for me. I'll be thinking about it for a while.

Okay, adding more. This book promised an end of the world adventure and it completely delivered on that. When ocean separates your home town from the town you're visiting, even it if it's only about 50 miles away, things get rough. Aslan portrays a world gone rogue with the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's terrifying and exciting and hopeful all at once. All set against the backdrop of a heavily t
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Two-second recap:

The Islands at the End of the World is a standout post-apocalyptic debut, sure to win over legions of fans.

Austin Aslan has written a haunting, heart-pounding tale of a young girl and her father, who struggle to find their way home in a rapidly disintegrating island paradise.


Full review:
I'm a big sucker for end-of-the-world stories, so I obviously couldn't resist when I saw The Islands at the End of the World on Edelweiss.

Now that I've actually reading it, I can sa
I've been scavenging my library in search of a YA novel set in modern Hawaii, rooted deeply in the culture with vivid imagery and interspersed with Pidgin (the local Hawaiian slang) to better familiarize myself with this Paradise Island and the people who are fortunate to call it home (call it a personal project, if you will). Thanks to the lovely Zoe for recommending this awesome book. I got exactly what I was looking for and so much more!

The Islands at the End of the World is intelligently an
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it. It was dystopian, but with some mysticism thrown in too. Reminded me a bit of Alif the Unseen, but without the romance. A meteor strikes creating a celestial anomaly (the “Green Orchid”), shutting down all electrical appliances, communications, and technology worldwide, stranding Leilani and her father on Oahu, away from their home on Hawaii. To survive and get home, they must revert to survival skills, alone and disconnected from the rest ...more
Melissa Colby
Jul 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dear Mr. Aslan,

You have fully succeeded in fulfilling the stereotype of a presumptuous mainlander who thinks they know Hawaii enough to write about it and have confirmed "Those who can't do, teach." Rarely do teachers make good writers. Stick to science. That's probably what you should have stuck to this whole book because you don't do Hawaiian culture, military culture, geography, or literature well. Your errors were glaring.

1. Kaneohe MCB does not take up most of the east side of Oahu. It is
Sep 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
"We're all werewolves under a green full moon."

Wow, what a huge disappointment.
I have to admit, this cover totally sold me on wanting to read this. THEN, add into realizing it's a apocalyptic event and YOU ARE STUCK ON A SMALL TOURIST HAWAIIAN ISLAND!! I mean, come on, this is the perfect set up for a nightmare situation! And it was really good. Horrific and crazy and just...I enjoyed the story until about....270 pages in

Now, through out the book, there are some hints that this is going to take
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Most people think of Hawaii as a holiday destination but for Leilani and her family it is home. Leaving the rest of the family on the Big Island, THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD opens with Leilani and her father travelling to Honolulu on the island of Oahu for medical treatment. Leilani has epilepsy and the specialist wants to try an experimental drug on the sixteen-year-old to try and bring her fits under better control. Not long after their arrival a global disaster strikes – power fails a ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fresh, exciting, and filled with the fiery legends and wonder of Hawaii...what a setting! Very impressed with Aslan's expert use of imagery, Leilani's character (I love a strong female lead), and the powerful relationship between father and daughter. A great story. I loved it! Can't wait for the next one! ...more
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: post-apoclyptic

Wow! To be completely honest, I sincerely did not know what to expect from author Austin Aslan's debut novel The Islands at the End of the World. But I am coming away sincerely impressed and slightly even terrified with this stunningly original debut.
Right before my eyes, my beautiful islands are changing forever. And so am I ...

To most people, it's a vacation spot. But to 16-year-old Leilani, a passionate surfer and epileptic, it's home. When Leilani and her father travel
Beth Cato
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love a good post-apocalyptic story. This one's a little different: it actually starts with the disaster and continues from there, and wow is the tension high. Aslan uses the setting of Hawaii to create a fantastic drama that's even profound because the human reactions are so plausible. Leilani and her father leave their home on the Big Island so she can begin a new experimental drug treatment for her epilepsy in Honolulu. The flight is no big deal--40 minutes. However, as soon as they arrive, ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm having trouble deciding on this book. On the one hand, I flew through it. It was immensely entertaining, and reminded me of Ashfall by Mike Mullins in a lot of ways. I also loved that it was a dad and his teenage daughter trying to survive, and there was no romance going on at all.

My issue was with the ending a bit. Things got a bit too incredible to believe for me...although it was an original, unique idea, and could happen...but a lot of it seemed too convenient, especially with the MC, he
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Islands At The End of the World is a truly remarkable debut novel. A powerful and harrowing tale of perseverance and the desperate search for safety and loved ones in a world rapidly falling apart.

Leilani is half-Hawaiian. She lives with her parents and younger brother on the Big Island of Hawaii, struggling to belong and not feel like an outsider. She's epileptic, and at the beginning of the story she travels with her dad to Oahu to undergo medical testing for her illness. That's when odd
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are so many end-of-the-world-post-apocalyptic-of-hell-the-world-has-gone-crazy books in YA and, while Austin Aslan’s The Islands at the End of the World doesn’t bring anything earth shatteringly new to the genre, it does offer a thrilling and unique story.

Leilani lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, but she and her dad travel to Oahu, where she will undergo tests for her epilepsy. While in Oahu, a mysterious light appears in the night sky and the world’s electronics fail. Cut off from the wo
Copied from the review I did of this book on the library's Teen Tumblr page:

I have to admit, even though they’ve basically saturated the market, I still can’t resist a good dystopian novel. Even better, a well done post-apocalyptic book. But possibly the BEST, and hardest to find — a great book about the apocalypse at its inception. I can’t resist reading about the BEGINNING of the end of the world.

So I was ridiculously happy to find this book: Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan. It
maryann ★
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-read
When the supercontinent of Gondwanaland was just breaking apart, the turtles would simply swim across a narrow strait, lay their eggs, and head back home. Over the next hundred-or-so million years, the continents drifted apart, about an inch a year. The turtles went about their business, doing what they used to, what their parents used to do, each generation unaware of the imperceptible change. Now they cross oceans. And they'll be here still, following their ancient paths, inch by new inch,
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I normally don't read books about the apocalypse, but this one sounded intriguing being set in Hawaii with a 16-year-old epileptic main character. I knew going into this one that it was going to be a unique read, but I definitely have never read a book as powerful, emotional, and desperate as The Islands at the End of the World.

16-year-old Leilani wants nothing more than a normal life, which is pretty hard to do as an epileptic half-white, half-hawaiin living on the big island of Hawaii. Leilan
Stephanie Ward
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
'The Islands at the End of the World' is a dynamic young adult dystopian novel about what would happen to people living on an island or islands - like Hawaii - if a global disaster struck. This is precisely what happens in the novel, and our main character Leilani and her father must revert to survival skills in order to return home to their family. It's a fascinating take on the apocalyptic/dystopian genre that makes you think about things in the world differently.

I have to start by saying that
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The market is glutted with post-apocalyptic stories told in first-person by plucky female protagonists. Divergent, Matched, Hunger Games... they all start to blend together, regardless of their individual merits.

But this one's different. It's not set in some strange future where society's reorganized itself by improbable rules, but in the present-day, as the world comes crashing down around young Leilani and her family in Hawaii. It has a strong sense of place, with vivid descriptions of the lus
Katherine Cowley
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am now afraid that the Apocalypse will happen when I'm Hawaii next month. Because seriously, Oahu is not the place to be. The most populous island in Hawaii, Oahu imports something like 90 or 95% of its food. So when the crisis comes, things won't look pretty.

I loved this book. I was not in the mood for an apocalyptic, dystopian novel, and I loved it anyways. A good sign for the writing.

What worked for me:

-Strong main character with weaknesses (epilepsy, among other things). Also, great father
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
With all the post-apocalyptic YA fiction out there, it's easy to overlook newer books of the same genre. I have to say that I am glad I didn't overlook this one! Really neat and creative premise, and it definitely capitalized on the fear and concentrated chaos that happens in the islands whenever a tsunami or hurricane threat approaches, making this story just that much more believable. I also really liked the heroine, and her progression as a character throughout the story.

One tiny thing that m
Wow, this book was a wild ride. I don't think I read it so much as inhaled it- it was a super fast read, and compelling. The characters are very well written, and the story is both beautiful and terrifyingly realistic (well, mostly). You have to be somewhat open-minded and comfortable with sci-fi to get through the plot twist in the latter half of the book, but it's well worth it. The overall scenario- loss of technology, resources, global catastrophe- is strikingly plausible, which makes this r ...more
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Could you survive in a world suddenly devoid of technology? Set in the luscious backdrop of the Hawaiian islands.
Tessa in Mid-Michigan
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
A few new ideas and a beautiful location serve to make this book a fair read. Not bad writing.
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
--- 4.5 stars ---

You know when you can spot a book that you know you'll love from a mile away? A book that just screams you?

That was definitely this book for me.

Let's just take a moment to see what Tags I gave this post: Dystopian, Hawaii, Mythology, Sci-Fi,  Survival Stories. 

Now, this might sound like a rather strange mix. (Now that I think about it, a similar mix of genres can be found in Jessica Khoury's Origin.) But I just couldn't love it more. *Squee!*

If I haven't been obvious enoug
Matt Ellsworth
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the developed world in the 21st century, the disasters we experience and imagine seem to fall into two categories: Mass assault, and collapse of the structures we have built to sustain our society. And despite the shock and pain inflicted by the former--the hijacker, the school shooter--it's the latter that seems to be more destructive to our communal sense of self.

For the people of New Orleans, the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina brought physical and emotional devastation; for the r
Kelly Sierra
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, arc
“The president’s voice is strong. ‘My fellow Americans, and my fellow citizens around the globe: I apologize for the deceptions of the past twenty-four hours. Well-intentioned advisors have counseled me to keep secret what we’ve recently learned. My conscience and my heart will not allow that. I have made the determination that you have a right to know about the extraordinary—”
The flat screen turns blue. A small text box bounces about the monitor: Weak or no signal.”
Leilani is your typical teen
I really enjoyed this story. I haven't read very many dystopian/apocalyptic thrillers (um, maybe just The Hunger Games), so I haven't much experience with the genre, but this seemed to be fresh, original, and unique. And if you're looking for diversity in YA, this is a book for you.

I think my favorite part of the book is Leilani and her father. It seems that most parent-child relationships in books are negative, but Lei and her dad have a very positive and loving relationship. They rescue and s
Rafael De
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Islands at the End of the World
Review by Rafael de Grenade

In this deeply perceptive, extraordinary, and exquisitely written survival story, Leilani and her father navigate the chaos of the apocalypse to reach their home island. The novel balances science and imagination and reaches into the depths of Hawaiian culture and symbology with reverence while astutely recognizing the complexities of the modern world, its advances, and its failures. This book is at once thrilling, honest, heartbreaki
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Austin Aslan's debut novel, The Islands at the End of the World, was named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews. It was ranked by The Guardian as a top-ten climate fiction read, and is listed by BookRiot as a top 100 must-read book in the category of young adult science fiction. His latest novel from HarperCollins, TURBO Racers: Trailblazer, will hit bookstores on January 1, 2019.

Austin earned a

Other books in the series

Islands at the End of the World (2 books)
  • The Girl at the Center of the World (Islands at the End of the World, #2)

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