C.L. Taylor is an award winning Sunday Times bestselling author of nine gripping psychological thrillers including SLEEP, a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for autumn 2019. Her books are not a series and can be read in any order:
2014 - THE ACCIDENT / Before I Wake (U.S.) 2015 - THE LIE 2016 - THE MISSING 2017 - THE ESCAPE 2018 - THE FEAR 2019 - SLEEP 2020 - STRANGERS 2021 - HER LAST HOLIDAY 2022 - THE GUILTY COUPLE
She has also written two Young Adult thrillers, THE TREATMENT and THE ISLAND.
C.L. Taylor's books have sold in excess of a million copies, been number one on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play and have been translated into over 25 languages and optioned for TV.
Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014. She lives in Bristol with her partner and son.
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Cross Survivor with One of Us is Lying, throw in some Lord of the Flies, and you have The Island.
Jessie, Danny, Honor, Milo, Meg, and Jeffers have been friends since birth. Their parents met in antenatal class and the families have vacationed together every year since. Now that the teens are seventeen, Jeffers father has arranged a special treat for them – nine days on an uninhabited tropical island off the coast of Thailand learning bush craft survival skills – just the six of them and an expert guide.
Sitting around the campfire their first night they decide to share their phobias.
The next morning their guide drops dead of a stroke.
Then they discover the starter chord of their speed boat has been sabotaged.
And when Milo falls into a booby-trapped hole, and is almost bitten by a deadly snake (his phobia is snakes) the group realise they are not alone on the island, and that someone is using their worst fears to scare them to death.
The Island was an intense, fast-paced read full of excitement and danger. The characters were given thorough backstories and childhood memories, distinct personalities, and the group dynamics were clearly defined. Secrets, grief, loyalty, friendship, paranoia, resentment, mental illness and obsession were the prominent themes. The conclusion, and explanation, were very different to what I was expecting, but I was completely on board with the direction the plot went in.
As an adult reader the juvenile behaviour of the six did at times get on my nerves. One of the teens tried to swim to shore even though it was an hour-long boat trip? And instead of focusing on getting off the island the teens decided to get drunk despite being low on food rations, and even when their lives were threatened tended to focus on their love life, squabbling, and blaming each other. I'm not saying this isn't how teens would act in this situation, in fact they likely would, but teenagers gone awry grew somewhat tedious.
C.L. Taylor excelled at writing teen viewpoints, which I'm not surprised by as her adult novels often feature young people. The Island had me emotionally invested in the lives and wellbeing of these six seventeen-year-olds. I'm looking forward to reading her previous YA installment – The Treatment.
I'd like to thank Netgalley, HQ, and C.L. Taylor for the e-ARC.
Six teenagers go on holiday to Thailand with their family’s as they have done all their lives as their parents stayed friends after meeting at antenatal class. The six get a Bear Grylls survival type experience on a deserted island. What could possibly go wrong?
This is a good YA novel which addresses a number of pertinent issues which teachers and parents could use to generate discussions around worrying problems for the young. It raises mental health concerns , dealing with grief, loss and phobias and does so very creatively and gives a positive message. The author also examines group dynamics which fluctuate as the problems of the teens on the island mount and I find this aspect especially fascinating. A number of problems arise on the island, some of which are very serious with the strain and panic of being trapped and marooned being well depicted. The jungle atmosphere is effectively used to create fear and tension which further tests the bounds of friendship. There are a number of mysteries and dangers to solve which is intriguing and becomes scary as you realise that someone is manipulating the group but you have no idea why.
My only reservations lies in the number of characters to get your head around although this does become easier the further you progress through the plot. I also think the end sort of fizzles out and is maybe a bit convenient.
However, overall I think C L Taylor has done a good job with this novel as I am sure it will engage and interest older teens and it’s a good adult read too. It’s well written and has a good pace.
Thanks to NetGalley and HQ YA for the arc for an honest review.
Five teens have been friends since birth but the nature of their relationships have shifted with the tides of adolescence. Friendships have deepened for some, fractured for others, or become irreversibly distanced after becoming scarred by tragedy and grief, like for Jessie. Despite all this, their families still expect them to venture on one holiday a year together. Whilst the adults sit poolside with cocktails on hand, their children are sent to a nearby island for some survival and strategy fun. But what started out as excitement for some and a bore for others, soon turns into a nightmare none will ever forget. Who will they be and how will their relationships alter, if they ever make it off the island alive?
I was only a handful of pages into this when I knew it would become a one-sitting read. The intrigue started out high and remained so throughout the entire book. There were multiple mysteries to uncover and I had shifting theories form and fetter out on every other chapter.
Despite this interest, I still found myself longing for something more from the text. The relationship drama was a consistent focus, as were the many mysteries, but the lush setting was only depicted in the most broadest of strokes. It was enough to garner an understanding of their environs but not to really feel myself a stranded participant and form an emotional response to the teens' shared fate.
I also found a few of the events peaked or concluded in a very short span of paragraphs and whilst this ensured the tension was always at an all-time high, this also heightened my distanced emotions, as I never could truly internalise the horror or fear these situations demanded.
Despite some aspects of this not entirely working for me, I can say that I had a very fun evening consuming this. If you are looking for some high-drama contemporary or a high-octane thriller then this would a great book to pick up.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, C.L. Taylor, and the publisher, HQ, for this opportunity.
Well that was entertaining and is going to be popular in the library!
I love a good survival story. Add elements of a psychological thriller in there and I'm totally there for it. The concept was very good and Cally cast enough doubt that the target audience will enjoy putting the pieces together. I didn't personally enjoy the protracted ending where everything was explained and "made okay", however, I think given the content it was an important and safe way to end this for young adult readers. An enjoyable book!
Apparently this book is young adult reading which might explain why I didn’t love it. I don’t read YA except accidentally like now.
A group of six friends, all about 17 years old, are to spend a week on a private Thai island, their only companion the old Thai guide who instructs them on survival techniques. The six friends - Jessie, Danny, Honor, Jefferson (Jeffers), Meg and Milo (twins) have known each other since their mothers met at an infant playgroup. Jeffers dad, who is very wealthy, arranged the trip as a birthday present for his son who is a keen survivalist/prepper wannabe. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot as it turns out.
The only problem is, I couldn’t really buy into this story. On the second day their guide, Anuman, drops dead from a suspected stroke. They take his body to the boat and plan to cut their stay short but when they get to the boat the see the starter cord has been cut. There is no way to start the boat. I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of their faulty decision making but suffice it to say they will have to stay on the island until the parents send another boat when they don’t return as planned. There is plenty of food and water so they should be fine. But the underlying tensions and fears of the group members make this so much harder than it needed to be.
Danny and Honor have been together for a couple of years but he is unknowingly pushing her away with his controlling and clingy behaviour. Some members of the group are also convinced their individual phobias are being played out and that there must be someone else on the island. The alternative, that one of their own is doing all this is unthinkable. This suspicion is only confirmed when two young men come to the island and wreak havoc.
Not much of the story seemed plausible to me, least of all the parents of 6 teenagers allowing them, no facilitating them, to spend a week alone on an island with no way of contacting them. And I know I’m the first person to defend implausibility in fiction, but - the implausibility has to be plausible and that’s where I had a problem. The action seemed overly melodramatic and there was so much aimless running through the jungle and swimming around the island it was, well, boring.
The ending was about the only part of the story that made sense and that enables me to give the book 3 stars instead of 2. This was another library e-book.
I am a big fan of C L Taylor’s books and this action packed adventure was fantastic and I read it in a day. This is her second YA book and it is as twisty and fun as her psychological thrillers.
6 teenagers who have known each other since birth.... their parents meeting at mothers group. They have all grown up together and every year the families go away on a holiday. This year it is Thailand, and the teenagers are spending a week on a remote, jungle of an island with a guide in a survivor style challenge. No wifi, no photos and hunting for their own food. But early in, somebody dies, answer they find themselves truly on their own and running for their lives. I started there somebody else on the island or is it one of their own?
Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read.
Review Take your phobia or phobias. Scares you right? Mix them with being on an island with a guide that is now dead, just a group of your friends. And then.....things happen one by one that bring out your individual phobias. Then there’s these guys.
It’s a YA read but can be for any age, it certainly has its scary moments that you bite your nails over.
Great portrayal of characters, young adults with kicking in hormones, great read!
My one down disappointment in the book was a portrayal of mental health excuse. That will make sense to you when you read it.
It stood out to me because my husband lives with bi polar and I’ve been around psychosis in unwell people for over 30 years. So it hit home to me in a bit of a negative way.
A group of childhood friends head to an uninhabited island off the coast of Thailand for their annual holiday. It is going to be a fun but challenging trip, as they are going to put their survival skills to test. What they cannot foresee is their tour guide dying. What they do not expect is sailing into a nightmare.
**Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review; published 3 February 2021**
Seven days. Six teenagers. One deadly secret. Who will escape... It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island. But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime turns into a nightmare. Because someone on this island knows each of the group's worst fears. And one by one, they're becoming a reality.
I enjoyed this suspense thriller young adult novel. I haven't read any of this author's previous books but have seen that they receive in general positive reviews. I think this would be a great introduction to the thriller genre for young adults: it definitely had suspense and dramatic events, but it was not gory and violent. Adult readers who like their thrillers 'clean' would also likely appreciate this one. I thought the character's fears and emotions were written well, particularly in the context of 17 year olds. I would have liked to have had all the character's perspectives rather than alternating between just two of them. I personally saw the end coming but I read loads of thrillers so I don't think all readers will be able to predict it. Overall: an enjoyable young adult thriller novel that is easy to read and fairly 'clean' despite all the dark drama.
The Island is as promised have that aspect of Hunger Game. Sadly Miss Taylor writing is choppy. Good thing she can maintain the suspense aspect between the character's POV. The Island has a good start. Imagining myself getting lost or stranded in the island where something is hunting you, is pretty scarry. Especially I am not a outdoor person myself.
I think this book is intended for YA audience. There is lack of more serious/ complicated plot. More like straight forward suspense. The audio book narrators done a great job narrating each of the characters. There are many aspect that stolen from Hunger Game.
MY REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! When I saw The Island when I was browsing online, I was immediately drawn to it! I found the book to be good overall, although there were some parts that were a bit slow for me personally. The ending when I found out the twist was interesting. I think it was great to see PTSD rep in this book and how it affected the character involved. I also really loved the open discussion of going to see a therapist and what that looks like for different characters. A strong book overall and would definitely recommend picking it up :)
A group of six families go on holiday with each other every year. This year they are in Thailand and six of the teenagers go with a guide on an adventure to a private Island for a week. They are not happy that they have look after themselves and when they loose their guide things start to get harder. Strange things start to happen and they begin to suspect each other but they are stuck on the Island with no way of getting help. A real page turner with a twist. Thank you to NetGalley for HQ my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn’t in the target demographic and felt it. The premise was great: spoiled rich kids on a private island in Thailand for some adventure. The first night there, they all tell of each other’s phobias. Then their guide dies and the phobias start to come true.
The atmosphere was a bit off. Finding fruit in a jungle isn’t easy. I grew up in Thailand and I have never seen a wild mango tree. Papayas and bananas would grow were there were people. Coconuts, the most common “find anywhere in any season” in Thailand fruit are not easy to get to unless you have practice or you’re a gibbon. Not even I, who was the quite a monkey and climbed anything I could get up, ever got close to harvesting a coconut. Then it was dry, in addition to mangoes. Well, mangoes and dry season aren’t a match. They ripen in time for the start of monsoon season.
Yes yes, I should have known better than to pick this up! If you’re fifteen don’t let me deter you, you’ll probably like it.
Somewhere between ‘Lost’ and ‘Lord of the Flies’ but with a preppy feel of the ‘Truly Devious’.
6 teens who’ve known to each other since baby & toddler group, now they find them selves celebrating an 18th birthday on a private island with guide Anuman. Day 2 throws a twist and said guide is dead...
In a series of events where the young people doubt one another, exacerbate phobias and fears; ultimately think each is capable of any manner of trick or torture.
I found it difficult to connect with the characterisations and there was far more gothic potential with the setting.
A tense and terrifying tale. can you imagine being trapped on an island with six of your “friends“? No way to get off the island, no way to communicate with the outside world, and someone is up to no good. Who is making these teens phobias come true? Is there a stranger on the island, and if so how do they know the friends deepest fears? this is what happens when paradise becomes a nightmare.
What a book! I was so caught up in this addictive story I listened to the audio well past my bedtime. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of two of the teens, Jesse and Dani. C. L. Taylor did a great job of apprising the reader of each of these characters backstories. It was nice with such a large cast of characters to never be confused as to who was who. I was suspicious of each character at one time or another. My focus seriously shifted from chapter to chapter as more and more was revealed. The audiobook was narrated by Olivia Dowd and Sam Newton I think they both did a wonderful job of giving Dani and Jesse a voice. I also always appreciate when a story told from multiple perspectives is also narrated by multiple narrators. this was a well done young adult thriller that will appeal to readers/listeners of all ages!
this book in emojis 🏕 🏝 🐍 🕷 🛥 🥥
*** Big thank you to Harper Audio UK for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
This is certainly no story like the Famous Five. Here, in Thailand, six teenagers are having to survive on a remote island with no chance of rescue until a week has passed because one of the parents has “booked” the island for a week’s stay. There’s no chance of ginger beer, a picnic or a mystery to solve as the group worry for their own safety.
A young adult thriller, I think this will appeal to teenagers and older readers alike. It’s a gripping story that moves at a quick pace. From both Jessie and Danny’s perspectives, I like how this narrative split provides a different insight into the group dynamics. Jessie and Danny have very different experiences on the island; whilst both characters have varied close attachments within the group, Jessie is undoubtedly affected by the recent death of her brother. Taylor does not go into detail with this information until far later in the novel, leading readers to anticipate what really happened to Jessie and her brother.
Taylor addresses the issue of mental health in this book, most specifically towards the end. I think this is so important, particularly with the increased awareness in society today. It demonstrates how anyone can be suffering silently and this ties in with the how the characters are being targeted by their own phobias. What begins as a spur-of-the-moment discussion by the fireside on the beach ultimately comes to haunt them – a bit like the despair that follows several of the characters.
I had many theories about what was driving this story forwards, but Taylor surprised me right until the end! It is not a complicated plot and, being set on a deserted island with just six characters means that there are not too many distractions. In other words, the character list is quite small and once you have got their identities confirmed in your head, you can simply sit back and enjoy the narrative unfolding. On this basis, I think this story would certainly appeal to young adult readers, particularly those who are more reluctant towards reading. The opening captures your attention immediately and this is the theme for the rest of the story.
I liked the escapism that this book provided and enjoyed the concept of being on holiday in Thailand! However, with these phobias coming true for the characters, I don’t think this is a place I would visit in a hurry – my fears are far too numerous!
With thanks to HQ Digital and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Jeffers, Danny, Honor, Jessie, Meg and Milo have been friends’ all their life. Their friendship is driven from their parents who meet in antenatal class and the families have kept up with their annual group holiday since.
Celebrating Jeffers 17th birthday his dad surprises him with a week away with his friends to a remote tropical Island off the coast of Thailand. They will have a guide with them whilst they learn survival wilderness skills. This year the parents will stay behind on the mainland….. it was supposed to be the perfect holiday.
On arrival at the island, Anuman their guide enlists them to help build a shelter and gather wood, water and food for camp. From the onset its clear there are fractures within the friendship group. That night sitting around the campfire, the friends share their worst fears.
The following morning the teenagers wake to their guide Anuman has died of a stroke leaving them stranded. To throw a spanner in the mix, the starter chord of their speed boat has been tampered with.
Things get intense and super creepy from here…..
Honor wakes to Danny disturbing her whilst she is trying to sleep, he keeps swatting something away on her back, legs her arms. She’s furious and demands to know what he’s doing. He finally tells her she was covered in tarantulas; he was swatting them away. She screams (Honors’ worst fear is spiders). It’s clear they are not alone on the island, as more fears come true they realise someone is using their worst fears to frighten them.
This book had me hooked, I was invested in the characters I wanted to know who was tormenting them and I was rooting for them all to get out alive. It’s a strong character driven novel, exploring friendships, mental health, grief, obsession and control. This is a young adult book, some for the teenage “dramatics” and antics in the book were frustrating at times but it didn’t take away from my investment and caring for the characters.
The ending was very unexpected but very refreshing the direction it went in. My first YA novel from CL Taylor and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Thank you to Harlequin Australia and CL Taylor for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book is pitched as Lost meets the Hunger Games. Six childhood friends went on a private island with a guide, it was supposed to be a fun trip. But they got stuck there for 7 days. Survival is hard but things started to fall apart when their phobias started to come true.
I was really excited to read it. The first sentence of the book totally hooked me and I really liked the first 100 pages, little flashbacks from the past make it easy to understand the background of their friendships. The story is told in only Danny and Jessie’s POV and there was one odd chapter from Honor’s POV which was so unnecessary. If there are 6 main characters then I’ll preferer to read everyone’s POV.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like any of the characters, Jessie was so one-dimension, Danny was so over caring and fake, Honor was annoying and kept crying all the time, Milo and Meg are side characters who are wrapped in the packaging of main characters and the 6th guy (can’t remember his name) was so I, ME and MYSELF.
The plot got so bland and one-dimensional after 80-100 pages, couldn’t relate to any characters so I didn’t care when all the things happened with them. The twists and turns didn’t intrigue me. The ending was flat and hurried to me.
Jack and Josh part was so forced, who tries to kiss a stranger girl in public. I couldn’t digest them, they were literally shouting that we are filler characters.
The addictive Young Adult thriller sticker thing on the book… it is a TRAP.
The Island is a perfectly fine YA mystery/thriller. I've appreciated the change of the scenery, since we are following a group of teenagers, alone, on an island in Thailand. I like small town mysteries as much as the next person, but by now we've seen lots of variations of that, so I appreciated the extra effort. Would recommend to anybody that's looking for an easy to read, gripping YA mystery.
CL Taylor is one of my all time favourite authors, and I have read all her thriller work, including her first YA novel The Treatment - which I loved.
When The Island came up for request on NetGalley I was straight on it, and so happy to be accepted for it.
The story follows a group of 6 teenagers who have been linked since birth, as their parents attended the same baby group. They have therefore all grown up around each other, doing things together and going on holidays together etc. This year they are all going to Thailand, and they are going to be facing a stranded/survivalist kind of trip.
Some of the group are thrilled, some not so much, but it all changes when things start to go wrong. And that is where the story really begins.
I enjoyed reading this one. However, I would say it is probably my least favourite of Taylor's books so far.... but don't take that the wrong way - it doesn't mean a lot because they are all fantastic, so they are hard to beat! :) I'm not a massive fan of YA but I enjoyed The Treatment so much that I was really anxious to read this one, and I'm glad I did.
So many things are explored in this book - teenage angst, relationship struggles, mental health, death etc - and they are explored well. I can tell Taylor has done her homework and the writing was as polished as ever. I got Lord of the Flies vibes, perhaps some Lost and Castaway vibes too - I mean they were stranded on an island! :)
Overall a good book, especially for teenagers - its market audience - but adults will enjoy this too.
A fun, mess with your mind, mystery, set on a tropical island. A bunch of teenagers all alone, there is a death in the first couple of pages and then we are off. Lots of unreliable narrators, teens messing with other teens minds. Danger in the jungle and nasty thugs bent on revenge. It isn't Lord of the Flies but it has a similar setting. Can these kids make it? Will they be broken by the environment of the island or by each other.
Lots of action, plenty of relationship drama and I imagine it'll be a huge hit in schools.
This book reminded me completely of the series on Amazon Prime – The Wilds. 6 teenagers stranded on an island when their survivor specialist guide had a stroke and fell dead. Then came the sabotage of their boat, followed by each of them facing their fears. Would they get off the island alive? And how many would survive?
YA thriller debut by author C. L. Taylor, it was quite a journey of fun to read from the safety of my home. I used to love the Bear Grylls survivor episodes, and some parts of it reminded me of that. But the most intriguing was the group dynamics and their ebb and flow of emotions. The author managed to keep me hooked on the minds of these teenagers.
I was quite intrigued by one of them, Jessie, who had gone through her trials by the fire with guilt being her only witness and scars being her proof. Something in her called to me and I was on her side, hoping she would leave the island without more scars. Facing the phobia, or having their phobia bite and hiss at them made me realize that there was something more at play. Or should I say, someone else on the island.
As their problems increased, my interest in them raised too as the teens and their friendship was sorely tested. Too many characters, in the beginning, had me a bit muddled, but soon got used to them. The relationship angst between some of them got to be a bit tiresome.
Barring the relationship drama, I felt this made a good listening at 1.5x speed with narrators doing a bang-on job, giving me the right intonations. Overall, it was fast-paced and gripping, where each chapter brought its own suspense.
This was fantastic! I listened to the audiobook of this title and it was extremely well executed. All the characters' personalities were distinct and memorable, and the plot was non-stop! Kept me engaged the entire time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. C L Taylor is definitely a favourite author of mine and doesn't disappoint! The narrators of the audiobook were brilliant, and captured the drama of the story perfectly. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my ARC.
"Life would be so much easier if I were a psychopath."
I have one word: EPIRB. And some more words: some are activated by water, so throwing it in the ocean would set it off.
This is hilariously over the top and I was as terrified as the six kids. The reveal of who was doing everything was clever. The red herrings (sharks?) were served by the shoal.
Anytime someone got in the water,
It would make a great movie.
Meanwhile, a body in a tropical environment would be well on its way to putrefaction after one day, let alone seven. The stink might have already made it to the mainland and the flies would be at plague proportions. The kids wouldn't have been able to camp on the same beach as the boat. Covering the body would make no difference.