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Echo Island

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  58 reviews
When four recent high school graduates return home from a weekend of camping, they expect to go back to life as usual. Instead, the boys discover empty streets, abandoned cars, and utter silence—everyone has disappeared. 

As the friends attempt to solve the mystery, they stumble upon more questions than answers. Why won’t the electronics work? Where did the wind go? What d
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 20th 2020 by B Kids
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Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  178 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Shawna (SugoiShawn/SugoiReads)
Thank you to NetGalley for letting me review an advanced readers copy of this book.

The idea of this book was very interesting and it pitched itself as somewhat of an apocalyptic story. However, it drastically changed to a whole different type of story that’s hard to even explain.

This book had one of the biggest plot twists I’ve ever read that made me question everything, but immediately after that plot twist, everything became a confusing mess and I had a hard time understanding what exactly wa
It's difficult to review this book. For the first half or more, I understood what was happening and saw the reveal coming. After we find out why the island is abandoned, the story became strange and I didn't know what was going on. I think there are some references to God being the writer of your story, but I wasn't sure what the point of the island was. To redeem yourself? To decide what kind of person you are and where you'll go from there?

There was no character development, we saw surface th
Darryl Dash
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I appreciate all of Jared's writing. This is the first fiction book of his I've read, and I liked it. I couldn't put it down, and the ending was profound. ...more
Wes Van Fleet
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
C.S. Lewis wrote a remix of Stranger Things.

Honestly though, great book. Wilson does a great job with his first fiction book. It’s a page-turner the whole way through. For fans of C.S. Lewis, you will like the way Wilson puts his writings to work in this book. It’s a fun story that doesn’t take all the turns you might expect. Great read!
Jonathan Josey
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I rarely read fiction. But both of Jared’s fiction books have been excellent. He is a wonderful story-teller. I was able to finish this book in 48 hours, and that is rare for me. Stories are meant to be told like this. I hope he writes more.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This book for me was surprisingly well done. I say “surprisingly” only because for some reason I had initially pegged it as a Frank Peretti knockoff, and it is far more intellectually and classically developed than that genre, while remaining no less evangelically relevant. It has a couple of very interesting twists in it, including a rather mind-bending implicit thought challenge for the reader which I have never encountered in a novel before. If there was no category for Reformed philosophical ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Echo Island is about four boys who go to the mainland for a camping trip and return to their island home to find that all residents, including animals, have vanished. The power is out, electronics aren't working... even the wind is gone. They search the island for clues but don't find anything to explain why their world has been turned upside-down.

I'm not really sure where to start with this one, so I'l
Syeda Sumayya Tariq
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, net-galley
Four high school boys return home to their Island from a camping trip only to find out that everyone on the island has disappeared, not even animals remain, or even air. Now, it is up to the four friends to find out the mystery behind it all. But is it something that can be solved? Or is it something far beyond even their wildest imaginations.

Oof, this is something so unlike I’ve ever read before, after Alice’s adventures in Wonderland that is. It comes halfway through but the ideas and the writ
Jul 31, 2020 rated it liked it
This storyline is a little bit out there, but I thought it was memorable. It's a creepy plot, where 4 high school kids go camping off the coast of Washington state, and when they return to the island in which they live, all other people have disappeared.

The author does a great job of helping the reader picture the creepy setting of the story. While the plot becomes a bit fantastical, I could get behind it- it was a unique concept and easy to follow if you are willing to suspend your disbelief.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I appreciate Jared C. Wilson as a theologian/writer so much, and thought this fiction was well-done. Knowing it is inspired by some of CS Lewis’s writing and mythos is helpful to understanding it. If you try to make it sci fi, or dystopian fiction, or even stereotypical Christian bookstore fiction, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Read it like you would read The Great Divorce and it makes much more sense.

My main criticism is that plot twists are just hard to do well. You really have to
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm always hesitant when non-fiction writers decide to write fiction, especially theologians ha! (Well, I guess Wilson had already written Otherworld but I had not heard of it until after reading this one.) I was overall impressed with the book. I read it alongside several others as part of a book club- half of them being high school boys. Considering their interest and takeaways from the book I would say it hit the nail on the head as a YA book.

It was thought-provoking and suspenseful. The des
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jesse-s-read
My son already read this. While he manages to find plenty of words to share his excitement about some things, he seems to be more reticent about the books he reads. But he devoured Echo Island in a day and I think he's already re-reading it.

When I asked him how he liked it he just shrugged and smiled. That means he liked it a lot. When I asked how he would rate it with stars, he said it's a solid 4 star.

It's in my TBR queue.
Joshua Madl
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is the first fiction book I’ve read in about a year and a half. It was good to get back into it. Jared Wilson is a great writer and gives me CS Lewis vibes with the way he puts you in the story.
Michael Bertrand
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read the entire novel over the course of an evening and a morning. I invested maybe four hours; it's a quick read.

The plot follows four boys (Jason, Archer, Bradley and Tim) as they search for the cause of a mysterious disappearance. The boys live on Echo Island, a mid sized piece of land home to five thousand people in the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Washington State. They return from a camping trip to find that everyone is gone and that no electrical devices work, no matter their po
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this in two sittings, and was surprised, intrigued and encouraged. Enough twists that I had to go back a few times to see what led up to the twists. I was intrigued enough to look up names and places several times. I was encouraged because an evangelical Christian unapologetically wrote a book full of mythology, and did it well! I’ve read everything Wilson has written and I can’t wait now for not only his nonfiction, but more fiction offerings!
Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it

Thanks to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The plot of Echo Island starts from premises already widely used: 4 boys come home after a weekend camping but, on the way back, they find the island completely empty. There’s no sign of life on the island and every electronic device doesn’t work, from cars to flashlights.
As atmosphere Echo Island reminded me a little the TV series The Society, both for the beginning (the protagonists move away and when they retu

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I was eager to check out Jared C. Wilson’s novel Echo Island without much knowledge of the author and the book. All I knew is the description sounded interesting. So I dug right in.

At first glance I was really intrigued and need more information instantly. I had to understand what was coming. I will say I had an inkling early on what was real
“The four boys went camping in the state park on the mainland the weekend after their high school graduation, eating firecooked meals and playing cards and goofing off, assuming the entire time that the town of Echo Island would still be there when they returned.”

“If this isn’t heaven or hell—and it sure isn’t Echo Island—where are we?”

“Town vanishes. Game over. The end.”

This was admittedly a frustrating read. So much of it was very compelling, edge of your seat. The characters were fairly well
Becky B
Four high school friends have been on their last camping trip together before they all go separate ways for college. They return to their island home from the mainland to find it completely deserted. Nothing electrical works. And the boys are scrambling to figure out what happened to everyone while they were gone and what would cause even battery powered things to no longer work.

About 2/3 of the way through this book the boys find something significant and it really changes the tone of the story
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it

That was pretty much my reaction when I finished this book. The first 75% or so of this book was really good - full of mystery and intrigue with a really creepy atmosphere. I didn’t figure out the twist at all (mostly because I had totally forgotten about something that happened in the beginning), and I was glued to the pages trying to figure out what was going on.

And then we find out what’s happening and it’s a good twist, but I saw there was still at least 25% of the book left and I cou
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Review time! Echo Island by Jared C. Wilson.

Echo Island follows 4 young boys when they return from a camping trip to find their hometown empty of it's people and it's energy.

This book gets into the action immediately. Straight away it gives off creepy vibes, there's an air of fear and apprehension from the first page.

I did find that at times it was a bit dialogue heavy at times, and lagged slightly in the middle. I felt the end got a bit muddled and confusing however I still enjoyed the book.

Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book took me a little bit to really get into and or invested in. Once I did it moved along pretty quickly. I think upper middle school/high school students would enjoy this book.

I was surprised to learn what had actually happen to these kids and remembering what happened right at the beginning that should have been clues.

There really isn’t any God in this book, except a quick mention of Him and wondering if He is behind what is going on. This book is really more of an allegory inspired from
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 7-8-and-9
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Echo Island in exchange for an honest review.

I can't quite describe why Echo Island didn't work for me, so this is going to be a very short review. I just couldn't get into the narrative structure. I've reread bits and pieces to try and figure out why that was but there's nothing inherently wrong with it, it just wasn't for me.

The plot was unique and definitely did not go the route I thought I was going to which was pretty cool. If I liked the nar
Echo Island is a book about four boys who go camping on the mainland, and when they come home, everyone has disappeared and they find themselves in the middle of a mystery.

I didn’t enjoy this one nearly as much as I thought I was going to. I figured out the ‘twist’ right away and was able to keep reading for a while, but at somewhere between the 50-75% mark everything just started unraveling and making very little sense, as opposed to wrapping up. I didn’t enjoy it, and I feel let down because
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think I’m giving this five stars partly because my expectations were pretty low. I’ve enjoyed other non-fiction works by Wilson; just didn’t expect much from his first stab at fiction. But I literally couldn’t put this down. So I’m going all in with the five stars.

And while the ending is certainly far from orthodox, I loved what he is trying to communicate regarding the interchange between sovereignty and “free will”. The book is entertaining for sure. The philosophical significance is just an
Austin Fry
Nov 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I really really wanted to like this book. I’ve found Jared’s books transformative in my life (Especially Imperfect Disciple) and I was hoping this would have a similar effect but by a different road (CS Lewis-esque). I was intrigued when the book started down the underworld/purgatory/afterlife route but it took a confusing turn which left me asking the same question over and over, “What’s the point of this?” I kept waiting for some resolution to that question while also wondering, “Maybe I’m jus ...more
Phil Wade
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When four diverse, high school friends return from a camping trip, they find everyone in their home town gone. All people, animals, and almost every sound are gone.

They don’t notice all of that at first. They notice their families missing; neighbors absent from public areas. Cars parked at churches and buildings without anyone inside. The power is out, even batteries are dead. And there isn’t a sound of any part of natural life, except the lapping of waves at the shore.

More at
Tre Wiggins
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
An interesting read. Dialogue was mostly good and there were some genuinely suspenseful parts. A couple of times I thought, "Can't wait to get to the next part so I can find out what happens." Other times, I didn't love simultaneously following 4 different perspectives (although it isn't that way for the entirety of the book). I also found some of the explanation of what was happening to be a bit muddied and somewhat confusing at times. Perhaps the biggest teller is, I would read another novel b ...more
Jeff Short
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
When I first head that @JaredCWilson was writing a Christian romance novel called "Echo Canyon," or something, I was simultaneously intrigued and skeptical. Wilson has writing chops, but how would the excellent gospelly writing he does translate to fiction? I can attest after having read the whole thing, this isn't a Christian romance novel, nor any other kind of romance novel at all. Rather, it is a great story told well. If you're familiar with some of the stories and writers that have inspire ...more
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Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Managing Editor of For The Church (, and Director of the Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of numerous books, including "Gospel Wakefulness," "The Prodigal Church," and, most recently, "The Imperfect Disciple." Wilson blogs regularly at ...more

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