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The Other Side of the Island

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  4,701 ratings  ·  583 reviews
Earth Mother is always watching... And one brave girl is about to find out why. From New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman comes a post apocalyptic novel about love, loss, and the power of human choice.

Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life is peaceful there, the color of the sky is regulated by Earth Mother,
Paperback, 280 pages
Published May 14th 2009 by Razorbill (first published September 4th 2008)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  4,701 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The first half of this book felt really, really slow. There's a lot of setup, and not just the world building, which is pretty strong. Goodman does a good job of building a society with very strict rules that are fairly easy to follow. Building it around the threat of global warming grounded it in reality enough to be at least somewhat believable. The first half is basically about the main character, Honor, adjusting to a very controlling totalitarian environment. It was a little annoying to me ...more
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chandra, Abigail, Ann, Kathryn
What if society as we knew it ended through a series of natural disasters? And a woman (who resembles the classic cookie-baking grandmother) rose up to organize those left in the wake of a ruined world and created a new order? One where the skies and earth are regulated so that bad weather and catastrophe is nonexistent? Where there is no such thing as disorder?

This is the world the author creates for Honor Greenspoon- ten years old when the book starts, fourteen when it ends. We don't know the
Sep 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goodman, Allegra. 2008. The Other Side of the Island.

First paragraph chapter one: All this happened many years ago, before the streets were air-conditioned. Children played outside then, and in many places the sky was naturally blue. A girl moved to a town house in the Colonies on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea.

Back cover: About this island, Honor knows this much is true: Enclosure means safe and secure. Different is dangerous. Disappear means no one here. And Earth Mother is always watching.

Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 21st-century
I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. The plot was really good but the character development just wasn’t there. It felt like all of the characters were the same person with different names and there was no character growth. Honor as a 10-year-old was the same as Honor as a 14-year-old.

One aspect of the book that I did find really interesting was the conundrum that Honor’s parents were in. They, being revolutionaries, were having difficulty coming to terms with letting their ch
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read so many dystopian novels it is good to know that some books can still capture my attention ,this one did . Although the classic elements of a dystopian novel are present ,The Other Side of the Island combines them in a really interesting way.

The main character Honor a.k.a Heloise is both lovable and annoying .She doesn't question what she should and accepts what she shouldn't ,she makes wrong choices and has mixed feelings about her family.But she learns, she gradually sees thi
Wow! This book was amazing amazing amazing! I’ve read other books like this before—with other worlds and over governments—but this was by far the best one yet! I read it in almost one sitting. It was so captivating and interesting! Honor and her parents live on an island under the watch of Earth Mother and her many rules, but Honor’s family doesn’t follow most of those rules. They have an illegal second child, stay out past curfew, and even Honor’s name, in which the H is silent, doesn’t seem ap ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started off quite promising, but ended with far more sputter than luster.
When I noticed I was 3/4ths of the way done, I had no idea how this was going to be wrapped up. I really should not have worried, as it simply was not. It ended on essentially a cliffhanger, but unlike nearly every other YA book needing to be a trilogy, Goodman writes at the end, in an author's notes section that she likes ambiguity, ending with more questions than answers. To this I say "hmmm" and "phfft".
To me this i
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was actually way better than I thought it would be. The writing and story captured my attention until the end, and all I wanted was to learn what happened at the end.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such A GREAT book I highly recommend it. Its kind of slow in the beginning but once you get to about half way of the book it gets really good
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The alt-text for two stars here on Goodreads says that a ranking of two stars means "it was ok," and that sums up my feelings about The Other Side of the Island. It's certainly not a bad book, not even a bad contribution to environmental-disaster-dystopian fiction for young adults, but "okay" is about the most enthusiasm I can muster, considering the questions I was left with and overall lack of excitement throughout the book.

There are some good subtle touches in the book - I like how references
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the floods, Earth Mother created sheltered environments on the islands that remained. Honor’s family is relocated to Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. The island has been enclosed with a barrier that is supposed to protect against wind and rain. The light is placed in the sky by a projector - a different color to represent every hour.

Honor and her family don’t fit in. Her parents stay out past curfew, they don’t teach her things other people on Island 365 know - they didn’t even name her rig
Well. I guess I wish Goodman had put a little more time into this book. It's a great premise, and could have been a great story, but it ended up seeming too half-baked. The characters weren't particularly likeable or believable, and a lot of their actions didn't really make sense to me. Also, a lot of the writing seemed...annoyingly dumbed down. I just think it could have been a whole lot better. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion the book was had a great story line and lesson about not giving into conformity. At the beginning of the book Honor is thrown into a new environment created by Earth Mother, called Enclosure. Enclosure was created to try and control not only the weather, but also to keep the people living inside Enclosure afraid of the natural world. Honor and her parents came from the world outside of Enclosure, and the more they stay in Enclosure, the islands, and in the world that Earth Mother ...more
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admittedly, this was a strange book for me to read. I'm used to Allegra Goodman as an adult writer, heavy on character nuance and murkier with plot. For her YA dystopia, she had to turn this formula on it's head.

That's not entirely fair to her main character, Honor, who, unlike most contemporary heroines, doesn't have to break away from her parents to be rebellious, but rather to be normal. Through Honor, we see the allure of fitting into society in order to avoid ostracizarion, a paramount for
Hannah Sroka
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

In the eighteenth year after, long after the enormous flood that took place in the North, a young girl named Honor moved on Island 365 with her parents in the Tranquil Sea. After moving, Honor notices many obvious differences from living in the North, to living on the Island. Honor and her family are ranked in the lowest class of society and lives in a broken down house near the fearful shore of the Tranquil Sea. All of the people of the Island worshiped Earth Mother as their leader. Earth Moth
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book The Other Side of the Island is by far my favorite book. It reminds of the Hunger Games a little bit because it takes place after the government crumbles ,and they have a new government created. The new government was created after The Flood. Their government leader is called Earth Mother, and she is worshiped by everyone every day. When new people come in from the North, she assigns them to islands. The main character, Honor, and her family have been assigned to island 365 in the
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Tasha for

It's the eighteenth year of Enclosure and everything on the islands in the Tranquil Sea have become regulated. Earth Mother and her Corporation, who have a vision for a world with only happiness, control everything from jobs to the weather to children's names - and expect everyone to conform to this view of normality, no matter what the consequence. On Island 365 lives a girl named Honor and her family, who don't really fit into this society.

While Honor des
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle-schoolers who want more books like The Giver
The Other Side of the Island is reasonably intersting but lacking a little in character development and surprises in the plot. It has some ideas to reflect on about what our values and what we see as problems in the world.

One thing that distinguishes The Other Side of the Island from other dystopian stories is that this is clearly set after the World suffers some of the effects of global warming. This aspect makes the story seem a bit more relevant and possible. Another distinguishing aspect is
Dec 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ten year old Honor and her mother and father have just been forcibly relocated to an island in the Tranquil Sea from their home in the Northern Islands. When Honor is being interviewed for her place in school, the headmistress stresses that her name is not Acceptable since the H is silent. Honor struggles to fit in while her parents secretly join the Forecasters, a group of rebels who want to displace Earth Mother who is bent on Enclosure - ceiling the islands against the onslaught of Weather. W ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
Well, we’ve finally gone and pissed off Mother Earth. We finally mucked up the planet enough and The Flood was sent to put us in our place. Never fear, because the Corporation and the Earth Mother are here to save the day! “The Other Side of the Island” by Allegra Goodman takes place in the eighteenth year of Enclosure (where it’s always sunny and green under the dome), long after Mother Earth dumped on us in the form of the Flood. This is Honor’s story (silent H, which is a no-no, since she was ...more
Mar 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia, teen, children-s
3.5 stars. A satisfying, well-written addition to the ever-expanding category of YA dystopian fiction with an environmental twist. In this story, the earth's continents have been reduced to islands by the catastrophic effects of global warming, and Big Brother = Earth Mother, the seemingly benevolent leader who rules the "safe" and "secure" Colonies, where she's trying to establish New Weather and a new, authoritarian society "for the good of the planet." Ten-year-old Honor has recently moved to ...more
The Other Side of the Island gives up a stark picture of the future when evolving science and paranoia meld together to create a society ruled under utmost Totalitarianism.

Wow, some of the stuff the author thought up in here was pretty wicked. The concept of this book is fantastic and thoroughly developed. Some of the plot twists were predictable and others weren’t. The characters, especially Honor, were realistic with plenty of room for growth, and had their own vices and flaws.

The pacing of th
Global warming has caused the polar ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise; consequently, much of the Earth’s land has disappeared, leaving only high-lying islands. A corporation run by a woman known as Earth Mother now rules all of the islands. Honor and her family have moved to Island 365, and from the outset it looks like they’ll have a hard time fitting in. First of all, Honor’s name is all wrong. Everyone born in her year has a name that begins with H, but Honor’s name has a silent H and i ...more
Karen Ball
Another dystopia! This one reminds me a lot of The Giver, but with a clearer setting, more information about how this place has come to be, and actually more realistic options for the people in the story. Honor and her parents have been reassigned to live on Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Her parents don't quite fit in, and neither does she in this extremely regulated place. In their first apartment, the Neighborhood Watch arrives to tell them that they are not allowed to sing Honor to sleep to ...more
Apr 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of those "scary future" worlds. Global warming has resulted in melted ice-cap, world-wide floods and destruction. As the book opens, one family has been "retrieved" from the north islands where they were basically hiding out, and assimilated into the current society of the southern islands. The government is under the control of Earth Mother who promises to protect and shield the planet from future destruction by use of weather control, and literal shields that stretch over the p ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved quite a few post-apocalypse dystopian YA novels over the years, but I think this one will go down as one of my favorites. In a world where people live on domed islands in an attempt to satisfy the new government led by the figurehead of the Earth Mother, there are few who will question the rules for sustaining a safe and peaceful life. But Honor and her family are newcomers to this warm monitored environment. Now they are living in a southern island society where the rules and the agr ...more
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I was born in Brooklyn, but I grew up in Honolulu. When I was a seven year old living in Hawaii, I aspired to become a novelist--but I began by writing poetry and short stories.

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“I have a dark sense of humor,' Fanny explained.

'What's that supposed to mean?' asked Honor.

'It means I'm funny once you get to know me,' Fanny said.”
“On breezy days when the wind was not too light and not too strong, Will and Pamela and the children flew their homemade kites in Peaceful Park until they were specks in the blue sky. When the wind was just right, the kites felt so strong and safe up there that Honor imagined nothing could budge them.

'Ho bum," boasted Will, 'I could stand here all day and this kite would hold. It's like fishing.'

'Fishing in reverse,' said Pamela. 'Sky fishing.'

'What do you fish for in the air?' asked Honor.

Pamela and Will started laughing. 'Oh, planets,' said Will. 'The occasional comet. An asteroid or two.'

Honor held one kite string, and Will held the other. Pamela held Quintilian. On those afternoons, four did not seem like the wrong number for a family. Four seemed just right.”
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