May 16, 2018

Recent Reads: Damselfly by Chandra Prasad

Source: From Scholastic Press in exchange for review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Damselfly by Chandra Prasad
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Publication Date:  March 27, 2018

Format: Hardback



 Goodreads Synopsis: 
In the wake of crash-landing on a deserted tropical island, a group of private-school teens must rely on their wits and one another to survive.

Having just survived a plane crash, Samantha Mishra finds herself isolated and injured in the thick of the jungle. She has no idea where she is or where anybody else is -- she doesn't even know if anybody else is alive. Once Sam connects with her best friend, Mel, and they locate the others, they set up camp and hope for rescue. But as the days pass, the survivors, all teammates on the Drake Rosemont fencing team, realize that they're on their own -- with the exception of a mysterious presence who taunts and threatens them. When their initial attempts to escape the island fail, the teens find they need to survive more than the jungle . . . they need to survive each other.

This taut novel, with a setting evocative of Lord of the Flies, is by turns cinematic and intimate, and always thought-provoking.
Lord of the Flies meets Mean Girls is only a starting point to describe this novel. Prasad pieces together a story with so many layers it is hard to express my feelings over, but I will try. I had a lot of emotions throughout this book but really I was frustrated a lot of the time. There were so many times I had to stop myself and breathe and try to refocus - but that frustration is what the book is meant to do (or at least that is how it felt to me).

The story is about a plane crash with a bunch of teens. They land on an island and are trying to survive/ get home. Time takes a toll on all of them and some of them descend into madness and turn against one another. There are boys and girls and the girls take charge, a good change of pace from most books - but they are still teenage girls who find ways to be underhanded and snarky throughout the tale.

Along with the feeling of unease the book gives you when it comes to the girl drama, there are other elements to throw you off as well. The main character is Indian (yay for diverse books! - loved that) and so are others in the party, one of them is even full-on racist toward the white people in the party. She calls them 'Pales' and talks about how the darker skinned students will be better off in this new environment. It was blunt and surprising, but I think it was acceptable for the book to address this as an issue - it appears everywhere so why not in a YA book.

The teens battle the climate, the lack of supplies, but also something else on the island as well. Overall, I think this last point wasn't even necessary in the overall story line but it did add to the drama.

If you are looking for a diverse book, some suspense, and girl drama (this is an understatement - there is a good amount of unnerving violence from them too), then this is a book for you.

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