Title: An Island in the Stars
Author: Susan Laine
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 12, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Teen, New Adult, Science Fiction
Page Count: 210
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.6 stars out of 5
Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.
Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.
In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars.
This is a story that utilises a series of somewhat overused plot mechanisms to support the development of the tale. Opposites attract with a young shy geek and an older bolder jock. Both it seems have had a hidden crush on the other for a long time, surprise! An accident throws them into a position where they travel to a dangerous but erotic world that forces them to work and grow together. The story and concepts on which it is founded are interesting and quite novel and is an easy read. As their relationship develops they gain a better understanding of the other and their interests beyond each other. This allows the author to introduce quite a number of current young adult music and media interests. Whilst an interesting catalogue for a reader unfamiliar with the specifics, it is likely that this will date the novel within a relatively short time, plus to a certain extent it feels like name dropping.
The relationship between the two characters is quite predictable and develops at a pace consistent with similar books of this genre. They are likeable enough as individuals and their interactions form the core of the story. It should be noted however that there is a tendency towards moral decision making particularly towards the end of the story that was disappointing. There is an open presentation of passion and sexual activity between the two that was handled quite well.
The pace of the story was well handled and there was sufficient variety and interest to hold the reader. Nevertheless, the use of cohesive chapters meant that the book could be put down and picked up at a later point without losing the plot.
Unsurprisingly, the ending was left open and clearly allows for the development of further books based on the two characters. Given that the premise is now developed and the core characters defined, it is hopeful that subsequent books would be based more on the story than on making a point.
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