To be sixteen is to have troubles, but Emily has more than her share: distracted parents, PTSD flashbacks, sudden uprootings to new states and new countries. But when a series of calamities maroons her on an uncharted island, she will learn what trouble can be. In Castaways, Jes Drew combines contemporary young-adult fiction with the old fancy of a desert island harboring mysteries. Through the first-person narration of its young heroine, the book achieves a memorable and entertaining tone. A current of Christian belief runs through the story, and an innocent romance dominates many of the pages. Adults may wonder if uncharted islands are still possible, and if any seventeen-year-old boy could be so impressive, even to a sixteen-year-old girl. But younger readers will take delight in this light, sweet tale.
Best for: Teenagers, especially girls; romance and YA readers.
Discern: Mild violence; peril to children and teenagers; a young girl suffers PTSD after an attempted robbery.