Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: The Vanishing Island [Blog Tour]

I am so excited to be sharing my thoughts on Barry Wolverton's newest book The Vanishing Island. Here's a hint, this book is probably my second favorite middle grade read, so far, this year!!

The Vanishing Island (Chronicles of the Black Tulip, 1) by Barry Wolverton, September, 1, 2015. 352 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: publisher.
Does the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.
First Sentence:
When Jacob Beenders was a boy in Holland, his mother told him stories about the Night Demon of the Netherlands, a black-clad boogeyman with fangs and shredding claws.

Three years ago, cannot believe it's been that long, I reviewed Barry Wolverton's middle grade debut Neversink, of which I adored. So, when the opportunity presented itself to read more of his work, the obvious, answer had to be YES!!

I'm not even sure where to start on this review because The Vanishing Island was, well, it was pretty epic and such an entertaining read. While vastly different from Neversink I fell in love with Barry Wolverton's newest book on page two! What can I say, the premise of adventure, lost treasure and finding out what really matters. Ah, this book was so so good from the writing to the plot!!

Well, I guess y'all want to know why I found The Vanishing Island to be quite the read. My reasoning for enjoying this one so much comes to down to three things: writing, plot, and characters. These three things are what really makes this an exceptional read as they're blended so well together to create one exciting read. Between Bren's thirst for leaving Map by going to sea and changing his luck/life.
  Barry Wolverton, well, he totally nailed this one!! from Bren's story of wanting to go to sea and not follow in his father's footsteps of slaving away for McNally (yes that Rand McNally) creating maps and never moving up in the world, all the way to the realization that adventure is not all it's cracked up to be. Between, well everything, going on I couldn't help but find myself sucked into this book as the need to know what would happen consumed me.

One of the things I loved about this book, as well as Neversink, would have to be the writing. Really, I just like the way Barry Wolverton writes and how well he is able to bring the worlds of his book and the characters to life.  There really are no words to properly explain why The Vanishing Island is so good. At least not one's that won't give every detail away before you read it for yourself. Just  know that you should read it to see what kind of trouble Bren finds himself in...before he even sets out on his grand adventure.

Final Verdict: The Vanishing Island- During the Age of Discovery one boy will find out that adventure is nothing like what you read in books. Filled with danger and adventure, this book is perfection in storytelling and characterization!!

The Vanishing Island earns

Barry Wolverton has put together one awesome list of books that one could read after The Vanishing Island! I know that I for one will be searching my library for a couple of these titles!!

A Vanishing Island Companion Reading List:
I suppose I should say a little something about each of these, since I put them on a list, but its probably fairly obvious how they are connected to The Vanishing Island. And if its not obvious, I wouldnt want to spoil the fun of figuring out the connection for yourself.
The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
The Lost Island by Eilis Dillon
She and King Solomons Mines by H. Rider Haggard
The Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken
Maps & Legends by Michael Chabon
Favorite Folktales from Around the World by Jane Yolen
The Norton Anthology of World Literature
The East Indiamen, and other books in the old Time-Life Books Seafarers series

About the Author:
Barry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

You can haunt Barry Wolverton at-
Website | Twitter | FB | Instagram |

If there's one publishing house y'all should stalk for excellent middle grade books, then that would have to be Walden Pond Press!! Seriously guys, their books are fabulous and so is everyone who works there!!

You can stay up to date with WPP by following them on-
Twitter | FB | Blog/Website | Pinterest |

You can follow the blog tour over the next few days by checking out all these wonderful blogs:

6/15/2015 Blue Stocking Thinking                  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com 
6/16/2015 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia    hauntedorchid.blogspot.com 
6/17/2015 Small Review                               smallreview.blogspot.com                  
6/18/2015 Maria's Melange                         www.mariaselke.com/ 
6/19/2015 Unleashing Readers                    unleashingreaders.com  
6/19/2015 The Hiding Spot                             ​thehidingspot.blogspot.com  
6/22/2015 This Kid Reviews Books              thiskidreviewsbooks.com  
6/23/2015 Mundie Kids                                http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/ 
6/24/2015 Paige in Training                        https://pageintraining.wordpress.com 
6/25/2015 Novel Novice                              novelnovice.com

This book was received for consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

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