The Other Side of the Island, by Allegra Goodman, is the story of a girl by the name of Honor. But her name is an anomaly, you see. Though she was born in the year H and Honor is a perfectly approved government name, the H is silent, so it sticks out. Her school isn’t worried, however. They know they’ll train her to change it, because what fun is life if you’re different than everybody else?
But Honor’s parents seem to think her name is okay. They dance and sing and laugh and read and draw, push limits, go on adventures, take midnight strolls to the forbidden ocean, betting on dark and serendipity. They even go so far as to have a second child, something rare and frowned upon. No, they seem to be just fine with Honor’s name.
Honor, herself, however, is a different story. After her family was relocated to one of Earth Mother’s controlled islands, she has been in a class with Helixes, Henriettas, Harrys and Harmonies. She’s not sure how she feels. On one hand, she lives for the forbidden excitements she and her family enjoy, but at the same time, she’s frustrated. Because really—why can’t her parents just obey Earth Mother and the Government? Why can’t they just be like everyone else? The last thing Honor would ever want would be to lose her parents, and she knows that if you’re too different, you might just disappear.
Though the book was rather predictable in places, The Other Side of the Island was surprisingly good. It was suspenseful with some nicely original aspects. The characters were relatable, and there were some quite cool notions about weather and religion. “Earth Mother” combined God and Mother Nature, and the religion was centered around her. Scientists had found a way to control the weather, so that Unpredictability could be avoided whenever possible.
I liked this book a lot, it was a pretty quick read—not too hard, along the same lines as a lot of other science fiction/distopia sort of novels, but with some parts that were truly new and quite interesting.
I would give it four out of five ridiculously evil and futuristic daggers! Twas a Very Good book, edging on great.
Bowing down to Earth Mother,
P.S – How coincidental that my name works! Awesome!