Island (novel series)

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Island is a novel trilogy by Canadian author Gordon Korman. The books are set in contemporary times and designed for young teenagers.

The series consists of:

  • Shipwreck (2000)
  • Survival (2001)
  • Escape (2001)
  • Island Trilogy Bind-Up Book (2006)

Plot Summary[edit]

Island 1: Shipwreck[edit]

The book starts out in Guam with six kids assembling for a reform programming called "Charting a New Course" (CNC), all sent there by their parents to build character for certain reasons. There they meet Captain Cascadden and the first mate Mr. Radford and set sail on the pacific on the CNC schooner the SS Phoenix.

After a while they receive news that a freak storm has turned their way and are forced to brave it. During it, J.J. thinks it would be best to raise the sails and outrun the storm and tries to raise them himself. He is stopped by Luke but during the fight a wave knocks J.J. down and he accidentally presses the button to raise the sails. The electricity breaks and the captain attempts to lower the sails manually, but a freak wave washes him overboard.

The next day, Radford realizes the captain is gone and assumes command. Unfortunately, the ship is slowly sinking, and they cannot reach help via radio. Radford eventually leaves during one night using the ships small dinghy and takes the food supply with him. Realizing they have to do something, Lyssa attempts to get the motor working again and succeeds; but a freak accident causes the engine to explode setting ablaze most of the boat. J.J. and Lyssa are lost in the flames and chaos, but Luke, Will, Ian, and Charla escape on a piece of the main cabin's top. With one person hanging off because the raft isn't big enough, they drift through the pacific for days. Only Ian's know-how saves them because he remembers to bring a rubber hat to collect rainwater. Will eventually ends up drinking sea water out of desperation and passes out. The others follow suit until Luke is the only one conscious. They are saved by dolphins who drift them towards an island. On the island they are revived by a downpour of rain and have a toast to their fallen comrades and set off into the jungle to find food.

Island 2: Survival[edit]

The three castaways go into the jungle looking for food, leaving the unconscious Will on the beach. They find Durians, a strange but edible fruit and go into a feeding frenzy having not eaten for weeks. They pass out for a while and awaken a few hours later fighting off a boar. They return to the beach to find a delirious Will who has amnesia and believes he is still on Guam. Despite the others trying to reason with him, explaining that his sister is dead, he runs off into the woods convinced he and his sister were kidnapped.

The others build a makeshift shelter and begin to forage for food and build signals. Ironically just as Ian explains that the chances of being rescued this early is almost impossible, a plane flies over-head and lands on the other side of the island. Believing they are rescuers, they run to the other side of the island only to witness a murder and learn that the men are illegal smugglers. While they are spying, another plane flies in and a watch dog detects their presence. They run back to camp and decide keeping a low profile is the only way to avoid capture, although it is inevitable.

They decide to try to find Will before the smugglers do because he lives in the jungle. Instead, they wind up meeting their presumed dead companions Lyssa and J.J., the latter of whom explains that he escaped the shipwreck via the ships inflatable raft and found Lyssa unconscious in the water. Unlike the others, their raft came with freeze-dried meals and were able to survive easily. Will meanwhile meets the boar and befriends him. He confronts Lyssa, who tries to convince him to stay, but he runs off and grabs the last freeze-dried meal and shares it with the boar. He decides to name him rat-face, but being the nickname of the Phoenix' first mate, it ignites his memory and he heads off to join the others. The others, meanwhile, are sniffed out by the doberman and are almost discovered by him. The boar then saves them by ambushing and killing the dog. The smugglers open fire on the beast, killing it and then leaving. It is revealed that a stray bullet struck Will's leg and Ian proclaims that he could become infected and die.

As the smugglers leave by plane J.J., Luke, and Charla head to the smugglers camp and discover an old army installation from World War II. While exploring, J.J. falls in a pit revealing the presence of an atomic bomb. Deciding it is too dangerous to let the smugglers find if they were to come back, they cover it and find a newspaper dropped by the smugglers. It is about how Radford, the first mate, was rescued off the coast of China; he lies about how he tried to save them but everyone perished and he alone survived. Now knowing that no one is looking for them, the castaways head back to camp.

Island 3: Escape[edit]

'The pressure builds when Will's injury starts to worsen and his fever rises. He begins to become delirious and slips into unconsciousness, and, as Ian states, if he is not taken to a doctor soon, he may not make it. He is given antibiotics from an abandoned army dispensary in the jungle, though the medicine is in short supply. They plan an escape, requiring J.J. to stow away in the smugglers' plane, be ransomed to his rich father, and arrange for the rescue of the castaways.

When the smugglers discover J.J. they threaten him, seeking information about anyone else on the island. He endures a broken arm rather than betray his friends. He is nearly shot, before managing to prove that he is the son of a Hollywood director using his designer sunglasses, and can be ransomed for a significant amount. Held captive for days, he realizes he will be killed once ransom is paid. He escapes, colliding with a police cruiser sent to investigate after J.J.'s father learns that J.J.'s designer glasses are being hawked by one of the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, on the island, Will's fever from the infected bullet wound grows worse, and Luke removes it with Charla's help and Ian's Discovery Channel knowledge, with supplies from the army camp near atomic bomb Junior. Will regains consciousness a few days later, and they all prepare to escape the island on the yellow raft. After sailing for six hours, a U.S. Marine scuba diver contacts them and gets them onto a helicopter that is carrying J.J.

Back in civilization, all are present when the scientists open up Junior, to find the uranium core replaced by a piece of paper with the word "KA-BOOM!!". They decide to name the island Junior Island and put it on a map.

Radford is later arrested in a bar and charged with six counts of attempted murder.

The story ends with a reunion by the castaways in J.J's lugubrious house, who do not go to the beach in Dominican'.

Main Characters[edit]

Charla Swann[edit]

Charla was known as an overachieving athlete. After waking up one morning unable to move from a burnout, her father went into to debt sending her to CNC. She helps the group survive by completing athletic feats the others couldn't.

Luke Haggerty[edit]

Luke was framed for possession of a firearm on random locker inspection day when he trusted a "friend" (his old friend Reese; his mother says in a letter she sent to CNC that she thinks Reese got Luke involved with a gang) with his locker combination. Luke immediately takes on a role of leadership on the island, and as mentioned by Ian, makes most of the decisions that impact the group.

J.J Lane[edit] the son of the world famous movie star, Jonathan Lane (his true name being Jonathan Lane). His father sent him to CNC after he pulled a series of stunts. Through the series he is convinced that the entire wreckage of the Phoenix was a stunt and that CNC is watching them through hidden cameras and microphones. He is considered spoiled, bratty and a flake as he "never contributed anything to the group", but later realizes the error of his ways. He eventually becomes the group's ticket off the island when he stows away on a group of illegal traders' plane and gets help. But he got captured during it then one guard tries to sell his glasses but the seller saw the name and ended up calling the cops

Ian Sikorsky[edit]

The youngest and most innocent of the group, he is sent to CNC for watching the Discovery Channel too much, although his countless hours in front of the TV prove useful as his knowledge saves them from time to time.

Lyssa Greenfield[edit]

Lyssa Greenfield is almost constantly at war with her brother but loves him a lot. Cracked ribs, melted computer disks, concussions and broken noses have come from their constant fighting. Lyssa is a straight-A student and is good with machinery: it is she who attempts the fix of the engine. She supplies wit and loyalty to her fellow castaways.

Will Greenfield[edit]

Will Greenfield is at war with his sister, Lyssa, as both have been landed in the hospital in one of their quarrels. He views himself as imperfect, and his sister as the perfect, good-looking kid of the Greenfield family, which makes him resent her.


Captain Cascadden[edit]

A kind and caring man, taking joy in educating and working with the kids while sailing the seas. He is often the one who keeps his first mate in line. Little is known him other than that, although he can be presumed to have founded C.N.C. When J.J. raised the sails, Captain Cascadden is knocked overboard and lost at sea.

Mr. Radford[edit]

The Phoenix's first mate and also a large bully. Nicknamed Rat-Face by the kids, he takes pleasure when they suffer during rough weather. He is known to like comics and calls everyone Archie or Veronica. Like most bullies, he is a coward, as when he realizes that the schooner is slowly but surely sinking, he takes the ship's only dinghy as well as the GPS and most of the remaining food supplies and leaves the children to die. He is arrested after the events of the third book and it can be presumed he went to jail.

Dan Rapaport[edit]

Spokesman for Jonathan Lane. He delivered J.J. to Guam and almost decides to take him back with him but instead leaves him to his fate.

Jonathan Lane[edit]

He only talks once in the series; via phone to make sure the smugglers actually have J.J. During the conversation he breaks down crying because he thought his son was dead. J.J. later says he never heard his dad cry before. Saying that the actor would only take serious roles.