Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Phoenix Island by John Dixon

Phoenix Island
by John Dixon

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 320
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can't seem to stay out of trouble, using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island

Classified as a terminal facility, it's the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States and immune to its laws, the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname "Hollywood" as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the sweatbox. But that's nothing compared to what awaits him in the Chop Shop: a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of. 

Kritters Thoughts:  Carl Freeman has not had an easy moment in his life from losing his parents at an early age to bouncing around the foster care system because he just can't help sticking up for those being bullied - but was something bigger in the works?  

Carl was a character that from the beginning I grew to love and fight for - I wanted what was best for him.  I loved the different characters beyond Carl, they were all crafted so perfectly to revolve around him and the struggles that he was facing.  The concept of this far away camp that raises boys to be mercenaries isn't far from reality in parts of the world and it was hard at times to read and realize that thought.  

Besides the violence, this book is a perfect YA read for the boys.  I loved the internal struggle and the way Carl dealt with his demons.  A fantastic break from my normal reads.

Rating: perfect YA read (for boys!)

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Simon and Schuster.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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