Joshua's Island

Young Adult - Action
248 Pages
Reviewed on 01/18/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Patrick Hodges, currently a medical biller, lives in Arizona with his wife, Vaneza. After years of writing for several different entertainment-related blogs, he is making his first foray into fiction.

He is currently working on hits second book, a sequel to "Joshua's Island," which he is hoping to release in late summer.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite

Joshua's Island by Patrick Hodges is the story of Joshua and Eve, two 13-year-old kids who face something many kids have to deal with in real life, too: bullying. And not just verbal bullying, but bullying that includes physical violence. Joshua is a small boy, and even most of the girls in his class are taller than him. And for some reason, the most popular girl - Rhonda - has decided that Joshua should be the victim of her bully squad (consisting of boys). Joshua is an outcast, has no friends any longer, and then he has to work in a team with a girl who can't stand him. However, things change when Eve begins to understand that all the stories circulating about Joshua might very well not be true, and that her new best friend Rhonda might not be a good person to be friends with after all. However, Rhonda does not take it lightly when people doubt her.

While the issue of bullying in Joshua's Island is of course a very unpleasant topic, I did enjoy reading this story very much. The friendship that developed between Joshua and Eve is heart-warming, and the closer you get to the end of the book, the more your hope in humanity is restored. I wish that there were truly more kids like the ones in the book - and fewer idiots running schools. The plot moves along nicely at a pace that is neither rushed nor drawn out. You start feeling connected to the characters quite easily and early on in the book. It is a pleasing read for people of all ages.

P M DeVuono

Joshua’s Island is a charming and deeply moving story of fear, fate and triumph through the power of love. It tells of the troubles of Joshua, a 13 year old middle school student who is small for his age and thus the target of cruel bullies. The story quickly unfolds through alternating diary entries of Joshua and Eve, the beautiful, popular girl. At first, Eve believes the lies being told about Joshua and is leery of him but through an uncanny twist of fate and Joshua’s strength of character, Eve learns to empathize with his plight. Eventually, as Eve gets to know Joshua better, empathy grows into love and Eve’s love becomes Joshua’s ‘shield and armor’ from which Joshua gains the confidence to stand up for himself and overcome the bullies.

I throughly enjoyed Joshua’s Island. I have to admit though, I’m a sucker for a well crafted story in which the underdog triumphs over the powers of darkness and oppression. Patrick Hodges has written an entertaining story that can be read simply for its engaging storytelling. But, like the best of fine literature, there is ample food for thought.

Hodges doesn’t beat us over the head with his anti bullying message. It comes through the action and that makes it a great vehicle for values clarification and discussion whether at home or at school. This book should be a welcome addition to any classroom or library bookshelf. As in What Happened to David where it tells us that ‘all schools are alike’, Joshua tells us that ‘…even the best schools had problems…’. We get to see the ineffectiveness of an incompetent school principal and the ineffectiveness of Joshua’s parents’ advice to ‘ignore the bullies’.

Through Eve we get to see the perils of popularity such as, ‘crappy dates’ and loss of old friends. But we read good advice too. Eve’s mom helps her to recognize ‘a mess of her own making’ and supports her to make amends.

I was worried that the school in Joshua’s Island would take the whole blame - it doesn’t. But Hodges reminds us that allowing bullying to go on when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing is illegal and those responsible should (and in this story eventually do) receive justice. It just takes a while when kids don’t speak up or when they are ignored.

At one point Joshua asks, “Why don’t people care?” I believe people do care, they don’t always know how to care. Two of the strongest points of Joshua’s Island are that it shows us why we should care and how to care. At first, Joshua doesn’t stand up for himself due to fear and shame. Others don’t stand up for him due to fear and apathy. But this is a story of hope and redemption. Through strength of character, empathy and the power of love and friendship Joshua is saved.

Set sail for Joshua’s Island. You’ll be glad you did.