"Koh Tabu" is the story of a group of girls in an organisation similar to the Brownies going out for a camping trip and ending up stuck on a desert island. It reminded me a lot of "Lord of the Flies" and I chose to review it because I was interested in how a group of girls in more modern times would cope differently from a group of schoolboys.
The book is set in 1974, which I think was a good choice of year. If Bonnie and her friends had been stuck on a desert island whilst camping today, there would've been at least two adults, multiple mobile phones, probably a couple of laptops and they'd be off the island within an hour once they'd tweeted their location. With it being 1974, Bonnie is aware of the book "Lord of the Flies" and sometimes takes inspiration from it. There's also a war going on and while the girls are on the island, they're cut off from the outside world and are never really sure if they're safer being marooned.
Kelley gets into the story quick. On page one the girls are off on their camping trip with hardly any time to learn names and personalities. It seemed a little daunting at first, but looking back it meant that the book didn't start off slow and by page 50 I was aware of who everyone was. When things inevitably started to get out of control, I found myself partly wishing for everything to be okay and partly wishing for things to get a whole lot worse, so I'd have more to read!
I found it hard to stop reading once I had started, especially at points where the story turned grim. For those of you who don't like gruesome details, they're never described too intricately, just enough for the reader to picture what is happening without their stomach turning.
One thing that I didn't like about the book though was a bizarre plotline in the middle of the book. I don't want to give anything away, but it was so strange, I was half expecting it to be a dream sequence. Luckily for me though it was a short part of the story and I was soon back to hoping everything got worse for Bonnie and her friends.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read "Lord of the Flies" because while I found it a good read and enjoyed it, I was never surprised by anything that happened. I think I would've enjoyed it more had I not read "Lord of the Flies" first and I feel like I've missed out on the excitement of the story. Well written, but I doubt I'll read it again. 4/5