Book Review: Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

Lighthouse Island: What it is about

The publisher says: “In the coming centuries the world’s population has exploded. The earth is crowded with cities, animals are nearly all extinct, and drought is so widespread that water is rationed. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years, and no freedom, except for an elite few.

It is a harsh world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Growing up, she dreams of a green vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest.

When an opportunity for escape arises, Nadia embarks on a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure. Along the way she meets a man who changes the course of her life: James Orotov, a mapmaker and demolition expert. Together, they evade arrest and head north toward a place of wild beauty that lies beyond the megapolis—Lighthouse Island.

Lighthouse Island: What I thought

I love dystopia, and this one was good! Nadia embarks on several adventures, eventually trying to reach Lighthouse Island, a place she heard of in her childhood. As a reader I wasn’t convinced the island actually existed as it seemed more a thing of childhood dreams. But Nadia insists this is where she wants to go.

Her life is of little value to anyone but herself. Many times she narrowly evades arrest (sometimes she actually is arrested) and that is a bad thing in her society: people (especially good-looking women) are arrested for no reason, and executed live on television, just for the sake of it.

There were a few too many coincidences in the book to make it totally believable, but overall, this was a great story of both suffering and of outsmarting the authorities. Nadia had learned from early childhood to be inventive, and she manages to get into places meant for the very rich, gets water from people when there is very little around, and is helped in her quest by the most unlikely types.

It was a fun adventure story in a future that was believable in itself, although very bleak and dystopian. It’s not a YA novel, but I’m sure that many young adults will also enjoy this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2013

I got this: from William Morrow (an imprint of Harper Collins) for review

Genre: science fiction, dystopia

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

8 Responses to Book Review: Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

  1. Mystica says:

    I don’t read much dystopia but this one sounds very interesting.

  2. Leslie says:

    I requested an audio copy of this one. Glad to see you liked it because we usually like the same dystopian novels.

  3. Isi says:

    Sounds good, Judith. I also was thinking if the island would be real or not in the book 🙂
    I usually don’t read dystopian, but it’s not because I don’t like it, it’s just that books of this genre don’t come to me 😛

  4. Tesney Ap says:

    It sounds very interesting. Great review, Judith 🙂

  5. Pingback: Read: News of the World by Paulette Jiles | Leeswammes' Blog

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