The Islanders: Search for Treasure by Mary Alice Monroe

The Islanders Series features three friends spending enlightening and adventure-filled summers on an island off the coast of South Carolina.

The Islanders: Search for Treasure (Islanders Series #2) by Mary Alice Monroe, with Angela May. Aladdin, 2022, 254 pages.

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10

Recommended for: ages 8-12

Home to Dewees

Last summer Jake Potter thought his world was ending. His dad was wounded in Afghanistan and his mother shipped out to care for him. With no parent at home, Jake was deployed to the end of the world, or so it seemed: Dewees Island, SC, to spend the summer with his grandmother. There’s no internet or motor vehicles on the island—nothing to occupy one’s time except nature. What’s a city kid supposed to do? As in many of these summer-with-the-old-folks stories, Jake ends up having the time of his life: making two best friends, getting into trouble, and redeeming the time by saving baby sea turtles.

Now he’s back for a second summer on the island, reuniting with Macon, another summer-only kid, and Lovie, a know-it-all native. But this time Jack has his father in tow. Dad grew up on the Island and still has friends there, but since losing his leg he feels like half a man. Reminiscing with a childhood buddy, the men recall searching for a treasure rumored to have been left by Blackbeard the pirate. Jake and his friends immediately take interest: what better way to spark his dad’s interest in life than reviving a search that occupied his boyhood? And the kids wouldn’t mind finding a treasure for themselves, either.

Golden days of summer

I didn’t read the first book, but imagine it’s very much like this one: a throwback to the days when kids weren’t glued to screens and could run free through the neighborhood and ride bikes and build things. Even the cover has a retro look. A pair of snarky boys make their appearance and a standoffish neighbor sends out scary vibes. But they don’t seriously disturb the tone of a peaceful, happy childhood full of good pals and exciting discoveries and even wonder. The wonder comes from the natural world of alligators and ospreys and the bioluminescence that sends sparks off the waves. “Who needs magic?” asks Jake’s grandmother. “We have nature.” A reader can silently correct that to, “We have Creation”—a never-ending source of awe.

Overall Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)

Worldview/moral value: 4Artistic/literary value: 4.25

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Also at Redeemed Reader

Review: Spineless is another novel exploring nature in the southern coastal USA, albeit with a slightly more “magical” tone.Reviews: Four great nonfiction books for learning more about semi-tropical flora and fauna.

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