Phoenix Island by John Dixon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
The story revolves around a young teenage boy named Carl Freeman. He is a champion boxer but also a very disturbed teen. He can't seem to avoid getting in trouble and has been moved from one foster home or another. This time, he is sitting in front of a juvenile court judge and his future is not at all looking good -- that is if he even had one.
He had managed to beat up members of the local football team so bad that one of them had to have his jaw wired shut. Apparently, Carl can't stand bullies and he tends to protect kids who are being picked on by beating the bullies up. This time though, he had gone too far and the prospect of being sent to jail instead of juvie looms large. The judge decides to send Carl to some sort of boot camp named Phoenix Island. He was told it is a terminal facility and he would be there until he turned 18.
Things went from bad to worse once he got to Phoenix Island. It seems that the place and the people in it think that they are truly part of the military. All the kids that had been sent there were told to surrender all their gadgets, phones, and other electronics. Communication with the outside world is not allowed. One man, Parker, decides he wants to keep Carl's medal and Carl tries to stop him. This causes Parker to "discipline" Carl -- an incident which gives everyone a glimpse of what life will be like on the Island.
Most of the staff are bullies and Parker is worse than anyone else. Some of the kids are bullies too and it becomes difficult for Carl to keep his anger in check when he sees kids being bullied.
Carl tries his best to follow all the rules and has even made a friend, Ross. There is even a girl he likes -- Octavia. But soon, things start to get very rough and sinister. Carl finds out that things can get a lot worse for the orphans on the Island. And the mysterious Chop Shop is one place where kids are taken to, only never to return.
Phoenix Island is a very interesting read. There are so many twists that the reader will not be able to put the book down. The book has even inspired a tv series called "Intelligence." The pace is really fast and the story gets more and more interesting as it progresses. The ending was something I did not expect. All in all, a good read.
View all my reviews
Buy the Book