Friday, 30 May 2014

The Other Side of Nowhere by Steve Johnston



The Other Side of Nowhere by Steve Johnston
Published May 1, 2014 by Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3 stars

From the blurb: When Johnno and his friends survive the freak storm that rips apart their yacht, they're just glad to be alive. That is, until reality hits: they've washed up on an uninhabited island with few supplies, no phone and no way to get home.

The situation becomes even more desperate when the four teenagers discover they are not alone on the island. There's a hideout where men with guns are covering up a dark secret that they will protect at any cost.

With nowhere to run, Johnno and his friends are forced into a dangerous game with the criminals as they fight to save one of their own. 

The situation becomes even more desperate when the four teenagers discover they are not alone on the island. There's a hideout where men with guns are covering up a dark secret that they will protect at any cost. 
With nowhere to run, Johnno and his friends are forced into a dangerous game with the criminals as they fight to save one of their own. 

The Other Side of Nowhere by Steve Johnston perfectly captures a teenage sailing and camping trip that does not go to plan. Johnno Jones is fifteen, he and younger brother Matty live in the city, but for the past three years they’ve spent their summers at Shell Harbour with Johnno’s best mate, Nick Barnes. Nick restored an old yacht, now named The Dolphin, and he invited Johnno and Matty to go on a trip with him; the plan is to sail to Lion Island and spend a few days camping there. But due to the weather and some unexpected island guests, things go horribly wrong.

Johnno is a great guy, he’s intuitive, smart, but doesn’t feel as confident as Matty or Nick. There’s a great brotherly rivalry between him and Matty and their race at the start of the novel was both fun and realistic. Johnno’s noticed a difference in Nick, they were best mates but after Nick moved to Shell Harbour things changed, now he feels as though Nick makes him work for their friendship, he’s also more serious and moody. Johnno invites his cousin Georgina along, they’re really close and lately Johnno has to keep reminding himself that they’re related though his never really goes anywhere and his confused feelings don’t seem to be shared by George.

The start of the story has quite an ominous tone, from Matty’s near crash, Nick’s dark mood, to the hint of a storm – these elements enhanced the atmosphere, warning that danger lay ahead. Once on the water there’s a false sense of calm with knowledgeable descriptions of sailing over a gorgeous, glittery blue sea – I loved this section, it reminded me of high school and the sailing lessons we got to take as part of an end of year activities week.

There isn’t much information about this book or the author that I can find, but the story definitely felt Australian to me. NSW does have a Shellharbour (one word, not two like the location in the book) and we also have a Lion Island, but from what I can tell this is a fictional setting. I loved the contrasts in this story and the fact that at first the island seems like a holiday destination but turns out to be perilous place.

The story wraps up well, there’s plenty of action throughout the book, but also some really sweet moments between the boys. It’s a book that will be well received by teens looking for action and adventure in a realistic setting.


Thank you to the lovely people at Hardie Grant Egmont for my review copy.

15 comments:

  1. Mm....looks interesting! But didn't quite float your boat, with the just 3-stars, eh? I do love that cover! I always love books set in Australia, it's really fascinating I reckon. ;)

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  2. I haven't heard of this one before and while it doesn't seem to be the type of book up my alley, I do think my younger brother would enjoy this a few years down the line so I'll have to add it to the TBR piles I keep making for him! ;) Lovely review, Mands!

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  3. I enjoy survival stories. The danger and wonder over whether things will workout usually make for a thrilling read. He has a crush on his cousin? I hope she's at least a 2nd cousin or farther removed. I guess first cousins do get together, though. Great review, Mandee! :)

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  4. This sounds like another good one! I'm intrigued by the men with guns and what they're doing on the island. I'm always a sucker for survival type books.

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  5. I like a good survival story with tension, but it doesn't seem like this one was a big WOW for you.

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  6. I haven't heard of this one but I am intrigued.. I always love meself a good survival story and this sounds like it also has a thriller aspect to it. I am sorry you didn't enjoy it more though :/

    Lovely review, Mands!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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  7. I have never heard of this one but the blurb has peaked my interest. You only gave it 3 stars though so clearly it wasn't an amazing read. I really like the cover but I think the story is one to skip. Thanks for the honest review :)

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  8. Just three stars? Sounded like you really enjoyed it! What stopped it from inching up to four stars?

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  9. I saw this one at the bookstore and was wondering about it, sounds like a great Aussie YA read. Thanks for the review Mands!

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  10. The cover is intriguing, but I cannot seem to bring myself to adding this to my TBR
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  11. The concept sounds dark and cool. I'll have to keep it in mind!

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  12. This sounds like a good read for school work. I most likely won't pick this one up.

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  13. Sounds very interesting, thanks for the great review!

    Thea @ Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

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  14. I haven't heard of this before, but after reading your review I would love to read it! It sounds interesting and now I really want to find out what happens! :)

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