Groundwood Books


Written by Patrick Downes

For readers 14 years old | Published May 01, 2019 | ISBN 9781773061924
YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Mental Illness

Cover of Island

Regular price $18.95 CAD

184 pages | 8.5 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book


Patrick Downes

Seventeen-year-old Rad comes home to find his father lying broken and dead at the bottom of the ravine behind their house. Rad’s twin brother, shaken but very much alive, had watched their father fall.

Desperate to understand what has happened before calling the police, Rad confronts his brother and the complicated landscape of their past. He reconstructs not just the circumstances leading to his father’s death, but the history of his family.

How can a family simply disintegrate? Were they ever happy, or were the roots of unhappiness always there? What plagued his father? What plagues Rad?

As the time comes to do the right thing, the question remains. Did his brother kill their father? And what will happen to the boys now?



“Jacqui?” I had never said her name, and it felt sticky and sweet on my lips, like cotton candy.

“Rad, I’ve spent some time thinking about this. I think we should be friends.”

Silence. I was tasting her name, the taste of blue.

“What do you think, Rad? Interested?”


“Why what?”

“Why do you want to be friends with me?”

Jacqui rocked back and forth on her feet. “Don’t be stupid,” she said.

“That’s hard for me,” I said. [54]

About the Author

Patrick Downes

Patrick Downes’ first two novels for young adults, Fell of Dark and Ten Miles One Way, received multiple starred reviews and were named to best-of lists (NYPL Best Books for Teens, Booklist Top 10, Kirkus Best Teen Reads). He is also the author of Come Home, Angus (illustrated by Boris Kulikov), a picture book. A New York City native, Patrick splits his time between the United States and Canada.

Awards and Praise

Praise for Island:

“[A] narrative that also makes space for love and understanding, where bridges triumph over isolation.” — Booklist

"Fell of Dark (NYPL Best Books for Teens 2015, Booklist Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books for Youth 2015, Publishers Weekly Best Summer Books 2015)

[star] “... readers willing to sink into the depths of two unstrung teens and their frantic individual struggles to understand the cruelties and redemptions of the universe will be rewarded by this disarming thought-provoking and entrancing story.” — Booklist, starred review

[star] “For many readers, this will be an impersonal but impressive work of literary art. But for some, serendipity will strike, whether in an image or in a confused, despairing reaction to an incomprehensible world, and Downes’s vision will connect into an epiphany.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Ten Miles One Way (Kirkus Best Teen Reads 2017)

[star] “Downes subtly plumbs the depths of mental illness within the broader context of relationship and self-awareness …. An intricate, unusual love story for readers attuned to compassion.” — Kirkus, Starred review

“Many readers will connect with this raw, powerful portrait of a young person living with mental illness.” — School Library Journal