Cover image for The islands at the end of the world
The islands at the end of the world
Aslan, Austin.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, [2014]

Physical Description:
358 pages : maps ; 22 cm
Stranded in Honolulu when a strange cloud causes a worldwide electronics failure, sixteen-year-old Leilani and her father must make their way home to Hilo amid escalating perils, including her severe epilepsy.
Reading Level:
HL 590 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.1 11.0 167616.
Geographic Term:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
Kenmore Library Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



In this fast-paced survival story set in Hawaii, electronics fail worldwide, the islands become completely isolated, and a strange starscape fills the sky. Leilani and her father embark on a nightmare odyssey from Oahu to their home on the Big Island. Leilani's epilepsy holds a clue to the disaster, if only they can survive as the islands revert to earlier ways.
A powerful story enriched by fascinating elements of Hawaiian ecology, culture, and warfare, this captivating and dramatic debut from Austin Aslan is the first of two novels. The author has a master's degree in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Praise for Islands at the End of the World :

"A riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home."-- School Library Journal, Starred

"Aslan's debut honors Hawaii's unique cultural strengths--family ties and love of home, amplified by geography and history--while remaining true to a genre that affirms the mysterious grandeur of the universe waiting to be discovered."-- Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Aslan's debut is a riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home."-- School Library Journal , Starred

Author Notes

Austin Aslan was inspired to write his debut novel, The Islands at the End of the World, while living on the Big Island of Hawaii. He earned a master's degree in tropical conservation biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. His research on rare Hawaiian plants located on the high slopes of Mauna Loa won him a pair of destroyed hiking boots, a tattered rain jacket, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He lives outside Tucson, Arizona, deep in the Sonoran Desert, where he pets scorpions and hugs saguaro cacti with his high-school-sweetheart wife and their two young children. Austin is pursuing a PhD in geography at the University of Arizona and thinking up new stories while conducting ecosystem resilience research atop the Peruvian Andes. He continues to write fiction and looks forward to the publication of this novel's sequel, The Girl at the Center of the World.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

While in Honolulu with her father for a clinical trial related to her epilepsy, 16-year-old Leilani hopes to fit some surfing in between appointments. But when an enormous, green, cloudlike organism appears in the sky after a tsunami, unmitigated panic grips the world. Seemingly overnight, phones and computers no longer function, generators provide the only source of power, and the city is under martial law. Leilani and her father escape from a military-run camp and begin their treacherous journey home to their family in Hilo. This well-paced novel successfully provokes a palpable sense of urgency, and the mystery surrounding the nature of the Emerald Orchid and the hope that Leilani's family will be reunited drive the narrative forward effectively. Aslan has developed his protagonist fully; Leilani is admirable yet flawed, and readers will connect with her struggle to fit in both as an ethnic minority in her community and as an epileptic. Teens should enjoy this utterly unique eco-thriller and eagerly await its sequel.--Hanson, Julie Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

After 16-year-old, half-Hawaiian Leilani and her father travel from the Big Island to Oahu so she can take part in a trial for a new epilepsy drug, tsunamis sweep across the eastern shores of the Hawaiian islands; additional chaos descends as people realize that other disasters have struck all across the world. Technology fails, the military tries to gain control, food and resources dwindle, and ethnic factions take up arms to wrest Oahu from the tourists. Lei and her father only want to get home to the Big Island, and thus begins their dangerous journey across jungle, sea, and the islands, even as a strange cloud appears in the heavens that people start calling the Emerald Orchid. Debut author Aslan shows off his promise as a writer, delivering a fresh, of-the-moment take on apocalyptic fiction. The ecology of Hawaii and its mythology glow vividly as Lei awakens to her special connection to the Emerald Orchid and its purpose. First in a planned two-book series, it's an exceptional adventure and survival story that's intimately tied to its setting. Ages 12-up. Agency: Pippin Properties. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Destruction descends upon Hawai'i. Not from the volcano-goddess Pele, but from a mysterious force that cripples one of the world's pillars, technology. This occurs while Leilani, who suffers from epilepsy, is on O'ahu. Along with her father, they journey across the islands searching for home, supporting each other through every difficult step. Tension builds at a steady pace as the magnitude of the situation reveals itself. The former paradise faces depleting resources, looting, martial law, and chaos. With the world stripped of its electronic casing, the old world blooms. Hawaiian mythology is explored through numerous stories and elements of their journey. Hawai'i is a vibrant, personified setting that is well crafted. The author includes numerous references to the language, ecosystem, and culture. Despite her love for her home, Lei feels like she does not belong, partly because she is half Hawaiian, but mostly because of the disease that prevents her from having a "normal" life. Nevertheless, she feels a connection to her ancestry and the old gods. Slowly, the protagonist comes to a revelation that allows her to accept her blossoming self. Aslan's debut is a riveting tale of belonging, family, overcoming perceived limitations, and finding a home.-Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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