Bad Island is a graphic novel about a family vacation gone horribly awry. The father plans a boat trip, although no one is very excited by the prospect. While the mother is concerned with her prized orchids, teenage athlete Reese would rather play football, and daughter Janie is preoccupied with caring for her pet snake.
A storm strands them on an island full of dangerous creatures and secrets. The family takes this news far more calmly than I would. Rather than panicking, they try to work together and use their strengths to survive. The book belongs to Reese, who starts out wanting to run away from home, and ends up a hero. I wish I knew more about why he was planning to run away, whether it was typical teenage rebellion or something more. Still, I liked that Reese was able to use his existing skills, rather than suddenly developing new ones, in order to help his family.
Doug TenNapel's illustrations are engaging and convey action and emotion well. Especially impressive is the use of color, richly saturated and slightly menacing. The varying panel sizes also helped move the narrative along.
This is a graphic novel I would recommend to parents with an adolescent who is slightly driving them crazy. Are there any of those out there?! There is a message of gratitude and familial love, but it is never cloying.