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Review: Bad Island (TenNapel)

AUTHOR: Doug TenNapel
SERIES: none
PUBLICATION DATE: August 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780545314794
PAGES: 224
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: survival, mystery, graphic novel
SETTING: deserted island; present day

SUMMARY: Alternates between ancient alien war and modern day family stranded on a deserted island. When their boat is caught in a violent storm at sea, a family of four wait for rescue on a mysterious island, where they quickly realize they are not alone.

REVIEW: Oh, the talent! Bad Island is 2016 Graphic Novel Challenge, book #9. A student recommended this book to me, and I was very happy to read another book by the talented Doug TenNapel. I read my first Doug TenNapel graphic novel, Cardboard, a couple of weeks ago, and it is among my favorites in the Graphic Novel Challenge so far.

And Bad Island did not disappoint. Once again, I love how TenNapel illustrates facial expressions. The characters are not just cardboard cut-outs (forgive the pun); this family of four feels like real people that I might know in real life. I love the Dad especially, who feels like things will always be fine as long as his family is together and safe. He’s absolutely right–nothing matters as long as the ones you love are safe and happy.

There is a parallel story of an alien war that doesn’t make sense for a little while. I was confused by this for a bit, but it all comes together nicely in the end.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Another hit from TenNapel. Very easy to booktalk!

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it. TenNapel is popular and makes a great choice for reluctant readers, ESL students, or anyone wanting to try reading their first graphic novel.

READALIKES: Cardboard (TenNapel); Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Graphic Novel (Riggs/Jean)  


  • Overall: 5/5
  • Creativity: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Engrossing: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: none
  • Violence: mild; fighting; a skeleton; some monsters
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

One Comment

  • The first graphic novel I have read by this author and I loved it, except for all those nonsensical grunts and groans coming from the characters! I especially enjoyed the way the story was a bit confusing at first and then began to get clearer and ended up making complete sense. That's something I always try to impress on kids, that they need to keep going with a book even if they don't understand it at first. I think it helps build their inferential understanding skills. Enjoy your blog and reviews.


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