Reader Reviewed The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

The Island at the End of Everything

Written by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

11+ readers   Costa Children's Book Award 2017   Books of the Year   Blue Peter Book Awards   13+ readers   eBooks   UKLA 2018   
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One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the 2018 Blue Peter Awards - Best Story | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award |

In a nutshell: beautifully told story of courage and hope and an unforgettable setting

Kiran Millwood Hargrave follows up her award-winning debut The Girl of Ink and Stars with a story set in the real world, though one still filled with a sense of wonder and the extraordinary. Set in the Philippines at the beginning of the last century it tells the story of a girl forcibly removed from her mother, as many were, because her mother has leprosy, or as those with the disease preferred, is touched. With the help of her friends Ami makes her way back to her mother and it’s a story of love, courage and hope, all of these symbolised by the butterflies that fill the pages and that are so important to the story. It’s passionately told, full of memorable scenes and characters, and the writing is beautiful. ~ Andrea Reece

The Costa Judges say: ‘Entirely original with not a word out of place – as vivid and beautiful as the butterflies themselves.’

A message from the author: ‘At a time when the world seems to be moving deeper towards intolerance, the message that we should be together but not the same, was at the forefront of my mind when writing this book. It’s easy to label people, and labelling means reducing them to one attribute, which in turn makes it easier to dismiss, dehumanise, and persecute. In The Island at the End of Everything, it is down to Ami, and her friend Mari, to find a way home in a society that tells them they are only children, only girls, and so are not in control of their own lives. But of course, this is far from the truth.’

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Cajsa Jonsson, age 12 - 'an amazing book that told a heart-warming story about friendship. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end and I really recommend it.'
  • Evie Aconley, age 10 - 'An enjoyable book that will interest you so much that you will find it hard to put down!'
  • Felicity Wilcox, age 14 - 'A great emotional rollercoaster adventure story...It made you grip the edge of your seat (or bed if you read it at night).'
  • Ella Meredith, age 10 - 'I think this is a very good book that gets better as you move further into it. I would recommend this book for ages 8+ and would give it 4/5 stars.'
  • Ellen Cox, age 10 - 'A brilliant book that captures your heart...There are such detailed descriptions I had very clear images in my head.'
  • Emma Corden, age 11 - 'If you are looking for a sad adventurous but exciting new book to read I would recommend this book!'
  • Bella Rix-Clanc, age 10 - 'A happy, sad, exiting and beautiful book. I read it with my mum and we both enjoyed it.'    
  • Aoibhe Churcher, age 11 - 'I  really enjoyed the book. It was exciting, griping, and mind blowing.'
  • Annie Sherratt, age 12 - 'This is my favourite book, based on history but with streaks of magic. It is a sad book, that often makes you smile, about friendship and reunions.'
  • Felicity Kerswell, age 14 - 'At the start I was unsure if I would like this book but as the story progressed and you found out more about the characters it grew on me and by the end I was crying.'
  • Humaira Kauser - 'There is not a lot to say other than read this book and anything else this author writes because it will blow you away.'
  • Charlotte Cassidy, age 11 - 'I loved this book because you could actually connect with the characters, and it keeps you wanting to know more.'
  • William Pasturel, age nearly 12 - 'I quite liked this book because it was very descriptive and captured the characters personalities perfectly.'
  • Rose Hopkins - 'It was a creative, emotional rollercoaster, butterflies woven through the story, like a ribbon, tying it all together.  There were some very beautiful descriptions.  I found it a very satisfying read.'


The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

Ami lives with her sick mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of a cruel government official, Mr Zamora, changes her world for ever. Her island is to become a colony for sufferers of leprosy. Banished to an orphanage across the water, Ami meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they set out to find a way back home to the island at the end of everything.

The Island at the End of Everything effortlessly weaves themes of prejudice, segregation and illness into the story of one very brave young girl’s determination to find her way back to her mother. A standalone story rooted in history – the story is set in 1902 on the real-life Filipino island of Culion, formerly an island for people with leprosy – this poignant tale firmly positions Kiran as one to watch in middle-grade fiction, and will stay with you long after reading.

About the Author

Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

Kiran Millwood Hargrave was born in London in 1990. She completed her undergraduate studies in English and Drama with Education at Cambridge University, also performing in Footlights smokers and plays. She graduated with distinction from the Creative Writing MSt at Oxford University, and was President of the Poetry Society there. She is an award-winning poet, with three collections published and work appearing in international journals such as Room, Agenda and Magma. She was a Barbican Young Poet, and has performed her work internationally, from Banff to Tokyo. Her first novel, The Girl of Ink & Stars, was published in 2016 to critical acclaim and won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017. Kiran lives in Oxford with her artist boyfriend and writer friends.

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Book Info


256 pages


Kiran Millwood-Hargrave
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Chicken House Ltd

Publication date

4th May 2017




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