X Isle by Steve Augarde

Two years after the world floods, the last remaining place of hope is Eck’s Island (X Isle), run by the mysterious preacher John Eck and his sons. Parents on the mainland send their boys to the island to work an underwater operation to salvage food while hopefully living a better life. This post-apocalyptic/dystopian tale follows Baz and Ray, two boys chosen to work on X Isle, who develop a friendship as they perform dangerous labor, fight with other workers for rationed food, and avoid the physical abuse of the preacher’s sons. Augarde barrages his characters with an onslaught of moral dilemmas, forcing them to decide how far they will go to escape or survive when they know the harshness that awaits them back on the mainland. What sings the loudest in this story, however, is the vivid grittiness of the industrial-like world that grabs your attention right from page one.