Eleven-year-old Noah is seemingly allergic to any form of electronic technology. If he touches a phone, he’ll break it – if he’s near a computer, you can bet it’s going to crash. So accidentally breaking the internet while he’s stowed away on his big sister’s field trip was always going to happen – Noah just hadn’t counted on breaking the internet while marooned on a deserted island with five other children and a teacher who has seemingly vanished.
With no way of knowing when, or if, they’ll be rescued, Noah and his sister’s classmates must learn to work together if they’re going to survive. When Noah finds a treasure map, going on a hunt in search of gold seems like a good place to start. But the mysterious island holds all kind of treasure – some of it found in very unexpected places.
Frank Cottrell-Boyce has created a brilliantly sympathetic and funny character in Noah, and his insecurity about being the smallest, the youngest, and the person seemingly responsible for everything going wrong makes him a wonderfully relatable hero.
The chapters are written as letters between Noah and his parents, and the fact that they seem strangely calm – maybe even amused – at Noah’s Lord of the Flies-style situation gives it a real sense of the absurd. There’s also a gentle message about the value we can find in everyday things when we are forced to put our phones and laptops away, and the firm friendships that take hold in times of uncertainty.
Steve Lenton’s charming black-and-white illustrations complement the chapters beautifully, giving the book a real scribbled-treasure-map feel.