I received an advance copy of The Castaways and liked the premise right away. To escape the torment of bullies in high school, Olive jumps from the frying pan into the fire of a parallel world, an island where a war between two rival factions of teens is raging. The Castaways is an exciting YA contemporary fantasy with a nice romantic complication between Olive and Will, a dashing, stoical teen commander. The story could have transitioned to the island world a little sooner for me, but once there, the action-packed pacing kept the pages turning. I also liked the many secondary characters, who were well-drawn with compelling backstories for the most part. The ordeal of surviving on the island undeniably transforms Olive’s character, and the resolution is both dramatic and unexpected. An absorbing read.