The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
(Chicken House, 2017)

The Island at the End of Everything

by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants - including her mother - have leprosy. Ami loves her home - with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she’s desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it’s too late?


After the huge praise for her debut novel, The Girl of Ink & Stars, which scooped the Waterstones children’s book of the year award, Kiran Millwood Hargrave could easily have written a sequel set in the same world. Instead, she started from scratch. Drawing on the true story of a leper colony in the Philippines, The Island at the End of Everything is a passionate but delicately told narrative of great courage and kindness in a world full of prejudice and cruelty. Ami’s mother has leprosy but Ami does not. When the government rules that children who are not “touched” by the disease are to be dispatched to an orphanage on another island, Ami must say goodbye to her mother despite knowing how sick she is. How Ami stands up to the regime in the orphanage and bravely finds her way back to her mother makes for a gripping adventure from which many lessons can be drawn.”
- Julia Eccleshare, Guardian
A delightful and stunning story which follows a young girl torn away from her home and her determination to return back to her sick mother. This is a brilliant second novel which carries the same magic and emotion as the author's debut.”
- 5 stars, The Bookbag
The book celebrates wildness, nature and freedom, and is wise about courage, kindness and what we might learn even from our enemies.”
- Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Culture
Hargrave has a real and rare talent for combining poetic prose with compelling, page-turning storytelling. Her writing conjures such a vivid sense of place, the lush wildness of the natural world a fitting backdrop for an adventure that requires great independence and courage. Friendships and familial bonds are all important; the fierce love between a mother and daughter is at the very heart of the novel. Themes of prejudice, difference and loss are deftly handled, and there is real emotional depth and poignancy to the story, which is at times heartbreaking but ultimately one filled with hope.”
- Fiona Noble, Guardian
This is an enchanting book by a writer who fully deserves the fuss being made of her.”
- The Telegraph
A heartbreaking and heartwarming must-read about love, loss, friendship, and determination in times of desperation.”
- Kirkus, starred review
Hargrave tells an incredible story of compassion, love, and daring in this book’s pages, and her lyrical writing glides with the grace of a butterfly. An author’s note gives the real history of Culion’s leper colony and speaks to the complexity of human nature, further enriching Ami’s unforgettable story. ”
- Booklist, starred review