Phoenix Island (Bram Stoker Award for Young Readers)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
WINNER OF THE BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
John Dixon’s critically acclaimed Phoenix Island reads like “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack). For fans of The Bourne Identity, Alex Rider, and Melissa Marr.
The judge told Carl that one day he’d have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.
A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble—using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.
Classified as a “terminal facility,” it’s the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States—and immune to its laws—the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname “Hollywood” as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the “sweatbox.” But that’s nothing compared to what awaits him in the “Chop Shop”—a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.
A new life…A new body. A new brain. Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he’s not sure he wants to become. For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence.
And for Carl, it’s just the beginning…
It didn’t seem possible. He remembered Parker raising the machete in the air, sunlight flashing off the blade, and then the voice, deep and familiar, telling Parker to stop. . . . The voice belonged to his shadow visitor, Captain Midnight. Commander Stark. He’d stopped Parker and saved Carl’s life. After the nightmarish ordeal in the sweatbox, his survival felt like nothing short of a miracle. He said a prayer of thanks and studied the room around him. It was small and neat, with pale blue walls the color of a robin’s egg and a single window, through which Carl could see bright daylight.
He grinned, staring at Carl with shining eyes. “It’s way, way better than knocking someone out. ” “Killer Carl! ” Henshaw squawked, and the room exploded in hooahs and laughter. Carl forced one more smile onto his face, but inside he was reeling. Eric’s journal was true—all of it. Parker’s executions, the Old Man, killer kids, everything. Were Ross and Octavia okay? WHEN MEDICAID LED THEM straight to the second checkpoint, they were impressed. Maybe a little freaked out. Cautiously optimistic, even. But impressed.
Carl’s father was gone. Nothing would bring them back. Parker and Octavia remained. The choice was simple: risk everything to kill Parker or risk everything to save Octavia. He knew what he had to do. He had to break his pattern of weakness. He had to start keeping his promise to his father. He had to stop fighting the bullies and start helping the victims. He had to defend, not destroy. Love, not hate. He had to save Octavia. THE MEMBERS OF PHOENIX FORCE mobbed him, shaking his hand and slapping his back, all smiles and bright eyes and encouragement.
He fell ten feet and hit the ground with a horrible crunch. “Mitchell! ” Carl started down the netting. Mitchell screamed in pain, then came off the ground with his left arm jutting at impossible angles and the huge spider clinging to his face. He ripped the spider away and threw it into the trees, cursing. “It bit me! That thing bit me! ” Then he lifted his broken arm into view, saw the right angle in the middle of his forearm, the white bone there, the blood, and passed out. Carl crouched beside him. On his forearm, Mitchell had a homemade Bart Simpson tattoo so poorly drawn that no one had even known what it was until the kid had grinned with his bad teeth and told them.
I’ll get in touch with people. And you,” he said, turning toward Carl, “watch out for Davis and Parker. ” He gave them both a quick embrace and jogged off toward the gate. “Good for him,” Carl said. “Yeah,” Ross said, “but bad for us. I have a feeling—” “Hey, Carl. ” Carl turned. It was Octavia. “Hey,” he said. “Can I talk to you for a second? ” “Sure,” Carl said. “I’ll see you inside,” Ross said, and headed for the barracks. Carl and Octavia stood several feet apart. She looked at him with those beautiful gray eyes and said, “Campbell’s really gone then, huh?