Bomb Island

Publication Date:

May 2024



Original language and publisher

English | Hub City Press

Territories Handled

France, Netherlands, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

France (Buchet Chastel, in a preempt)


Debut Novel

Bomb Island


“Hundley mashes up Mark Twain and Shakespeare with a colorful adventure story about two star-crossed teen lovers. Hundley demonstrates remarkable narrative control…. Once this story sinks its claws into the reader, there’s no shaking it.“ Publishers Weekly

Stephen Hundley has summoned forth a world that achieves a sense of strangeness and wonder while creating characters who are unrelentingly human in their flaws and strengths. A remarkable novel by an immensely talented young writer. — Ron Rash, author of The Caretaker

This is a wonderful novel—part coming of age, part family drama, part thriller—and beautifully imagined. Written with great care and precision, the characters come alive on the page in a world you won’t forget. Stephen Hundley is a writer to watch. — Chris Offutt, author of Code of the Hill

A beautiful, intricate knot of a book. — Mesha Maren, author of Perpetual West

I read BOMB ISLAND in one sitting, over a short train ride. The opening scene caught me in an instant and I was immediately drawn to this unique atmosphere. BOMB ISLAND mixes the beautiful strangeness of the island to the fascinating energy of its inhabitants. I am usually a very harsh reader when it comes to a coming of age story, but Finch is truly an unforgettable teen character, in all its grace and quirkiness. With a incredible sense of place and narration, Stephen Hundley manages to trap the reader in this strange island and creates a wonderful tale on power and humanity in all its beautiful flaws. BOMB ISLAND is a very special debut and I could not be happier to welcome Stephen Hundley in the Buchet Chastel foreign fiction list. —Maÿlis de Lajugie, editorial director Buchet-Chastel

An unexploded atomic bomb, a feral tiger, a mismatched adopted family living on a supposedly uninhabited island, what could possibly go wrong?

Fifteen-year-old Fish lives in a commune on the three-mile stretch of sand with his chosen family: their “mother-sage” Whistle and her white tiger Sugar, a young man named Reef, and an old man named Nutzo, who is missing. Fish and Whistle spend the days leading tours in their glass bottom boat out to the barrier island’s namesake, the unexploded atomic bomb.

This is the summer when Fish meets Celia, the tattooed daughter of a troublesome local charter fisherman bent on exposing Whistle’s commune–and their illegal tiger. When a party at her dad’s place goes sour, Fish brings Celia back to Bomb Island in the hope that she’ll stay with him. But they still can’t find Nutzo, the tiger’s behavior has become increasingly erratic, and everyone’s summer is about to take a strange, dark turn.

Narrated by an ensemble cast of uniquely independent outsiders who have chosen counter-culture lives informed by their desires and past traumas, Bomb Island takes a rollicking journey through the weirds and wilds of Coastal Georgia. I’m sure you’ll agree if you read this, that Stephen Hundley has crafted a spirited, zany and big-hearted book, one that creatively examines the strength it takes to live freely and without shame.

Part coming-of-age romance and part thriller, Bomb Island is funny and fast-paced, as it explores sub-culture communities, survival, and found family on an island off the coast of Georgia at the height of summer, an island right near an unexploded atomic bomb. It’s got the appeal, and feel, of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia and the films The Peanut Butter Falcon and Mud. Also Bud Smith’s Teenager.