Ahoy there me mateys! I received this young adult fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
gray wolf island (Tracey Neithercott)
Title: gray wolf island
Author: Tracey Neithercott
Publication Date: TODAY!!!! (hardcover/e-book)
The stunning cover is what originally drew me in:
Then the first line of the blurb was “for fans of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.” I loved that book so the comparison drew me in further. Then I discovered it is about five teens who go on a treasure hunt on the mysterious Gray Wolf Island. Treasure! Adventure! Islands! Maps! Magical realism! Arrrrrrr!
I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. The magical realism in this novel was a lot more subtle than in ava lavender and I loved it. The opening chapter is one of the best set-ups for a story I have read in a very long time. I was immediately sucked into the story and entranced. The main character, Ruby, loses her twin sister Sadie. Ruby was Sadie’s shadow and is lost without her sister. But before she died, Sadie made Ruby promise to complete one unfinished quest – to find the treasure.
One of the greatest choices of the book was that Ruby is the reluctant treasure hunter. Her sister was her treasure and now is gone. Ruby has survivor’s guilt and feels strangled by her promise. But she eventually feels compelled to see it through. Unfortunately this means that she has to have assistance and Ruby is not a people person. One “helpful” teen brings friends and Ruby finds she needs them all. Each teen also has a secret and the island demands the truth in exchange for survival.
I absolutely fell in love with the characters. All five teens were uniquely drawn and interesting. Also the many adults in the novel also had distinct personalities and actually cared about the teens. Refreshing. While I love a treasure hunt, the friendships portrayed in the novel become the true focus. I cannot even adequately explain the love I feel for these teens and how absolutely delightful it was to watch them grow and interact with each other.
The mythos of the island were captivating and rich in detail. The treasure hunt details were well wrought and suspenseful. The only problem I had was with a sideline story about Cooper. It tied in well and is seemingly explained but I think I missed a crucial detail and so am a bit confused. Small detail though. Maybe one of me crew can explain it to me one day.
Bottom line – fabulous read so check it out.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Random House Children’s and Knopf Books for Young Readers!
The author’s website has this to say about the novel:
Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.
With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.
As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.
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