Title: Gray Wolf Island
Author: Tracey Neithercott
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Magical Realism
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.
From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.
I read Gray Wolf Island entirely in one sitting during last weekend’s 24 Hour Readathon. It was the perfect book to pick up during such a fast paced readathon, because it really sucked me in, and I couldn’t put it down. I knew I was going to love it based on the summary alone, but it still exceeded my expectations.
I’m always hesitant to pick up books with magical realism because it’s a genre I don’t always love, but I’m so glad I took a chance with this book. The cast of characters was diverse and mysterious. Everyone had secrets to tell (or hide), and the atmosphere of the island was both creepy and fascinating. We’re first introduced to Ruby, who’s twin has recently passed away. Ruby lived in her sister’s shadow, and is struggling to find her own identity now that she is no longer part of a pair. When we meet Anne, we find out that she never has to sleep. Charlie, who is destined to die, is a daredevil who is always taking dangerous risks. Elliott is a huge nerd hiding behind a tough, bad boy facade. And then there’s Gabe, a charming womanizer, who, like the other characters, is hiding a dark secret.
I love treasure hunting books, and Gray Wolf Island did it very well. The added mysteriousness that the magical realism brought to the story made it different from a typical mystery-solving book, because you could never tell what was real and what was just happening in someone’s head. It was a delight to follow the characters as they interpreted the island’s mysterious past and sought to solve the strange poem that would lead them to the island’s treasure. I loved that the characters never knew for certain what the treasure would be, but despite that, they were all so desperate to be the ones to find it.
I did not anticipate the ending, and I was satisfied with how the characters’ secrets were slowly uncovered as they got deeper and deeper beneath the island on their quest for the treasure. There was so much raw emotion behind their revelations, and it was incredible to see how close this group of unlikely friends became over the course of the book. I love found families and we got a great one with Gray Wolf Island. There is a romance in the book, but it’s a very small part of the story, and it does not overshadow the friendship aspect of the group.
I would describe Gray Wolf Island as The Goonies + Oak Island with a dash of magical realism. If any of those things sound interesting to you, I highly encourage you to pick up this book!
Rating: 5/5 stars
About the Author:
Tracey Neithercott’s first book was written by hand and illustrated with some really fancy colored pencils. It was highly acclaimed by her mother. Now, she writes YA stories of friendship, love, murder, and magic. (None of which she illustrates—you’re welcome.) She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, who suggests improving her novels by adding Star Wars characters.
10/8 Tour Stops
Review – Roecker Reviews
Interview – Notoriously Lay Low
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10/15 Tour Stops
Review – YA and Wine
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Guest Post – Fafa’s Book Corner
10/22 Tour Stops
Interview – The Hermit Librarian
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10/29 Tour Stops
Guest Post – Lollipop’s Books
Interview – Library of a Book Witch
Review – Book Stacks Amber
Have you read Gray Wolf Island yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I received this book in exchange for an honest review.