Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott

Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott
Gray Wolf Island
by Tracey Neithercott
October 10, 2017
336 pages

Goodreads     Indigo
Goodreads Summary:
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.


Gray Wolf Island is a story that has left an impression. It's a beautiful tale of friendship with sorrow that won't soon be forgotten. I hate to say this but it also carried a note of confusion for me.

The writing in Gray Wolf Island is lyrical and poetic. I found myself rereading the riddle passages many times not just to solve for the treasure but to appreciate its complexity. What's a treasure hunt without a good bit of fun! Along the fun also came unforeseeable danger. Those moments felt really real. Many times I found myself holding my breath and praying for the characters' safety. Just as they had their own reasons to find the treasure, it was important for me to see them succeed.

I loved the tight little group Ruby, Elliot, Anne, Charlie and Gabe made up. They each had very distinct personalities so it was interesting to see them interact and become closer than they thought they could be. "Can you really know someone without knowing the one horrible thing that defines who they are or who they become?" (p. 177). Awful things happen but these characters stuck together even when finding the treasure often felt hopeless and after a major event, pointless. On some level I expected the death but the delivery still had me shook.

Another story ran parallel to our treasure hunt and it has me feeling unsure towards the overall story. I managed to unravel the mystery quickly but without a clear and proper explanation I was left feeling frustrated. I hate that I feel a little at a lost trying to connect the pieces but I just can't envision the connection.

After reading Gray Wolf Island, I realized magical realism probably isn't really my thing. My mind processes stories in a linear fashion so while I loved the treasure hunting and friendship development in the book, I also can't deny its ending left me on the confused side. But please don't let my personal preference deter you from picking up Gray Wolf Island. I recommend giving it a go yourself!
3.5 Cats

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