Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Into the Grey

Into the Grey
By Celine Kiernan
Expected publication August 26, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Everything changes for Pat and Dom the night their Nan sets their house on fire. In the wake of the devastation, the family moves to a summer house - and Dom becomes different. So different that he might not actually be himself anymore.

I blame my lack of enjoyment in this book completely on myself. I've been hearing about this book for a long time - so long that I seem to have forgotten exactly what it was supposed to be about. When I downloaded the e-galley of this, I didn't bother looking up the synopsis again - once I'm interested in a book, that pretty much seals it for me. So, the problem is that I wasn't reading the book I thought I was.

I thought this book was about mental illness - that the fire had warped Dom's psyche and Pat was trying desperately to bring him back to himself throughout the course of the novel. Wrong. This is a ghost story, pretty much straightforward. If you've been reading my blog lately, you'll know I've not been having much luck with ghost stories and horror novels. So, the moment I realized that this was a book about possession and not about mental illness, I was disappointed. Maybe I should have just stopped reading right then.

However, in all the time I've been hearing about this book, I've been hearing good things, so I stuck with it. After all, wouldn't it be great if a ghost story finally surprised me? Unfortunately, this book just didn't do it for me. While I'll admit that the notion of possession was interesting and pairing that with the bond shared by the twins unique, most of the time I just felt bored by this book. I had to work really hard to finish it - I never particularly cared about Pat or Dom (or Francis or Lorry, for that matter), so I had a hard time worrying about what might happen to them throughout the rest of the book's pages.

What I think the book did well was the portrayal of the relationship between brothers. Though I'm not a twin or the same sex as my sibling, the relationship among siblings is one that continues to fascinate me. I always pay attention to portrayals of this relationship in fiction for children and teens. I thought Kiernan did a great job with the sets of brothers, realistically portraying their importance to each other and the helplessness one might feel when unable to help his brother.

Overall, this book just didn't work for me. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via NetGalley.

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