Into the Grey
By Celine Kiernan, 2011
Penguin Random House
Mystery, Ghost Story, Psychological
Rating: 👻👻👻1/2 (3.5 out of 4 boos)
“After their nan accidentally burns their home down, twin brothers Pat and Dom must move with their parents and baby sister to the seaside cottage they’ve summered in, now made desolate by the winter wind. It’s there that the ghost appears — a strange boy who cries black tears and fears a bad man, a soldier, who is chasing him. Soon Dom has become not-Dom, and Pat can sense that his brother is going to die — while their overwhelmed parents can’t even see what’s happening. Isolated and terrified, Pat needs to keep his brother’s cover while figuring out how to save him, drawing clues from his own dreams and Nan’s long-ago memories, confronting a mystery that lies between this world and the next — within the Grey.”
What’s the main character like?
A quick re-read of the beginning of the book showed me I missed a detail: Pat, the narrator, blatantly says he's fifteen years old. So I didn’t realize until a quarter of the way through that he was a teenager, rather than a boy of eleven or so. There was something youthful about him, and even though his parents let him and his brother go off alone exploring, I just assumed that was a sign of the more carefree times (the book takes place in the 1970s). Either way, Pat is likable, caring, brave, and intelligent. It was interesting to hear a story from just one twin’s perspective.
How scary is it?
More gothic and psychologically interesting than scary, Into the Grey features creepy ghost imagery, an isolating seaside motif, and head-spinning details of “the Grey.”
Who might like this book?
I was reminded a bit of The Lovely Bones, and even a bit of The House on the Strand. For readers who enjoy thinking and processing or reading about the past, Into the Grey should be a good fit. With the book's WWI references, history lovers and ghost-story lovers may enjoy this one.
What did I like best?
Pat’s physical isolation in a remote location and mental isolation as he deals all alone with his brother becoming “not-Dom” adds an element of suspense and gothic flair. His situation seems so hopeless, yet he keeps looking for new angles to save his twin.
What wasn’t my favorite?
The last chunk of the book dragged a little. But just a little. There were a lot of confusing visuals, so I had to re-read some parts to make sure I had a handle on what was going on. Nonetheless, as with the rest of the book, the last part especially gave me some psychological food for thought.
What was my personal experience reading this book?
Mostly quick with unexpected plots turns, Into the Grey had me looking forward to bedtime so I could read the next bit!