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.
**** Thank you to Random House Children’s for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review ****
I was absolutely blown away by how much I ended up enjoying this book, it was not what I was expecting at all in the best way! I’ll be giving it an odd rating at 4.5 stars because I loved it but for some reason it still isn’t a five star read for me.
“Gray Wolf Island” is so much more than a tale of friends going to find a long, lost buried treasure, so, so, so much more! This is a very character driven book that focuses on the character’s self discovery, forgiveness, and coming to terms with their problems but still has a strong plot as well full of twists and adventure. It also has a very magical realism feel to it, there are certain elements of the story that are..well… magical. I loved it I thought it added so much atmosphere to the story and overall made it so much more fun.
The pacing should have been slower considering, as I mentioned, it’s more of a character driven book but it never felt like it was slow or dragging on at all. There was always something happening and always something to look forward too, plus there are some fantastic twists at the end of the story that you will not see coming at all!
The story is also told in two different perspectives one being Ruby the main character and the other being a strange boy who woke up on Gray Wolf Island with amnesia. I really enjoyed reading through both POVs as they were both interesting and important to the plot, I also thought the boy’s perspective added a lot of mystery to the overall atmosphere too.
One thing about the plot that bothered me slightly is that I felt the conclusion was a bit confusing and not really explained, which since it’s magical realism I can see why leaving it a mystery makes sense though. There were also a couple of plot holes with the character’s backstories but that’s all that bothered me.
Neithercott’s writing is also another amazing part of reading “Gray Wolf Island” it’s beautiful and lyrical which is perfect for the type of atmosphere she created for this story. Pretty writing and magical realism go hand in hand in my opinion. This felt similar to “The Raven Boys” and “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” so I would say if you enjoy Steifvater and Taylor’s writings you may enjoy this one as well.
It really is such a beautiful, heart-breaking story and prepare to get emotional!
As I mentioned the characters are the most important part of this book and they were all wonderful, seriously all of them! Every character was complex and well developed, they overcame many things and changed over the course of the story. They were all truly fantastic and I loved all of them.
Ruby is the main character and one of the POVs, the whole reason she is undertaking this quest to find the treasure is that it was her sister’s dying wish. She keeps her secrets and feelings close to home and is trying to find herself as she moves on from her sister’s death. I really adored Ruby I thought she was a very complex protagonist and she was actually pretty witty at times as well.
Elliot is a part of an old family that has been hunting the Gray Wolf Island treasure for generations and insists on helping Ruby find it. He’s very intelligent but tries playing “the bad boy”. He’s also a love interest for Ruby and I honestly shipped them so hard! Elliot was a great character, I adored him.
Then we have Gabe (Gabriel) who is the son of a virgin mother and the townspeople think him either a demon or divine claiming he has cursed them or helped heal them on different occasions. He’s very suave but there’s a lot more to him than he shows on the outside.
Charlie is the daredevil, fun loving character who likes to live every day as if it’s his last, which it may very well be since Charlie had a premonition of his own death when he was younger.
Lastly there’s Anne who doesn’t sleep, ever. She’s a very dreamy, eccentric girl but is more than excited to go on an adventure and make some friends.
All of these characters bond and create some very lasting friendships as they quest for their treasure. I loved how positive the friendships were portrayed as well.
There is a bit of a side romance between Elliot and Ruby but I was secretly rooting for it the entire time, they were adorable! I also liked that it was slow burn and didn’t take over the plot whatsoever.
Overall I really did love this book so much, the plot was engaging, and I was 100% invested in the characters.
What I Loved:
- The atmosphere with underlying bits of magical realism
- Dual POVs that really added to the mystery of the plot
- Good pacing
- Fantastic plot twists
- Beautiful, lyrical writing
- Absolutely fantastic, complex cast of characters
- I shipped the romance and it was slow burn!
What I Didn’t Love:
- Some confusing elements of the story
- Couple of plot holes with the character’s back stories
I highly recommend checking this book out, I thought it was just beautiful and very well done. If you want a good adventure/coming of age type of story then check this one out! I also recommend checking it out if you’re a fan of “The Raven Boys”.