Book Reviews

Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott (Spoiler-free) Review

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 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 novel about friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth about their deepest secrets. The beginning starts off with Ruby’s twin sister, Sadie’s death. (This isn’t really a spoiler as it’s in the synopsis along with being in the very first pages of the book.) This death sets up the whole story. On Sadie’s deathbed, she makes Ruby promise to find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

Fast forward to the present, Ruby stumbles across a treasure map; the map for the rumored treasure of Gray Wolf Island. Sadie was the outgoing sister while Ruby was more of the quiet type. By forcing Ruby to promise to find the treasure, she also forces Ruby to break down her boundaries of comfort and get out into the world. In the beginning of the book, Ruby’s only friend was her sister. Knowing she can’t find the treasure alone, she asks for help from some other kids her age. Together, Ruby and her friends set off to the island to hunt for the treasure. 

This book fits into the magical realism genre. Ruby’s friends are more than ordinary. Gabe Nash is rumored to have been born to a virgin mother, Elliot Thorne has mysterious ties to the island, Charlie Kim foresaw his own death, and Anne Lansing never sleeps. I loved how this group didn’t start out as a group of friends, but as the story went on they became close. The way the friendship developed throughout the course of the novel was just wonderful. I loved the friendship aspect. 

This book wasn’t only about a treasure hunt. It was about Ruby overcoming her grief and breaking out of her shell. She was able to finally make friends with people other than just her sister. Ruby’s grief was real and raw and was wonderfully represented throughout the story. I also loved the part of the book where the characters were able to confess their deepest darkest secrets with each other. This just showed that no matter how bad the secret, there is always those who will accept you for who you are. I also appreciated the fact that the characters were able to accept what they’ve done and forgive themselves. 

This book was a fantastic story of adventure, friendship, love, and grief. I loved every minute of it! I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and Tracey Neithercott for an advanced copy of this book.


34 thoughts on “Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott (Spoiler-free) Review

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