Another wonderful review for Into the Grey. This time from The Bulletin of the Centre for Children’s Books (October edition) Thrilled to be getting such great support from the teachers and librarians and children’s book community of the US (NOTE: there are some spoilers in the review below) :
Kiernan, Celine Into the Grey.
Candlewick, 2014 290p Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-7636-7061-0 $16.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-7636-7409-0 $16.99 R Gr. 8-12
After a fire burns down their home, Irish fifteen-year-old twin brothers Pat and Dom and their family move into the coastal cottage where they’d previously spent summers. Narrator Pat, Dom, and their baby sister Dee all begin to have nightmares: Pat’s take him to the trenches in World War I, where he dreams his own death, but Dom’s nights are worse: he’s not dreaming but being haunted by a ghostly boy, who in a panic slips into Dom’s body. Now a horrified Pat must try to get his brother back and also deal with the distressed soul of young Francis, who is unable to make sense of the world he sees and is desperately searching for his own lost brother. Irish author Kiernan has a taut and atmospheric style, vividly capturing the Ireland of the early 1970s and its earlier twentieth-century shadows. Like Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound of a Girl (BCCB 6/12), this offers a keen poignancy in its revisiting the years of the now old and the long-dead: an old World War I veteran whose suicide attempt Pat and Dom foil, Pat’s dementia-impaired grandmother, and not one but two ghosts converge in a shared past and an array of tragic losses. Also like that book, however, it keeps the young people at the fore, since this is very much Pat’s story of brothers being cruelly, perhaps irrevocably torn apart. The two generations, the young and the old, share the knowledge of what’s happening, and the book mines considerable anxious tension from their attempts to negotiate seemingly everyday situations without betraying the truth to Pat and Dom’s unknowing parents. American readers may not be familiar with the Irish Republican tensions and the period’s cultural landmarks, but they’ll be right at home with eerie, heartbreaking ghosts and a boy’s implacable loyalty to his beloved brother. DS