“We were watching telly the night Nan burnt the house down. It was March 1974, and I was fifteen years of age. I thought I lost everything in that fire, but what did I know about loss? Nothing, that’s what. I would learn soon enough.”
When Patrick’s Nan burns down his family’s home and they are forced to move into a house they usually rent in the summer, Patrick is sure things can’t get any worse, he has lost everything and his parents are falling apart. However then Dominick, his twin brother, seems to become distant and the two of them receive ghostly visitors, have nightmares and Dom is dying in front of Pat’s eyes. Pat doesn’t know what to do but feels like his nightmares might have something to do with what’s going on, and it’s possible that he has to follow them, into a world that is neither here not the next… Into the Grey.
I wanted a good ghost story when I started Into the Grey and that is exactly what I got, reminiscent of the good old Point Horrors of my day this book will send shivers down your spine and goose pimples to your arms.
The story is fantastic, Dom appears to become possessed or something and the family are that tied up in what they have got going on its only really Pat and their little sister Dee who can see the problem. There’s also a bit of a historical and war literature element to the book which worked really well and had me hooked. I loved that Pat and Dom’s Nan was more than just a doddery old woman who was going senile and had managed to burn the house down, there was more to her than that and it added a lot to the story.
I really loved a lot of the characters actually and for a YA book Into the Grey doesn’t have a great number of young characters, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The older characters added more of an atmosphere, especially as the older they got the more involved with the story they got. I thought Mr Huetson was a brilliant character and I loved that although Lorry was quite young at 20, and Francis at 10, they both felt to be a lot older… and yet quite young at the same time… which probably doesn’t make any sense.
The book was written in a very atmospheric way and I loved the descriptions as they really brought it to live, in a very dull grey kind of a way. Things were always very dull throughout the book, even when there was no mention of ghosts, but that was because the Finnerty’s lives had become miserable. They were going through some awful stuff and it was all very realistic… However my one niggle with the book was with the writing and whilst I understood why it was written in the way it was, especially as it is meant to reflect live in 1974, I thought the writing was very slow and think that a modern day reader used to the high impact, fast paced YA we have available to us, may find it a bit too slow.
Into the Grey was a fatastic ghost story and its clear to see why it was received so well in Ireland when it was first published. Its brilliant to see fiction which has hailed from smaller countries and I have been a fan of a lot of Irish writers I have come across. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more from Celine Kiernan and hope that there is more from her in the future!
Into the Grey was published on August 1st by Walker Children’s Books. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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