Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on February 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
When Willa Dixon’s brother dies on the family lobster boat, her father forbids Willa from stepping foot on the deck again. With her family suffering, she’ll do anything to help out—even visiting the Grey Man.
Everyone in her small Maine town knows of this legendary spirit who haunts the lighthouse, controlling the fog and the fate of any vessel within his reach. But what Willa finds in the lighthouse isn’t a spirit at all, but a young man trapped inside until he collects one thousand souls.
Desperate to escape his cursed existence, Grey tries to seduce Willa to take his place. With her life on land in shambles, will she sacrifice herself?
If you are tired of reading the same style of young adult book over and over again, then you simply must read Mistwalker. I went into reading it thinking it would be the standard young adult fare and I was so pleasantly surprised by what I read instead. Should I even go into that? Would it or will it ruin any surprises if I do? Ok I guess I have to in order to get the point across as to why I love it – so read the review no further if you want to have your own surprises. If you decide not to just know that the standard tropes aren’t used and this is not a YA romance but a coming of age story.
Willa is our heroine, but as you’ll find out quickly right now she is not everyone’s best friend. She’s pretty much on the outs with everyone. She got herself into a bit of trouble a few months ago and unfortunately, her younger brother is the one that paid the ultimate price…
Due to this tragedy her family is in utter turmoil, emotionally as well as financially. That is exactly what I loved about Mistwalker, it wasn’t just about Willa it was about her family. Where you would expect most YA books to have a heavy romantic element, and I really was expecting that, I kept on thinking any moment all the romance is going to roll out and smack me on the head out of nowhere. It just doesn’t and I found that SOO absolutely refreshing. Because it fools you, or at least it really did fool me. How did it manage that? The premise! An aching captive soul, The Grey Man is cursed to remain on the lighthouse island until he collects a thousand souls or has someone willingly take his place. Willa loves the sea and is drawn to the island. Sounds like a recipe for star crossed love right? Of course that is exactly what I thought I would get, tormented love. When I didn’t get that, even at every turn I kept thinking it was somehow going to be forced in there, I was so pleased when it never happened that I was just plumb tickled pink. Relieved, Elated, stretching out like a contented cat that finally got some cream kind of moment there when I finished I have to tell you.
Essentially, Mistwalker is about growing up, trying to do the right thing, knowing that things aren’t going to work out the way you always thought, or wanted them to, and self sacrifice. This to me is what really makes really good young adult literature. Because it is these types of things that young adults go through, the rights of passage that make you into an adult and not just the teenager they once were. Throw in some local urban myths or legends with a little dose of magic and I was given the perfect recipe for a book I couldn’t put down from start to finish.