Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell tells the story of a small lobster-fishing town with a cursed lighthouse, though the Grey Man residing in the lighthouse hasn’t actually been acting all that mean in the last 100 years. Mistwalker combines the charm and troubles of a small town with a spunky MC, a family trying to keep from breaking after tragedy, and a dash of paranormal. I absolutely loved the inclusion of realistic high school relationships (and ends of high school relationships), a best friend who just happens to also be a lesbian, and parents who are trying their best despite recently having buried a child. Mistwalker was not at all what I was expecting; it was way better!
Note: I received an eARC of Mistwalker through Netgalley for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell
Published by Harcourt on Feb. 4th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 272 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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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?
- The Grey Man legend isn’t something I’ve read about ever so it was awesome to see this new semi-ghost story angle. The dual POV between Willa and Grey just added a whole new intriguing element. We find out right away that Grey isn’t the cursed ghost that he’s supposed to be, but he definitely isn’t perfect either. Plus, he has power over the fog :D.
- There isn’t much romance in Mistwalker, partially because Willa is in a long-term committed relationship from the beginning, and partially because Mistwalker portrays a typical problem of the end of high school: high school romances don’t always survive. I was thrilled at the realistic portrayal of a couple of romances, which was honestly a breath of fresh air for YA.
- Willa’s best friend is Bailey and she’s gay! I was so so so happy with Bailey as a character since she has a lot of other things going on (applying to colleges, avoiding repairing the brakes on her truck, trying to maintain a relationship into college) and really her romantic relationship could have easily been with a boyfriend instead. Mistwalker is an excellent example of how easy and appropriate it is to have a couple of characters that aren’t straight without it being a big deal.
- I wasn’t really sure how Mistwalker was going to end, but I was so happy that romantic true love didn’t save the day. There is a really interesting parallel drawn between Willa’s experience with Grey and Grey’s experience with the previous Grey Lady that just made me love Willa all the more.
- I know pretty much nothing about lobster-fishing (did you know there are blue lobsters?!?), so it was really interesting to find out a bit more about how all of that works, plus the fun setting of a small town where the elementary/middle/high school is in a renovated mansion, haha.
- Mistwalker is kind of the opposite of action-packed. There is a lot of stress going on for everyone, but things just sort of progress at a normal pace instead of the edge-of-your-seat action that you might expect. I didn’t find myself struggling to keep reading necessarily, but I did keep wondering when the action would start and it just never really did.
- Mistwalker isn’t a book with a happily ever after, so don’t go in expecting that. I was content with the ending and give props for Mitchell staying true to the themes of the book, but there are a few loose ends that it looks like I’ll never get answers for *sigh*.
If the idea of the Grey Man and a small fishing town intrigue you, definitely pick up Mistwalker. Mistwalker does an excellent job of combating so many of the common complaints with YA (absent parents, insta-love, lack of LGBT characters), while creating an intriguing and mesmerizing world for you to discover along with Willa. I will definitely be looking for more books by Mitchell in the future since my biggest complaint is that there probably won’t be a sequel! D:
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Mistwalker by Saundra Mitchell
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