by Caroline B. Cooney
Plot Summary:Christina Romney is thirteen, with a personality that matches her unruly but charming tri-colored hair. She is about to start seventh grade, and for kids from Maine’s Burning Fog Island, that means leaving their little white schoolhouse for regular classrooms and life on the mainland. Everyone assures Christina it will be a fantastic year. Mainland school offers great advantages, after all: extracurricular activities other than boating and fishing, a gym, a cafeteria, and more kids her age. Best of all, this year the boarding students will live at the historic Schooner Inne, a former sea captain’s house (and now a bed and breakfast) recently bought by the school’s charismatic new principal and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Shevvington.
But Christina is apprehensive. She adores the wildness and excitement of her island life. Boarding with her island friends will surely help: Anya, a beautiful senior, fifteen-year-old Benji, the aspiring lobsterman, and his crush-worthy younger brother Michael. But Christina’s apprehension sharpens when Benji and Michael aren’t as friendly as they used to be on the island, and Anya starts acting so strangely it seems she is slowly losing her mind. Christina is increasingly certain the Shevvingtons are behind all of these changes. But no one else can see the Shevvingtons’ eerie behavior—not other teachers, not her parents, not even her fellow island kids. Is Anya the one going crazy in the Schooner Inne—or is it Christina?
Expectations:I used to read Caroline Cooney's books a lot when I was in high school. I was especially enamored with her novel Both Sides of Time, a wonderful time travel romance. It is a series, but I think the first book is the best. Anyways, when I saw this book offered on Netgalley (it’s a reissue) I was excited to revisit Cooney’s work.
Review:Fog is all about atmosphere. A gradual, suffocating horror is pervasive and unrelenting, and fantastically created by the author. It’s not over the top, and the nature of menace and even the purpose is unknown. This first book of the trilogy is just about the result and Christina’s fight. Christina, who is only thirteen, has to withstand the mental onslaught of the evil Shevingtons, and try to save her gradually fading friend, Anya. It’s a ridiculously absorbing read, yet frustrating because Christina, though such a strong personality, is in a weak position and I really feel for her predicament. And not understanding exactly why and how the Shevingtons wield their uncanny influence is especially frustrating.
This book is an interesting psychological study, and also has an unique brief writing style, that gets into the heart of the characters feelings with very vivid, descriptive prose. The story’s disturbing understated horror stems from the onslaught against children and the gradual unravelling of the human mind.
review copy kindly provided through NetGalley