Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: Fog by Caroline B. Cooney

by Caroline B. Cooney

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 220
Publication date: August 7, 2012
(originally published July 15, 1989)
Publisher: Open Road Young Readers
Suggested tags: young adult, mystery, horror

First in the Losing Christina series (now called the Fog, Snow, & Fire series). From Goodreads:
"Will Maine’s historic Schooner Inne Bed and Breakfast be a safe haven for the island kids boarding during the school year—or the end of them all?

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?

{ I received this as an ebook from NetGalley. }

When I saw that NetGalley was offering an ebook re-release of one of my favorite books from my middle school years (written by an author who was a staple on my personal middle school reading list), I was clicking "request" faster than poor Anya descends into madness.

Fog is my favorite kind of horror. It's creepy and eerie and ominous, and you're never quite sure who (or what) is actually evil. The Shevvingtons are, or so it seems. But what about the sea...?

The whole book is one big mind game; the Shevvingtons play it on the island children, and then you as a reader end up sucked into it too. Is Anya really crazy? Are the Shevvingtons responsible for it? Or are they trying to save her? Is the sea really coming after Christina and the others? Or does it just seem that way in their minds?

It's back and forth like this through the whole book. Christina falls under the Shevvingtons' control, then she seems to break away, then despite her best efforts she slips right back into their grasp. No one believes her when she tries to tell others what the Shevvingtons are really doing. No, everyone says, they're helping you. The twist at the end is almost heartbreaking in how cruel and hopeless it is. And through it all, the sea calls for them, through the windows of the old house and from the poster of its image on Christina's wall. ... How could you keep from losing your mind when things like this are happening to you?

And the writing - it's simple and straight-forward, yet so evocative. Cooney personifies the sea in such a creepy and wonderful way. You can't help but start to feel a sort of chilliness and dampness around you as you read, as if the sea is lurking over your own shoulder.
" 'The sea keeps count,' Anya whispered. 'The sea is a mathematician. The sea wants one of us.' "
I read this book a few times when I was younger, and I'll definitely be re-reading it again now that I've rediscovered it. It still gets in my head and makes me question what Christina thinks, just like Christina herself does, and it still gives me chills.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

{ Favorite Quotes from Fog }

"She wanted love, adventure, and wild, fierce emotions that would batter her, as storms battered the island. I am thirteen, Christina thought, I am ready. I want it all."

"Don't they look like ancient island princesses, marked out for sacrifice? Sent away for the sake of the islanders, to be given to the sea?"

"It's been one nightmare after another, Christina thought. Pretty soon I won't be able to keep track of them all."

" 'I have this terrible fear of fractions,' Christina told him. ... 'Miss Schuyler thinks she can conquer it. Also a fear of running out of popcorn. Nothing could be worse than going to a movie and they don't have any popcorn, you know?' 

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