Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
Two years after a deadly plane crash, best friends D and Spider head into the mountains to face their grief. A gripping psychological thriller for fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie.
D and Spider have always been close friends, and they are further united in their shared heartbreak: they both lost siblings in a horrific plane crash two years earlier. A chance sighting of a beloved cuddly toy in a photograph of the only survivor spurs D to finally seek closure. She and Spider and their friend, Min, set off on a road trip to the mountainside site of that terrible crash.
Ariel has lived on the mountain all her life. She and her extended family are looked down upon by neighboring townsfolk and she has learned to live by her wits, trusting few people outside of her isolated, survivalist community. A terrifying attack sends her down the mountain for help; on her way, she comes upon the three girls -- a chance encounter that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.
About the author
Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Canada. She spent many years in San Francisco and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for a punk magazine, and owned her own gangster rap/indie rock record label. Somehow she found herself on Nova Scotia’s beautiful, inspiring south shore with her kids and two dogs. Her most recent book Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic adventure, was published by Scholastic Press in 2011.
- Short-listed, Arthur Ellis Award - Best Juvenile/Young Adult Crime Book
- Short-listed, Governor General’s Literary Award - Young People’s Literature - Text
Excerpt: The Grey Sisters (by (author) Jo Treggiari)
It was nothing really. Her ears closed up and then she felt a discomforting pressure like a rough, heavy hand on the top of her head. She tried swallowing repeatedly to equalize the pressure in her ears and then rummaged in her bag for some gum. She didn’t find any. Instead, she discovered Floppy Monkey stuffed down at the bottom with a spare pair of thick woolen socks.
D must have snuck him into the bag and kept Floppy Giraffe with her. They were ancient stuffed toys knitted for them at birth by their Nonna. They normally lived on the bookshelf, but not when the girls were sick or one of them was traveling solo. Kat smiled to herself. He was almost as good as having her twin sister sitting right there beside her, and she wished she could cuddle with him unnoticed for a minute but that was unlikely. She touched her fingertip to her lips, pressed a kiss onto his poor worn head, and hid him away again.
It was a small plane, and the twenty-eight kids and two teachers filled it completely. That was half of the tenth grade; the other half were building houses for low-income families, but she’d done that in grade nine and quickly realized that she wasn’t compatible with power tools.
Next to her, Jonathan interrupted the contemplation of his heavy book and swept his gaze around the crowded airplane. “G-force,” he said, staring at her with his amber eyes. His heavy-framed glasses magnified them hugely. It was unsettling, like looking at a praying mantis close up. Funny how, even though he and his just-eleven-months-older sister, Spider, shared an undeniable family resemblance — same eyes and brows, same strong features and dark hair — Jonathan hadn’t grown into his face and body yet. It was as if he was wearing a skin suit a few sizes too big and it made him ungainly and awkward. Spider was the opposite of that, sure and graceful in her movements. “You know, gravity.”
Kat grunted. He was always saying weird things and then not explaining them. This time though, he continued. “But are we going up or down? Roller coaster?” He moved his hand in a wave motion and pursed his lips.
She had no answer, nor could she be sure he was even talking to her. More like at her. Spider always said Jonathan was on his own trip, and barely noticed other people. He even referred to them as humans for chrissakes, as if he were from outer space or something. And being so smart, he’d gone straight from eighth grade into tenth — their grade. It was something he never let any of them forget.
Still, they’d all grown up together on the same cul-de-sac and Kat got him, or at least more than most.
“Is your seat belt on?” he asked, poking at her upper arm.
She lifted the corner of her shirt to show him and returned her attention to the thick notebook open on her lap. It was her idea book, stuffed full of images and clippings. Everything and everyone she drew inspiration from. At the moment, she was totally in love with Mexican floral embroidery and Yayoi Kusama’s crazy polka dots. Sometimes when she was snuggled under the covers in her bed, she saw flowers and butterflies imprinted on everything. A glorious world of movement and color.
The plane dipped, propelling her stomach into her neck.
Two rows up, she could see the back of Henry Chen’s tousled head, John Brewster’s hand high-fiving him. The noise of chatter washed over her, transforming the cabin into an even smaller space.
Surely they must be getting close? She estimated they were somewhere near Spectacle Lakes. Her Nonna had told her that they were so blue they were like a slice of heaven.
“Treggiari. . . offers chills both subtle and shocking, and readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough.” --Kirkus Reviews
“A worthy addition to any classroom, school, or home library, is a well-developed psychological thriller filled with unexpected plot twists that will leave readers guessing right until the very end. . . . Highly recommended.” --CM Magazine
"Dark and gripping. . . . [R]eaders will have a hard time putting the book down." --School Library Journal
“Treggiari’s writing is excellent in the execution of this psychological thriller. The Grey Sisters is definitely perfect to elicit readers to think and wonder about many things: life, relationships, hope, family, but most of all survival and consequences.” -- Resource Links
“There’s a punk sensibility on offer here, a raw look at our society’s underside. She keeps the pace of the Governor General’s Award–nominated book brisk, with raging bears and shootouts, but she has also given the human sisters who go on this pilgrimage distinct — and nuanced — approaches to the grief they’re trying to weather.” --Globe and Mail
"I'd recommend The Grey Sisters to anyone who enjoys thrillers, strong female characters, and true crime" --Midwest Book Review