Author: Rachel Karns
Publisher: Self-published through Smashwords.com, April 7, 2011
Pages: 221 p.
Source: The author
Gray opens up with a brief preface about a broken man on his way to a blind date who gets hit by a car. The main story starts with a nineteen year old girl Maggie celebrating her birthday alone. Maggie's parents are vacationing in Europe and all her friends have moved on to college, leaving Maggie alone to work in her Dad's jewelry store and reflect on her empty life. She becomes obsessed with a John Doe in the newspaper--a man who is in a coma after recently being hit by a car--and feels a connection with this unclaimed man. On her 19th birthday she does something crazy and decides to visit him in the hospital. The only way she can get to him is by claiming to be his fiance. Her presence helps him and what started out as a one time visit turns into a full blown relationship. He wakes up, they fall in love, but there's a problem. He's 32. And she's lied about everything. There's a subplot about Peter's job studying the reintroduction of wolves into Idaho that is interesting and helps highlight the differences between the grown-up Peter and still teenaged Maggie.
Although this sounds like a romance story, it's really not romance. This is a coming-of-age story. Maggie is young and needs to do a lot of growing up. She needs to find herself and her own identity, outside of her parents and "John Doe". I wanted her to be happy and found myself agreeing with her actions and wanting her to be with Peter, her "John Doe", but author Karns does the right thing and gives her characters what they need and not what we want. The surprise twist at the end was actually pretty predictable, but still satisfying.
Gray is a short quick read that will mostly appeal to girls, especially the young confused ones who don't know which direction their lives should take. There's nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking, but it's an enjoyable story. And Maggie likes to run, which *always* makes stories better.
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