Original Title: Shadow, Shadow
Year Published: 2015
Published by: All Night Reads (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley)
Number of Pages: 203
First Sentence: “A girl is trapped in a box, only she doesn’t know that she’s trapped because the box is all she’s ever known.“
Goodreads Rating: 3/5
“The four of you have been blessed with a great gift. Well, it’s a gift for you, but a curse for someone else.”
Harley receives a mysterious gift on her sixteenth birthday–a shadow box. The box gives her the power to trade someone to the shadows, meaning they will disappear and cease to exist. Harley can’t imagine doing such a horrible thing and is warned that using the box comes at a price. Unfortunately, not using the box can be even more costly. Harley must make this life-altering decision as she discovers frightening revelations about the town she calls home.
The plot of this book is really interesting and the basic idea is very good. However, the execution is lacking. The development of the plot is choppy and sometimes there are jumps that leave out a lot of relevant information. It makes it a little bit weird and a bit annoying. I do know that the books intended audience are readers from the age 13 and up, but the language sometimes feel too childish or just too simple. Teens are very good at reading or should be, so the language does not necessarily need to be dumbed down (which is an overall note, not just applicable to this book).
The characters are very clichéic, they are the typical kind of characters that you’ll find in a YA-book. The bad girl who is just misunderstood and actually a good girl, the jock who is the perfect kid in every way, the know-it-all nice girl who starts off as an enemy to the bad girl, and finally the quiet nerdy girl who everybody loves to bully. This does not necessary mean that the characters are bad. In fact, the characters are ok but kind of flat. The author tries for some development but if falls short or is just slightly over the top.
The plot is actually what makes this book worth reading. It is very interesting and is actually quite captivating. Four teens get a mysterious box which they are told kind be used to get rid of one person they hate. Three of the kids are horrified, but one loves the power the box brings and is quickly consumed by it. They also learn that there is much more to their little town than one might first think and that it seems like no-one but they are aware of it. Like I said, the basic plot is very good, it is just the execution that could have been better.
Do I recommend it?
Sure, why not? It could serve as a good gateway into fantasy and the paranormal for young teens.