SHADOW, SHADOW by V.B. Marlowe – BOOK REVIEW

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SHADOW, SHADOW : Book One of the Shadow Pines Trilogy

Author: V.B. Marlowe

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fiction

Length: 203 pages

Release Date: February 16, 2015

Publisher: All Night Reads

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I feel that I must start my review of this book with a comment about the cover. It is absolutely stunningly gorgeous. In fact, it was the cover that first drew my attention to this book. This is exactly what cover artists strive to achieve; to set their book somehow apart from, and above other titles of the same genre. This goal has been achieved with the amazing cover for SHADOW, SHADOW. The colors draw the eye and the silhouette of Harley and the shadow box on the cover portrays the perfect balance between mystery and whimsy.

Harley Fox is about to turn sixteen. On the morning of her birthday she learns through her school’s morning announcements that she shares her birthday with several other students including the highly popular Brock Ethan, silent and strange Teaghan Porter and class president, Gianna Mancini.

When Harley arrives home from school it is obvious that her birthday has been forgotten by her step-mother. Her father has been called in to work and her half-brother Preston is only a baby, so it quickly becomes apparent that there will be no sweet sixteen celebration for Harley.

In the mail she received a birthday card addressed to her with a note inside that read: “In honor of your birthday, you are invited to the grand opening of Mr. Enigma’s Novelty Shop. The store will be closed just for you and a few others so that we may present you with a special gift.”

Harley decides to go to the Novelty Shop. It is a new addition to the town of Shadow Pines and Harley is looking forward to seeing the items it offers for sale.

When she arrives at Mr. Enigma’s she is surprised to find that she was not the only one who had received the birthday notice. Brock, Teaghan and Gianna had all been invited as well.

They are each given a shadow box. This box supposedly gives them the power to trade someone to the shadows. Once they do, that person will disappear forever leaving no trace of themselves behind.

They are also told that if they do not use the box there will be dire consequences and that someone they love will be traded to the shadows instead.

Harley (and the others) must struggle with their consciouses to decide what to do.

This book is a terrific young adult fantasy story. Imagine mixing the roiling emotions of the teenage years with the power to make your enemies disappear. This is teen angst on steroids.

‘Shadow, Shadow’ is very well written. It is exactly just right for the young adult readership. The town of Shadow Pines will both intrigue and entice readers deeper into the story. What exactly is going on in this small town? What are the shadows? And where did they come from?

Why was Harley chosen as the keeper of the shadow box? Should she use it? On who? And what will happen if she decides not to use it?

There are several things I like about this story. First and foremost is the fact that the teenagers in this book are NOT perfect. The majority of teenage characters in recent books are portrayed as perfect. This is so far from reality that it is laughable.

**** SPOILER ALERT ****

The second thing that I like about this book is that the characters display realistic emotions. Harley has a verbally and physically abusive boyfriend. In most young adult books a girl with an abusive boyfriend immediately ‘wises up’ and dumps him. In this book Harley is conflicted. She loved him once. In fact, in some ways she still loves him. She knows she needs to break up with him, but she keeps putting it off. This is very realistic. People in abusive relationships often have difficulty in breaking free from the abuser.

I also like the way the author portrays the various family dynamics. She does a terrific job of illustrating the fact that the public personas that people see are often completely false. She also details the complex feelings that can arise when families are blended and new parental figures and/or step-siblings are introduced into a teen’s life.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Since this is only the first book in a trilogy, I will be eagerly awaiting the next two books in the series.

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