by Saundra Mitchell
February 10th 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 192 pages
0385735715 (isbn13: 9780385735711)
rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared."
Iris spends lazy summer days with her best friend, Collette, practicing spells and magic more to combat boredom than from any conviction in witchcraft. One afternoon Iris is contacted through these spells by the ghost of Elijah Landry. Elijah was born and died before Iris was born, and no one in Ondine knew what happened to him. Along with Ben, Collette's new "boyfriend," the girls work on solving the mystery Elijah's disappearance.
I'm hard-pressed to find anything lacking in this, Saundra Mitchell's debut novel. The pacing moves an original plot along nicely, the characterizations are deft and believable, and I assume that Mitchell's screenwriting background is what makes her dialogue so expertly natural. She writes small-town Southerners authentically, without stereotyping.
What I love most about SHADOWED SUMMER, though, is that that Mitchell doesn't sacrifice an absorbing story for anything inappropriate for her target age group. The 14-year-old girls are aware of boys and kissing, but Iris has reservations about being giggly and fake for them. Iris herself is a darling mix of preteen and teen, tomboy and girl, self-assured and self-doubting. In other words, her character reads just like that of a real kid.
Reverie's review; Pub Story with Reviewer X; Juicilicioussss Reviews; and For the Love of Books