Monday, July 13, 2009

SHADOWED SUMMER by Saundra Mitchell

Shadowed Summer Shadowed Summer
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.

This is definitely one I'll encourage my own kids to read (in ten years), and one I'd feel comfortable giving a girl in grades 6-9 as a gift, even if I didn't know her very well. While I'm not sure parent & grandparent aged folks (male and female) would like to own this volume, they would enjoy it as a quick read from the library.


 Reverie's review; Pub Story with Reviewer X; Juicilicioussss Reviews; and For the Love of Books

5 comments:

  1. I can tell it's a good read from the very first line. Adding this one to my list!

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  2. I have heard many good opinions on this one...will totally be reading it.

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  3. Definitely one of my must reads. Why is my library taking so long with it?

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  4. This looks like a good one. I'll add it to the list of books I'd like to read with my daughter when she gets a little older!

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  5. This looks like a good one. I've definitely been into the paranormal reads, and spooky books this summer. I'll have to add it to my list!

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