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STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

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Teen Books That Have Something to Say


Shadow

Review

Shadow
by Joyce Sweeney
Bantam Doubleday Del,(1996)
ISBN-10: 0440219868

My rating:



The Quiet began to steal over Sarah, stilling her thoughts. This is how animals think, she realized. Just feelings with no words. The sun, sparkling on the hibiscus leaves, blurred her vision slightly. The wind picked up, gently lifting her hair. The neighborhood sounds began to harmonize into one pulsing rhythm. It seemed to Sarah that the colors around her were dimming, things were blurring together, yet she was keenly aware of motion and a strange shininess, as if everything were alive with its own jumping, dancing energy. She noticed a sharp combination of smells; spiciness from the hibiscus, chlorophyll from the sun-heated grass, a meaty-metallic smell—insects! Sarah felt as if Shadow was there and right at that moment was showing her the words the way a cat perceives it.
--Shadow, Joyce Sweeney, p. 8.

Thirteen-year-old Sarah misses Shadow, her dead cat, terribly. But over the summer, she senses Shadow trying to communicate with her, to tell her something important, something urgent. She gets a sense of foreboding, of something terrible about to happen.

At the same time, tension increases at home. Sarah's two older brothers raise their level of rivalry to the point of hate and life-threatening situations, her parents appear not to notice, and her best friend, who she's starting to fall in love with, doesn't understand or want to believe what Sarah's experiencing. Sarah's parents find out about her visions, and think she's crazy. Her favorite brother, Patrick, seems to understand her, but her lets her down. Only Cissy, the new housekeeper, stays firm in her belief that what Sarah sees and hears is real.

During a chaotic, painful, yet sweet summer, Sarah, with Shadow's help, tries to prevent the nightmare that she senses is coming, and grows in the process.

This is an engaging, satisfying read, full of suspense, tension, and emotion. It is well-crafted and very well written. There are many subtle, added layers that give the story depth and a feeling of actually having happened. Sarah and the other characters are believable and fully rounded; Sarah, especially, is very likeable, and we root for her throughout the book. It also helps that there are some other very likeable characters that support Sarah, and help offset some of the upsetting events and lack of support from her parents. The only thing that felt a little unbelievable was how long it took Sarah to figure out her visions, but this did not take away from the pleasure of a great story.

It felt like Sweeney got right inside Sarah's character, as well as the intense bullying, jealousy, and insecurity between the brothers. The family dynamics, and the events that occurred, felt very real. The parents' emotional absence and lack of awareness of Sarah's internal life also felt believable, and it was a nice touch to have the father meet her part way in the end. There is so much kindness and warmth in this book; it is a heart-warming, intense story. The story is not sugar-coated; it has a lot of depth and realness--yet there is enough kindness and support throughout the book that it becomes a truly enjoyable read. The ending is very satisfying.

This is a wonderful fantasy with psychic elements—a book you won't be able to put down, and won't want to. It is not currently in print; you may need to get in from the library or from a used bookstore online. Make the search; it's worth it. A truly satisfying, enjoyable novel.

-Added September 2004


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