The Year of Shadows
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The Year of Shadows

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  279 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.

Her mother left, her neglectful father -- the maestro of a failing orchestra -- has moved her and her grandmother into his dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.

Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s he...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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Claire Legrand
Jan 31, 2013 Claire Legrand rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
All right, so I'm rating my own book again, and as I do so, Olivia is standing behind me, looking over my shoulder, peeking out over her sketchpad.

"You're really gonna do that?" she asks. "Rate your own book?"

(At this point, Victoria, elsewhere in my brain, puffs up indignantly, but I shut her up before she can start ranting.)

"Well, I'm proud of this book," I explain to Olivia. "I think it's okay to say so."

Olivia shifts back and forth. She's very quiet. "It was a hard book to live through."

We s...more
Steph Sinclair
Middle Grade fiction and I don't usually get along, which is funny considering their covers are the cutest things EVER. I am one of those people easily swayed by pretty covers and I just can't help clicking that "To Read" button on Goodreads. What can I say? I have ZERO self-control. You should also know that I do not do Horror. Like, at all because I am a total scaredy cat who's afraid of her own shadow. I sleep with a teddy bear and everything. But anyway, for The Year of Shadows I knew I had...more
Giselle
A delightful, yet dark MG novel; The Year of Shadows is dusted with ghosts, entertaining personalities, and an unexpected amount of grave topics which are handled with complete expertise, all through the delicate eyes of a child who is harboring a mountain of pain.

This book is about a young girl, Olivia, who has had to move into this battered concert hall where her father works due to the stupid Economy. Fostering anger towards both her father for bringing her to this dank place, and her mother...more
K.
Middle grade books always get to me. Why? Because childhood and innocence are sacred to me and when injustices are done to either of these two precious things, it's difficult to accept.

Claire Legrand's The Year of Shadows is not a walk in the park. It is not an action adventure that you can read on and off for a few giggles. This is a story of loss. Many losses. Olivia and her Nonnie and her maestro father have moved into the music hall because money is tight and they've had to sell their belong...more
Linda Cohen
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year. That's an understatement if there ever was one.

The Year of Shadows is the story of Olivia and her father, the maestro of a failing orchestra and the year after her mother leaves the family. Oh--and the ghosts! When The Maestro sells the family home and moves his elderly mother and Olivia into the backstage area of the music hall it turns out the place is haunted by ghosts. They're tied to the old crumbling hall, unable to move to the afterlife. The onl...more
Phoebe
This is pretty much the platonic ideal of a middle grade novel, thrilling in its realism even with a heavily paranormal premise--because it remains absolutely emotionally true. An accessibly written story about grief, denial, empathy, art, poverty and family--it's a nice reminder that powerful writing comes not in platitudes about the universal but in the specific lives and struggles of one's characters.

Also: has a very good cat.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
3.5 stars, rounded up for Igor being the awesomest

First up, the disclaimer: yes, I know Claire Legrand and she's awesome, but that did not influence my opinion of the book in any way. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Though I've had Claire's debut novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls for over a year now, I've not managed to work it into my schedule, so I'm glad I've finally gotten to try her writing. Also, I'm pleased to say that I like her writing. Hurrah! Claire Legrand has written a beautiful, oc...more
Morgan Renae
This was cute. And really sad. I'm disappointed, though. It wasn't what I thought it would be. It did have some spooky parts, mixed with ~ghostly fun~. But mostly it was about death, acceptance of family and friends, and love. Which was good, but not exactly what I was in the mood for.

What really made this book shine was the secondary characters. Frederick, Tillie, Jax, Mr. Worthington, Henry, Joan, Mr. and Mrs. Barsky, Nonnie, Igor, and the Maestro. I loved all of them, and the energy they brou...more
Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur)

Update 7-30-13: Thank you, First Reads GR Giveaways and Simon and Schuster for my ARC of the book!


Olivia hates the music hall.
It's cold, dark, crumbling, and brings up memories that she'd rather forget.
And now she's living there.
After Olivia's mother left, her father (whom she refers to as simply 'the Maestro') makes an impulsive decision and sells their house, in the hopes they can save his dying orchestra.
Olivia is forced to live in a dank, depressing storage room with her aging grandmother...more
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 11, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone craving a great tale
In The Year of Shadows, Claire Legrand has produced a worthy follow-up to her excellent The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. The book traces embittered loner Olivia Stellatella’s seventh grade school year, a year in which she discovers ghosts and the meaning of family.

As the book opens in September, Olivia, her orchestra conductor father and Italian-immigrant grandmother have been reduced to living at the back of Maestro Otto Stellatella’s beloved Emerson Hall, a decrepit concert hall that’s h...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
3.5

I'm not very familiar with Marilyn Monroe; I haven't seen many movie of hers nor listened to her songs. Yet, I love the way she talks. And so I'd like you to hallucinate this review in her voice and accent.

The Year of Shadows has a lot to give to those who ask for it.

Unfortunately, I'm not one of those.

The book works on a banal concept, but the execution is diverse and that's where the strength lies.

Olivia Stellatella's is the kid who's having to move into a concert hall, whose mother has ab...more
the golden witch.
This is a book that older MG/young YA desperately needs right now - a book that helps explain what Legrand calls "The Economy", and how it's affecting kids. "The Year of Shadows" is a book that is not only just a ghost story, but is also a very real story about kids in that late tween/early teen age range that is learning to deal in a new world that's let them down, a new reality that has reset everything they've learned thus far about their lives, with some ghosts and a metaphor about moving on...more
Shae/Shelver
Originally reviewed at http://shelversanon.blogspot.com/2013...

I... I'm sorry, I need a moment. I'm still working through all my crazy, flaily feelings over this book. If any of you have read The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girlsand were worried that Ms. Legrand might not be able to live up to her smash debut, worry no more! Though Shadowsisn't on the same level of freaky horror as Cavendishit excels in the same gothic, touching, heartfelt tone as its predecessor.

The star of the show is Olivia S...more
Carina Olsen
I've been dying to read this book for so long. First, because I adore Claire so much. She's just amazing. Second, because her other middle grade book, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, is my most favorite middle grade book. She just writes so perfect. At first I got declined two times. But then today I got accepted for it after all, on Edelweiss. It gave me the happiest feeling. I had to start it right away. And once I started reading The Year of Shadows I could not stop until I had finishe...more
Liz
Katherine Paterson's "The Bridge to Terabithia" + Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" + Neil Gaiman = The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand. I'll get to this equation in a moment.

It's been quite a long time since I have read a children's book, or I guess a middle grade book that has made me stop and pause for a moment. The Percy Jackson series, although fun, didn't really deal with a lot of things like this book has.

For one, Olivia has to deal with a lot of things many children are facing....more
Charlotte (Gypsy Reviews)
Originally posted at Gypsy Reviews

I received an eARC from the publisher, thanks!

The Year of Shadows was such a satisfying and enjoyable read, it was endearing and had some very strong messages about family, letting go, forgiveness and friendship. It is an exemplary example why I love Middle Grade books and will always continue reading them, no matter that I’m way beyond the years for reading middle grade.

Olivia lives in the concert hall now because her father’s orchestra is losing money quick, h...more
Lisa
Olivia Stellatella’s life seems to be falling apart. Her mother left home, and her father, the Maestro, pays more attention to his struggling orchestra than to Olivia. In order to keep the orchestra afloat financially, the Maestro sells their house, forcing Olivia, her father, and grandmother to move into the back rooms of the decaying concert hall. However, Olivia and her family are not the only occupants; there are are four ghosts haunting the hall, and they need Olivia’s help.

This is a nice,...more
Theresa Milstein
This book was close to being a 5. Really creepy and some of Olivia's internal thoughts and the action plot came together beautifully. I felt her internal struggle mirror her external one.

Most of my gripes come from a writer's point of view. No mention of magic for over 30 pages, I think. A few characters aren't mentioned for long stretches. Even with all the main character is going through, sometimes she seems particularly mean and her relationships seemed one-sided. I wanted the grandmother to...more
Nicole
The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand
Simon & Schuster, 2013
Fantasy
410 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

This year I've read around 100 middle grade texts published in 2013. With so many under my belt it is with tons of excitement that I am just now finding another favorite of the year! Last year I was introduced to Legrand through her creepy The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. That story was for older readers, and certainly not for everyone, though I did enjoy it quite a bit.

The Year of the...more
Haziraxoxo
I loved this middle grade book. Apart from the beautiful cover and illustrations, the plot was also well crafted. I don't usually read books that talk about ghosts but I couldn't resist this one.
Linda
Olivia has lost her mother and is angry with the Maestro (her dad) because she believes it was his fault that her mother is gone. When Olivia, the Maestro and Nonnie, her grandmother move into the old music hall with the hopes of reviving the orchestra, they all get more than they bargained for, especially Olivia.

There are ghosts that Olivia befriends and shades that seem to want to do nothing but harm. As Olivia and her human friends, Henry and Joan begin to sort things out disaster strikes sev...more
Tracy
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year. Her mother abandoned ship, leaving Olivia with her aging grandmother and her father, dubbed the Maestro, whose life is consumed with the failing orchestra he conducts. On the edge of financial ruin, the Maestro moves the trio into the crumbling orchestra hall, where Olivia encounters some friendly--and not so friendly--ghosts in need of help.

I absolutely loved this book, and although it had nothing to do with A Wrinkle in Time, I drew some similarities...more
Kent District Library
“12-year-old Olivia’s life is turned upside down when her eccentric, maestro father moves the family into the city’s decrepit orchestra hall. Olivia’s mother has inexplicably disappeared, leaving her grandmother and a temperamental cat as her roommates. To top it all off, the hall is haunted by ghosts who cannot move on from the present without Olivia’s help. Beautifully written with periodic illustrations, this book explores relationships within unconventional families, both alive and those of...more
Linda


This first-reads book is a rather scary children's tale that I suspect the middle school kids it is target to will love. Olivia is 12 years old. She lives with her father - the Maestro - and grandmother - Nonnie. About a year before, her mother left. The orchestra her father conducts is not doing well -- the music hall is in disrepair, ticket sales are declining, and donations have almost disappeared. A situation aided by the state of "the Economy." The Maestro has taken a pay cut and used his s...more
Linda
This first-reads book is a rather scary children's tale that I suspect the middle school kids it is target to will love. Olivia is 12 years old. She lives with her father - the Maestro - and grandmother - Nonnie. About a year before, her mother left. The orchestra her father conducts is not doing well -- the music hall is in disrepair, ticket sales are declining, and donations have almost disappeared. A situation aided by the state of "the Economy." The Maestro has taken a pay cut and used his s...more
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Claire Legrand is carving a name for herself in the genre of creepy MG literature. She is a pro at writing stories with appeal to children and a Gothic horror feel to them. Her latest novel, The Year of Shadows, is a perfect example of this. My split reader personalities had different responses to this book. All of them loved it, but with a qualification (a qualification you can completely ignore if you don't have a child in the intended...more
Shay McClean
A girl whose father is the maestro of a failing symphony has to move into a dilapidated concert hall and sleep in one of the dressing rooms with her grandmother. The place is haunted (aren't all concert halls, probably?) by ghosts, and she and her frien.. er, excuse me, partner.. set out to find them.

I loved this one to pieces. The protagonist is spiky and surly, but in an endearing way, and the plot is easy to follow and satisfying. It's marketed for 8-12 year olds; I'd put it at the higher end...more
Paul Lunger
Claire Legrand's "The Year of Shadows" is an atypical middle school book that despite its length is one that readers of all ages should enjoy. The book involves Olivia Stellatella whose father known as The Maestro is en charge of a struggling orchestra in their home town. The orchestra is struggling so badly that she, her father & grandmother (Nonnie) move into Emerson Hall & live behind the stage in order to survive. When Olivia & her friend Henry encounter 4 ghosts who are tied in...more
Christa (More Than Just Magic)
This review originally posted at More Than Just Magic

Like many middle grade stories, The Year of Shadows starts off with a simple story – a girl, her father and her grandmother move into the town’s philharmonic and find that it is haunted. But that simple story soon morphs into a complex tale that deals with friendship, family, grief and bravery. It is touching and frightening and at times heart breaking. So in a word – perfect.

The star of our story is Olivia Stellatella. Olivia isn’t your stand...more
Melissa
I was lucky enough to win this book in a Goodreads contest. I really liked this book, the concept is one I have not read before. It was a new take on helping ghosts "cross over", and I think the author did an excellent job with it. A few times I got annoyed with the main character, Olivia Stellatella, but then I reminded myself that she was a 12 year old girl and her mother just up and walked out on her and her father one day. She lost the only home she has ever known and is now forced to live i...more
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Claire Legrand used to be a musician until she realized she couldn't stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now a writer, Ms. Legrand can often be found typing with purpose at her keyboard, losing herself in the stacks at her local library, or embarking upon spontaneous adventures to lands unknown. Her first novel is THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, a New York Public Library Best Book...more
More about Claire Legrand...
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“It's a strange feeling, when you hear a good piece of music. It starts out kind of shaky, this hot, heavy knot in your chest. At first it's tiny, like a spot of light in a dark room, but then it builds, pouring through you. And the next thing you know, everything from your forehead down to your fingers and toes is on fire. You feel like the hot, heavy knot in your chest is turning into a bubble. It's full of everything good in the world, and if you don't do something--if you don't run or dance or shout to everyone in the world about this music you've just heard--it'll explode.” 8 likes
“Have you ever watched people when they don't know you're watching them? Like in a movie theater or a concert. When people get caught up in watching something, their faces change. The lines on their faces get softer, because whatever they're watching has made them forget how they think they're supposed to be looking. Instead, they just ARE — just sitting there, listening and watching and being real.” 1 likes
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