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Shades of Simon Gray

3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  349 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Simon Gray is the ideal teenager — smart, reliable, hardworking, trustworthy. Or is he? After Simon crashes his car into The Liberty Tree, another portrait starts to emerge. Soon an investigation has begun into computer hacking at Simon’s high school, for it seems tests are being printed out before they are given. Could Simon be involved?

Simon, meanwhile, is in a coma — bu
Paperback, 259 pages
Published January 14th 2003 by Laurel Leaf (first published 2001)
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Jan 16, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
"His fear was replaced with a sense of wonder,a sense of absolute freedom. He felt himself being lifted right into the air.(13)" This quote gives you a sense of what Simon Gray was thinking before he crashed. It makes you wonder if it was his intention or not to go into The Liberty Tree. Simon is left in a coma, and his friends begin to freak out. Simon is a very smart high school student. His friends and him, begin to hack into the school computer systems. They found out how to get tests early ...more
This was an interesting story premise. On a night with an insane uprising of peeper frogs, Simon Grey crashes his car into the "hanging oak" a massive oak tree where according to local legend a murderer was hanged the day after committing a crime. He ends up in a coma at the local hospital.

However he is not exactly the nice and perfect boy everyone thinks he is, he has with several friends who are seniors hacked into the school's server. This allows the students involved to access tests that the
Borun Sun
Oct 26, 2008 Borun Sun rated it liked it
this book is about a guy named Simon who hacks into the school's computer system and helps his firends get into the schools they want to until he gets into a coma and the school finds out that someone is hacking into the system and Simon's friends are hoping he deleted all the evidence
Nov 24, 2007 Cecy rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading this interesting book.It's about choices good and bad and the prices we're willing to pay to get what we want.
Feb 04, 2016 Salsabrarian added it
Shelves: ya, mystery
Simon Gray is in a coma after his car slams into the Liberty Tree. His uncertain status stresses Devin, Kyle and Danny who recruited Simon and his computer expertise to help them cheat for good grades and ultimately be accepted by good colleges. When the police come around to question them they worry even more about being found out and whether Simon knew to conceal the evidence. Also bound up in the story is the background and true story of Jessup Wildemere's tragic hanging from the tree by city ...more
Catie Klub
Sep 12, 2011 Catie Klub rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There was nothing interesting about this book. Nothing about it kept me going and wanted me to finish reading.
Jun 22, 2014 craige rated it liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
I bought the book because it was written by the woman I took a writing class from this January. I marvel at her ability to craft a captivating story and I'm sure that as a teen I would have thoroughly enjoyed the book. I remember adoring a book as a kid in which there was out of body travel. Perhaps it's just that I'm not much into YA fiction these days or that it's not written for adults, but I found things to be massively over explained and that took away from my enjoyment of the book. Anyway, ...more
Annabelle P
Jul 17, 2016 Annabelle P rated it liked it
It's not that this was a bad book, it's that it wasn't a good book, not in the sense of page turning, rip-roaring pace, or in the sense of a thoughtful book that makes you think something you've never thought before or touches on some raw emotion. It isn't poorly written, there's just nothing extraordinary about the writing style. It's not that the book is bad, it's that the book was nothing extraordinary.
Courtney Johnson
Jan 20, 2016 Courtney Johnson rated it it was ok
This book was ok. It was an easy read but I never really got into it. I didn't really care what happened to the characters. I was glad that Simon woke up and we found out what really happened to Jessup, the man who was hanged 200 years ago. I thought the frogs and the crows invading the town was really weird. I will not be reading this book again.
Jul 06, 2013 Andersreads rated it liked it
This book does a nice job of two things: raising questions about the ethical dilemma of cheating and the use of symbolism. Simon Gray drives into an old tree (on purpose? accidentally?), wrecks his car, and winds up in a coma. Simon was behind a "project" that allowed several of his friends to get good grades in school through access to tests, etc. This then allowed these friends to be accepted into Ivy League schools. But while Simon is in a coma, the school begins investigating who was behind ...more
Sarah Nagy
Apr 11, 2011 Sarah Nagy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and think advanced middle school or early high school students would like it too. It deals with high stakes cheating in a high school as well as issues of friendship and guilt that surround the group of students involved in "the project" of cheating continuously. The characters are well developed gradually throughout the book through an omnicient third person narrator. While I get the symbolism of relating Simon to the young man who was wrongfully hanged because he lov ...more
'S just my opinion
It is nicely written and has a good moral, but I never really cared about any of the characters. While it's a good one for my kids to read, I don't find it interesting enough to read again.
Apr 10, 2014 Melinda rated it really liked it
Unique story, pretty good.
Jill Cd
May 18, 2014 Jill Cd rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, chapter-book
Jun 30, 2009 Julia rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teenagers and adults
Recommended to Julia by: 8th grade Language Arts teacher (Mrs. Lockwood)
Shades of Simon Gray by Joyce McDonald is a fantastic young adult read. I would recommend this book to ages 14 and up. My favorite thing about this novel is the amazing description. If you are interested in reading this book you should be aware that it is a difficult read, and it also switches from different points of view (who is actually telling the story). To read a full summary of Shades of Simon Gray follow this link:
Devan Struppler
i liked the imagery in this book, and it sort of had a magical realism twist that was interesting. the ending was a little rushed and i think it should of been longer after all that had happened during the book, and for some reason it ended all happy and i don't think that should've happened because it made the resolution a little too unrealistic for my taste. it's an interesting book to read, though, and i do recommend it to people who want an easy read that gets you thinking.
Lauren RM
Sep 13, 2011 Lauren RM rated it liked it
Stark and cataclysmic feeling, the story hovers the line between human and fantasy. The boy parents love to love and his fellow students would love to hate "accidentally" runs into a tree and then you get to see all the lives he has thrown into relief and changed while he himself does nothing in the land of the living, but unearths the secret behind a local murder legend while in the land of the dead. I don't quite know what to make of it.
Dec 29, 2009 Abbie rated it liked it
Shelves: youngadult, fantasy, death
This is an interesting book about justice, guilt, and the reasons people do things. It mixes two stories. The first is a group of modern-day teens involved in a cheating ring who use Simon Gray to achieved their purposes. The second is a hanging from the 1700's. As the story progresses, both mysteries are revealed, and the towns people experience Biblical style plagues as punishment for past misdeeds.
Sep 27, 2010 Madeline rated it it was ok
I read this book in school and was really not liking it. There are fourteen chapters and I was bored for about nine of them. Finally around chapter ten it started getting better an redeemed the book a little bit. By chapter thirteen I was enjoying it but the ending was disappointing because there were a lot of loose ends. Overall an ok book but not one I would chose to read by myself.
Shane Curren
Jan 31, 2013 Shane Curren rated it did not like it
Save yourself time and money, this novel is worth neither. The plot is shifty and presents situations that have little importance to the overall development of plot. The novel ends up being one big flashback of sorts, and hardly an enjoyable one.
Mar 26, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok
I read this in middle school--close to ten years ago, and loved it. The juxtaposition between the investigation and Simon's dream is great. It's a little advanced for junior high kids because of the content, but it's a great book to conquer.
Apr 21, 2013 Tasia rated it it was ok
Read this a few years ago. From what I remember, the book didn't really stay with me after I read it. Simon's adventures in his coma state were cool, but I was more worried about the other people involved in his accident than anything else.
Bryce Balenseifen
Sep 30, 2014 Bryce Balenseifen rated it it was amazing
one of my favorites of all time. love it.
Jun 19, 2009 Icka rated it it was ok
It was alright. Not my kind of genre, but I got it as a christmas gift. I found the main characters experiences in his "coma state" or dreams or whatever less interessting than the evens happening without him in it.
Nov 04, 2010 Thea rated it it was ok
It was okay. There were bits that really annoyed me -- like the kid who was a pot smoker but kept calling it marijuana. Predictable story, sort of a After-school Special feel.
Amelia Smith
Sep 12, 2013 Amelia Smith rated it it was ok
It had a lot of potential and a really good atmosphere but the descriptions became really repetitive and the pay off at the end wasn't good enough to be worth it.
Nathan Ripley
Jan 31, 2013 Nathan Ripley rated it did not like it
This is probably one I the worst books I have ever read. It seemed like the storyline was all over and I couldn't figure out the symbols and what they meant.
Rebekah Harris
Apr 20, 2011 Rebekah Harris rated it really liked it
Filled with Biblical allusions and morally compromising situations, Shades of Simon Gray is a mystery I plan to keep on the shelves for a long time.
Oct 07, 2010 Emily rated it it was ok
This guy runs into a tree and is in a coma, and his high school friends are in a lot of trouble for what they did, if they are going to get caught.
Apr 08, 2010 Denise rated it really liked it
This is a great book about ethics: cheating, drugs, stealing, deceit. It's interesting to watch the characters rationalize the bad things they do.
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There is more than one author with this name

Born in San Francisco, CA, and raised in Chatham, NJ, Joyce McDonald received her BA and MA from the University of Iowa, and went on to complete her Ph.D. at Drew University. She is the author of several books for children and young adults, among them the award winning Swallowing Stones, and the Edgar Award Nominated Shades of Simon Gray. She has taught
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