Charlyn 's Reviews > The Shadows

The Shadows by Jacqueline West
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's review
Feb 12, 2011

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bookshelves: fantasy, fiction, ghost-story, horror, mystery, series, strong-female-character
Read in February, 2011

Olive and her mathematician parents have always lived in apartments. Now they have purchased an old home, complete with furnishings, and it has become like a museum to Olive. A solitary child left to her own devices and without friends of any age in a new location, she wanders through the house and goes through the contents of drawers and closets. She finds it strange that the paintings on the wall are immovable, stuck fast to the walls. She finds it even stranger that the old spectacles that she finds allow to enter into the paintings and interact with the subjects there. That's how she meets Morton, the little boy in a long nightshirt, whom she tries to befriend. And then there are the cats, the talking cats who try to warn her about the perils of staying too long inside the paintings and about other dangers in the house.

Olive's genius parents consider her just an average child because she lacks their aptitude with math. But the reader learns quickly that Olive has spent so much time alone that she is used to solving other kinds of problems. But can she elude the evil that abounds in the old house? And, if the cats are truly a witch's familiars, can they be trusted?

This is a spooky--frightening--tale of survival: one little girl versus an ancient evil. The book will be scary for children on more than one level. First, there is the aloofness of Olive's parents and their total ignorance of all in which she is involved. And why would parents leave an eleven-year-old child alone for the night? Then there is is the evil in the house and the mystery of its source. And once the source is known, there is the fear for Olive's life--more than once. Yes, this IS a scary book.

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