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The Figure in the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt, #2)
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The Figure in the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt #2)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,672 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Lewis is sure that Grandpa Barnavelt's 1859 lucky coin is really a magic talisman in disguise. With its power, he could do anything he wanted--like get back at bully Woody Mingo. But as soon as he begins wearing the coin around his neck, strange things start to happen. Mysterious letters arrive in the dead of night. A strange, shadowy figure seems to be tracking him. And w ...more
Hardcover, 155 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by Peter Smith Publisher (first published 1975)
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Robin Hobb
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to The House With a Clock in its Walls. The Figure in the Shadows is just as good, and for many of the same reasons.

There's a good level of scary, the characters come across as real, with their own quirks and difficulties. The addition of Rose Rita to Lewis' circle of friends is brilliant.

These books have been around for more than a quarter of a century. You might think they'd be badly dated, but with a diverse cast of empowered characters, I think they read very well today.
mark monday
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidworld
John Bellairs' series featuring the adventures of young Lewis Barnavelt and his friend Rose Rita is a surprisingly gray and realistic offering, despite the magic and tenderness. in my mind, it is what elevates it: even kids' lit shouldn't always be glowing, romantic wish fulfillment. fiction for children can sometimes have heroes full of self-hate and and reluctance and duplicity. it can have magic that is threatening and that is less of a toy and more of window into a terrible world that kids s ...more
Kater Cheek
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite kiddie/YA book, probably one of my favorite books period.

Louis Barnavelt lives in 1950's suburban Michigan with his uncle, who is a practicing warlock. The next-door neighbor is a witch, and her granddaughter Rose Rita is Louis' best friend. (This book was written LONG before Harry Potter came on the scene, BTW.) Louis is chubby and fearful, and is beat on by the local bullies, but his home life is great. As a kid, I wanted to move in with Louis and his uncle (I probably still do).

Tara Lynn
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great second effort from Bellairs, following the stories of Lewis and Rose Rita through yet another story. As mentioned in other reviews, I think I would have enjoyed the illustrations more if edward Gorey had done them, like he did in the first book. Otherwise, while Mercer Mayer is great, (he illustrated so many of my favorite books, INCLUDING the Great Brain series) he's just not as dark and gothic as Gorey.
In this second in the Lewis Barnavelt series, a figure comes back from the grave when Lewis enables an old Civil War amulet. In a way, these books are amulets of a sort: they bring the very powerful voice of John Bellairs back from the grave to enable, energize, and strengthen the individualistic muscle in every kid--to fight back against bullies and to accept who they are and how they look. Bellairs is a man who can bridge that gap between childhood and adulthood, and help kids over the rough b ...more
Out of the first three Lewis Barnavelt stories this might be the weakest, although it's still interesting, and it carries maybe the most character development for Lewis himself. I don't remember having a problem with this as a child, but the adult characters aren't really characters as much as they are part of the setting, not fully developed with personalities and mostly out of the way when they need to be. Then again, from the perspective of children, are adults much more than that anyway? ;)

Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are a couple of big problems with this book.

It is a sequel so one can't help but compare this book to the original. Now I'm not saying that the original was a masterpiece and this was a drop in quality, rather instead, that the first book established what you were going to get from the series and then the second book didn't deliver any of it. In the first book, the main character's parents die and he comes to live with his lively, caring, magic-wielding uncle and his "friend" who also hap
I was a little sad that this book isn't illustrated by Edward Gorey like The House with a Clock in Its Walls was. This book is the sequel to that one, and introduces us to Lewis Barnavelt's friend, Rose Rita Pottinger, who was mentioned briefly near the end of the first book. Rose Rita is a tomboy who's brash where Lewis is scared; the two are in sixth grade together and the first thing we hear about Rose Rita is that she's been kept after school for "sassing" the teacher. Lewis, meanwhile, is o ...more
Oct 15, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvies, horror, fictions
The second book about Lewis Barnavelt is still fun and cool. The entrance of Rose Rita as Lewis' only friend is nice and their friendship is fun to read. The shadowy figure is a scary dude (just check out the pictures of him). Mercer Mayer's pictures are cool, but overall just had me wondering how Edward Gorey would have illustrated this book. It also felt like the quirky coolness of The House With a Clock in It's Walls had fallen by the wayside. Bellairs' peculiar, Gorey-esque writing in House ...more
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John Bellairs (1938–1991) was an American novelist working primarily in the Gothic genre. He is best-known for the children's classic The House with a Clock in its Walls 1973) and for the pathbreaking fantasy novel The Face in the Frost (1969). Bellairs held a bachelor's degree from Notre Dame University and a master's in English from the University of Chicago. He combined writing and teaching f ...more
More about John Bellairs...

Other Books in the Series

Lewis Barnavelt (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt, #1)
  • The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring (Lewis Barnavelt, #3)
  • The Ghost in the Mirror (Lewis Barnavelt, #4)
  • The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder (Lewis Barnavelt, #5)
  • The Doom of the Haunted Opera (Lewis Barnavelt, #6)
  • The Specter from the Magician's Museum (Lewis Barnavelt, #7)
  • The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge (Lewis Barnavelt, #8)
  • The Tower at the End of the World (Lewis Barnavelt, #9)
  • The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost (Lewis Barnavelt, #10)
  • The House Where Nobody Lived (Lewis Barnavelt, #11)