Tatiana's Reviews > The Shadows

The Shadows by Jacqueline West
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's review
Feb 23, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: middle-school, fiction, mystery, friendship

Brilliant debut novel by Jacqueline West! I receive plenty of ARC's every year, but very few that leave me satisfied and excited for the follow-up.

SPOILER ALERT!!! This Victorian-esque mystery novel has a brilliant and strong heroine in Olive Dunwoody. She is an average girl with genius mathematical parents, and she feels her ordinary existence as she moves from school to school for her parents career. Olive's parents finally decide to put down some roots, and they choose the most unique, spooky and creepy house to move in to, with Olive having no say in the matter in her parents eagerness to snatch up a house where lonely Miss McMartin died - at the age of 104. Olive soon learns that the house is not normal as she begins to sift through Miss McMartin's belongings, coming across an old pair of spectacles that she soon discovers has magical powers, namely to see old portraits and paintings come to life. Olive uses the spectacles to enter the paintings, and soon thereafter, excitement and danger lurks in every corner. She befriends sweet Morton, a boy who is a part of a painting, a boy who remembers a hazy past, but Olive dismisses him as just a painted figure who wishes for more. Joining their friendship are the wonderful talking cats, Horatio, Leopold and Harvey. Together, they fight the forces that are trying to take over the house and trying to snuff Olive's existence by making her a part of the spooky paintings.

This is the kind of book you should put in the hands of children who are looking for an excellent mystery novel, and are fans of Harry Potter, Coraline, Molly Moon, and books and characters steeped in the mysterious supernatural and magical. I would recommend this book children in grades 4 through 8, although it would be an enjoyable read for any age.

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Reading Progress

February 22, 2010 – Started Reading
February 23, 2010 – Shelved
February 23, 2010 –
page 59
26.34% "Creepy, moody and mysterious; a great read so far! I love Olive, Horatio and Morton and their other-worldly activities."
February 23, 2010 –
page 68
February 24, 2010 – Shelved as: middle-school
February 25, 2010 –
page 76
February 26, 2010 – Shelved as: fiction
February 26, 2010 – Shelved as: mystery
February 26, 2010 – Shelved as: friendship
February 27, 2010 –
page 106
47.32% "Get the feeling that Morton was human once and became stuck in the painting and changed from his human form."
February 28, 2010 –
page 146
February 28, 2010 –
page 194
86.61% "Secrets are being unraveled! Spooky fun!"
February 28, 2010 – Finished Reading

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