THE SHADOW PLACE by Carol Tanzman


Age Range: 14 & up
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“Don’t worry, Lis. In the Shadow Place, we have more power than him. That’s the real magic, Mom says. Nothing bad can happen to us here.” A childhood game of shadows on the wall and made-up stories about them—all with happy endings—provides the title and, ultimately, the hopeful message for this accomplished debut. It is a story that could have turned formulaic and didactic—an abused boy becomes an outcast and goes to school with a loaded gun—but the author keeps it a story of Lissa and Rodney, friends and next-door neighbors since childhood. Their friendship is tested by Rodney’s increasingly violent behavior and Lissa’s attraction to the right group of friends at school, a group that excludes Rodney. Lissa’s wavering allegiances and her pledge to keep secrets ring true. The use of Instant Messages as a narrative device, along with interior monologue in italics and extensive dialogue, adds to the lively and suspenseful pace. By story’s end, Rodney is a mess, and he wishes his life were a shadow story for which he could write a happy ending. But Lissa never abandons him, and together they seek power over the circumstances of their lives. It’s the power of friendship and of staying involved in a friend’s life, even in the most difficult of times, that will resonate with teen readers. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7613-1588-8
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2002