Book Review: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)

Front cover of The Shadows by Jaqueline West
Title: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)
Author: Jacqueline West
Illustrator: Poly Bernatene
Source/Format: Bought; Paperback
Publisher/ Release date: Dial Books for Young Readers; Jun 9, 2010

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there's something odd about the place--not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own. Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets--and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.
(Read the rest on Goodreads)

What I Thought:

I was looking through some books I have and decided that I wanted to reread them, or finish their series. Right now that series is The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West. I’m pretty sure I read Spellbound before The Shadows, but it doesn’t matter because I’m starting over. 

With writing that kept me on the edge of my seat, The Shadows follows Olive as her parents move into a creepy stone house. A house that came furnished with many secrets and creepy paintings. As I said, this is my second time reading it and I wondered if I still liked it. Actually, it read just as exciting, and creepy as the first time. With the way I wanted to discuss it, it would have been spoiler heavy. So I’ll keep it abstract. I think what I loved most back then was Olive’s curiosity and interaction with her environment. She steadily built confidence to deal with fears and situations that I think some readers, especially middle grade, can relate to.  Even when I first read it, I could tell where it was going with a few particular characters, but there were many things I didn’t see coming. And the end was definitely one of them. I sometimes wondered how Olive was going to get out of her predicament. By the time I was done, I knew I needed the second one.

Over all I really enjoyed rereading The Shadows. If you’re looking for a creepy middle grade, maybe give The Books of Elsewhere series a try.

4 out of 5 thread cones (rating)

Thanks for reading!

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