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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer

Publication Date: April 9, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Stand Alone Novel
Young Adult
Pages: 336
Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.

     For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.

     But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity.
Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Jennifer Archer for an honest review*

Mysterious and mystifying, The Shadow Girl knew how to make the scattered mysteries fit together like puzzle pieces. I had am enjoyable time watching as the mystery unfolded before my eyes and eventually blew me out of the water. Jennifer Archer paced her novel  exceptionally well where there was no way I could have guessed the ultimate secret, it needed to be revealed.

Lily has never been alone in her entire live. A glimmer inside of her, a wave, a voice has been with her from the beginning: Iris, as she calls herself. Living with her parents out in a cabin in the woods, Lily overhears her parents the night before her birthday speaking about things that they have hidden from her over the years, things that Lily will struggle to find out throughout the remainder of the novel after her father is killed in an accident. When Ty Collier comes into her life, also looking for answers, Lily learns the biggest and horrific secret not only about Iris, but about herself. Welcome to The Shadow Girl.

I absolutely adored getting into this book. The mystery sucked me straight in harking on questions that would only be answered later on. The Shadow Girl is a road map of a mystery genre. Certain pieces fit in a certain times, everything carefully pinpointed and evenly spaced so all important aspects weren't being crammed all on one page. Jennifer Archer did a wonderful job with the pacing of her novel, allowing small tidbits to be revealed slowly over time and others that completely took me by surprise. I never like it when my mysteries are spoiled.

Lily's determination to solving what her mother was keeping hidden about her past and Iris's perseverance really kept the plot rolling along. It also really emphasized the persistence of Lily's to really get down to what was being shut away from her, and the reader as well. We're reading her story, you want her to be as persistent as possible but sometimes I feel like Lily was very annoying when confronting her mother about all of these questions right after her father's death. There was a lack of compassion and a lack of respect for her mother, and that downgraded Lily at certain points throughout the novel. Now this is just my realistic mode harping on these little tendencies of Lily, but if there was more of a relationship development between Lily and her mother rather than the badgering and disrespectful persistence that she encompassed, it would have strengthened both characters. Unfortunately some of the character development comes later in the novel, but by then Lily's character had already been formed. It would be beneficial to Lily to have that development, with none of the spoilers, in order to really mold Lily as a much more mature girl in this devastating situation. If my mother was on the edge because my dad just recently passed away, I wouldn't be pounding questions down her throat careless of her feelings and of the situation.

On another note: Wyatt, Lily's best and only friend, was an absolute riot of a character. His snark, his sass, and his outgoing personality just had me loving his appearences on the pages. I also really enjoyed his silly text messages where he'd throw in a random fact of the day. I find myself doing something like that in text messages with certain people from time to time. He made the book playful and pleasant, I liked him a whole lot better than Ty, only because I'm a sucker for the best friend characters. I love the history and the background and the lifelong bonds that form through friendship. I find that those kinds of characters make the story for round for me.

But one thing that I happened to not like was the constant back and forth quirks of emotions for Ty and Wyatt. When there are triangle type love interests I always go for the best friend because there is always more connection and history between the two, but I felt like there didn't need to be this quarrel with love. The book was perfectly enjoyable just with the prolonging mystery. Love triangles can really mess up the flow of a book for me.

Final Summation: An incredibly enjoyable read with a contemporary/mystery mix of genres. Without the love triangle romance sparking between Lily and her two male counterparts, The Shadow Girl would have been a much stronger novel in my opinion. With only the mystery portion to focus on, the novel hit it right out of the park. Well paced with an ending that takes a turn for the unexpected, The Shadow Girl is a book that I will recommend to anyone wanted to be immersed in a well crafted plot and likes being staged in suspense and anticipates the surprise mystery of Lily and Iris.

First Line: Ty Collier shiver as he paused in front of the Daily Grind coffee shop to wipe his boots on the mat beside the door.
Story: S
Cover: A