Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Review - Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
Published by Delacorte Press
Published: February 10, 2009 (Hardcover), June 8, 2010 (Paperback)
Review based on Hardcover
Rating: 5 Bookcases

Summary from the hardcover: 
Summer in Ondine, Louisiana, is always predictable: hot and boring.

Not this one.

This summer, Iris is fourteen.  This summer, she doesn't have to make up spooky stories for excitement.  because a real one fall right in her lap.

Years ago, before Iris was born, a teenager named Elijah Landry disappeared. All that remained of him were whispers. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she’s convinced it’s the ghost of Elijah.

What really happened to him?

And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris?

Shadowed Summer is a stunning debut novel. It tells the story of fourteen-year-old Iris Rahme, who expects another ordinary, boring Ondine, Louisiana, summer, but finds herself haunted by the ghost of a teenager who disappeared years before she was born.

It was so easy to sink into the story, that right from the beginning I was hooked and read right through to the end. At 183 pages, it is a very quick read. In fact, it was such a quick read that I was disappointed when I got to the end because I wanted to spend more time in Ondine. I usually don’t like ghost stories (I’m a wimp when it comes to being scared), but Shadowed Summer struck the right balance between spooky and mystery.

Ms. Mitchell is a screenwriter and that comes through in her writing because she knows how to set the scene in a way that makes it very easy to picture everything. The characters, especially, were clear and fully developed from the beginning. It was very easy to picture exactly how they looked and sounded. I read Shadowed Summer last fall for an interview we conducted for our library podcast. One thing I learned from the interview was that Ms. Mitchell does amazing amounts of research for her books and it shows. Every detail felt right and added to the depth of the story. As I was reading, I could feel the summer heat, smell the rain and hear the cicadas.

My favorite part of the story was Iris’s friendship with her best friend Collette. Their friendship felt very real, it wasn’t perfect. Iris and Collette definitely care about each other, but they also got mad at and irritated by each other. Their friendship was messy, but that’s what made it feel real and whole because that is exactly how real life friendships are. I liked that this was the main relationship in the story. There was a small amount of romance, but it wasn’t the focus which a nice change of pace from other young adult books.

Overall, I found Shadowed Summer to be a fantastic read. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to mystery lovers, ghost story enthusiasts and readers fond of stories set in the South.


  1. I'm a chicken when it comes to ghost stories too, but this looks VERY good! Thanks for the review!!!!

  2. Really wonderful review! Whoa this book sounds like it has everything I like it in it, especially strong friendships. This is the first I've head about it, so thanks! (:

  3. I haven't seen very much about this book, but I'm definitely going to check it out now! Yay, a real friendship! Sometimes those are hard to find in books. Great review :)

  4. Sara and Library Lurker - I wish more people were talking about this book, it is a great read! Iris and Collette's friendship is one of the best I've read recently. You should read Shadowed Summer, I think you will really enjoy it :-)

  5. What a great review. I recently read Morpheus Road and loved it. It takes a lot to scare me and this sounds like it will be fun in a haunting way. Thanks for the review

  6. I haven't heard of this book before, but it sounds like something I might enjoy. I just love the sound of it and the cover is great. I just added to my tbr list and I probabley will buy it when I'm in a horrormood. :)


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