From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-In Shadowlands (Hyperion, 2012), Rory Miller, her father, and her sister are put in witness protection after she survives an attack by a serial killer. Here, she finds out that she's a Lifer, someone assigned to usher people to the afterlife-to the Light or the Shadowlands-and Juniper Landing is actually a "way station" for people before they move on. Lifers are made by performing selfless acts. In Rory's case, it was killing the serial killer after he caught up with the family before they reached witness protection. Now her relationship with her sister is strained because she cannot tell her or their father about their fate because it would automatically sentence them to the Shadowlands. If that weren't enough of a challenge, bad things start happening after Rory's arrival-plants are dying, hornets show up, and people get sick-signs that a Lifer is "going bad." Then all the people who are ushered, even the completely good ones, are sent to the Shadowlands. Something is definitely going wrong and Rory and her friends are determined to track down the culprits and recover the people who were incorrectly ushered. Although the book can stand alone, most readers will find the beginning confusing unless they have read the first one, but expect them to clamor for the next in the series. Give it to patrons who like their mysteries and suspense with a paranormal twist.-Suanne B. Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FLα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
At the conclusion of Shadowlands (2013), Rory Miller discovered the true nature of the swanky resort island of Juniper Landing: it’s a limbo for the deceased to deal with unfinished business before they move on to the Light or to the Shadowlands. This time, Rory finds out that she is one of the Lifers, chosen to usher souls to their final destination. Being a Lifer is a forever thing; Tristan, Rory’s enigmatic crush, has been one since 1766. But disturbing changes on the usually changeless island herald a coming evil: one of the Lifers is breaking the rules, sending good souls to undeserved torment in the Shadowlands, and some Lifers think Rory is responsible. This suspenseful sequel further expands the island’s mystery and creates some emotional family scenes for Rory; her romantic angst, however, feels out of place among more serious events. Interludes from the rogue Lifer add little of significance to the story, which ends with another cliff-hanger that, though somewhat unsatisfying, will nevertheless create buzz for the third book. Grades 8-11. --Krista Hutley