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Shadow Walkers Paperback – February 8, 2011

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Flux; Original edition (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780738723648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738723648
  • ASIN: 0738723649
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hartinger’s latest combines mystery, romance, and the paranormal into a fast-paced but sometimes messy thriller. Zach finds tiny Hinder Island limiting: he is still considered an outsider, even after two years. His real life is online, where he finds the acceptance and freedom he can’t get at home. When he is grounded from his computer, he feels trapped—until he discovers astral projection. Then, when his little brother Gilbert is kidnapped, Zach tracks him from the astral realm, where he meets Emory, a mysterious boy who’s willing to help. But while they search for Gilbert and form a tentative romance, a shadowy creature stalks them, seeking to possess their physical bodies. Hartinger writes realistic teenagers, and Zach’s humor, shy awkwardness, and longing to connect will resonate with readers. Though Zach and Emory speed to the “l-word,” their relationship is as buoyant as first love should be. Other elements are less convincing, such as the lack of consistency in how the astral realm works and how the kidnapping plot pans out. Still, this quick genre-bender has something for everyone. Grades 7-10. --Krista Hutley

About the Author

Brent Hartinger is the author of eight novels for young adults, including Geography Club (HarperCollins, 2003) and Shadow Walkers (Flux, 2011). His books have been praised by reviewers at top national dailies like USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Oregonian and Seattle Times; leading GLBT publications The Advocate and Instinct Magazine; and top online book review outlets and He is founder and editor of the fantasy website and also writes for, the foremost online outlet for GLBT news. He lives in Seattle.

More About the Author

I am Brent Hartinger, and I live to write.

For the last twenty years, I have made my living writing just about everything that involves words.

My most famous book is probably my 2003 gay teen novel, GEOGRAPHY CLUB, which was adapted into a feature film starring Scott Bakula, Marin Hinkle, Ana Gasteyer, Justin Deeley, and Nikki Blonsky. It was released in selected theaters and on VOD on November 15, 2013.

Geography Club is now the first book in The Russel Middlebrook Series. In order, the stories in the series are:

* GEOGRAPHY CLUB (book #1)

I'm currently launching an entirely *new* series featuring Russel Middlebrook and his friends, called Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years. These books are set six years later (in the present), with the characters in their early twenties. They're also "adult" books, not YA, so they're longer and a bit edgier (but hopefully just as fun and funny). They're also "stand-alone," meaning you don't need to read the earlier books.

These books are:

* THE THING I DIDN'T KNOW I DIDN'T KNOW (book #1, December 15, 2014)

For the record, I try hard to write books that people *like* to read. The most frequent comment I get from readers is that my books are "page-turners," which makes me very happy, because that is exactly what I want them to be. If I had to describe my own books, I would say, "Strong central concept, strong plot, strong character and voice, and usually lots of humor." (I may not always *succeed* in creating these things, but they're what I always strive for.)

My biggest complaint with books I hate is that they don't get to the point (or, worse, they don't have a point!). I get frustrated that so many books have a cliche or overdone central concept, or that they're all atmosphere and world-building (or "beautiful language," in the case of some literary novels) with no real story.

Basically, I see myself as a storyteller. I think the important thing for a writer is to get out of the way and just tell the damn story.

Sure enough, my second great love is screenwriting and playwriting. I've won lots of screenwriting awards and have several movie projects in very active development.

Meanwhile, my plays have been performed at dozens of theaters. And I adapted GEOGRAPHY CLUB into a stage play, which has now been produced all over the country.

In addition, I'm the co-host of a bi-weekly podcast, Media Carnivores, which covers media-related news and opinion (and also honest writing advice and updates on my career).

I sometimes teach writing, in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College and elsewhere.

And I also do a fair bit of charity work, including a brand new enterprise, The Real Story Safe Sex Project, using entertainment and pop culture to help gay teens and twentysomethings fight HIV/AIDS.

I live in Seattle, Washington, with my partner since 1992, Michael Jensen. Together with our friend Sarah Warn, we co-founded a very successful entertainment website called that was eventually acquired by MTV/Logo (but we don't work there anymore).

I answer all emails (eventually), so if you have a question or a comment, if you want to buy a signed edition of one of my books (free shipping in the US!), or if you're interested in having me speak to your school or group, contact me through my website: (There's information about my fees, etc., here.)

My "Official" Biography


His other books include THE LAST CHANCE TEXACO (2004); GRAND & HUMBLE (2006); PROJECT SWEET LIFE (2008); and SHADOW WALKERS (2011).

A feature film version of his first novel, GEOGRAPHY CLUB, was released in November 2013, co-starring Scott Bakula, Ana Gasteyer, and Nikki Blonsky.

Hartinger is also the author of many award-winning screenplays and plays, including a stage adaptation of GEOGRAPHY CLUB, which has received regional productions in Salt Lake City, Edmonton, and many other places. Three more of his screen projects have been optioned for film and are in various stages of development, including his screenplay of his award-winning play THE STARFISH SCREAM.

Mr. Hartinger's many writing honors include being named the winner of the Lambda Literary Award; a GLAAD Media Award; the Screenwriting in the Sun Award; the L.A. Comedy Festival Screenwriting Award; the Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award; and a Book Sense Pick (four times).

Hartinger is the co-host of the Media Carnivores podcast, a sometime-member of the faculty at Vermont College in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and the co-founder of the entertainment website, which was sold to MTV/Viacom in 2006. In 1990, he co-founded one of the country's first gay youth support groups, in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. He also founded and currently runs the Real Story Safe Sex Project.

He lives in Seattle with his partner, writer Michael Jensen.

Customer Reviews

This book is a great, clean read that many could enjoy.
J. Elliott
Brent Hartinger has managed to do the impossible: Write a book combining the best of science-fiction and the classic gay teen novel.
Plot: For how short this book is, I felt like there was a pretty good plot line that involved almost a dual plotline.
Kristen M. Harvey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chad Helder on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm a huge fan of horror novels for young teens--my favorites are works by Bellairs, the Oliver Nocturne series, and My Swordhand is Singing. This novel definitely delivers on the horror front--the monster in the spectral realm is a very unique and very horrifying creation. And like everything in the novel, the monster is informed by emerging gay identity at this specific cultural moment--the astral realm has significant connections with the online realm, and the monster becomes the ultimate nightmare embodiment of online predation and identity theft--I'll stop there for fear of spoilers. The novel also delivers on the gay teen romance front. It's very touching to read a book that I was desperately looking for when I was teenager, but wouldn't appear for a few more decades. I've always admired Hartinger's writing for the portrayals of gay teenagers--and I always wanted him to combine these two fronts in one novel, and this is that novel--a gay teen horror novel. And it's wonderful and scary. Also, this novel is very intricately layered--everything in this novel has significant resonances to gay coming-of-age in the digital age, and he weaves all of this together with great subtlety. But of course it's the layering of themes and connections that make it scary. I had to keep putting it down because I knew that thing was coming back at any second--but of course I had to pick it up again a couple of seconds later.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BrieChez on April 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not going to go into what the book is about because others have done so quite eloquently, but I wanted to add that it was nice to read a gay teen novel where the main plot point is not coming out and one of the main characters is a gay star athlete. (Ironically, I think Kevin in the Geography Club series is the most believable gay athlete in YA lit, but that's sort of beside the point.) Anyway, kudos to Mr. Hartinger for writing a novel that expands the possibilities of just what gay-teen novels can encompass.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By rantboi VINE VOICE on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really liked the author's Russel books (the first being Geography Club), so when I found out he had a new novel coming out, and one dealing with astral projection (one of my favorite subjects, since I've had a few out-of-body experiences myself), I knew I had to get my hands on it. I'm glad to say that it met my high expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I started reading it today and I finished it today. It kept my interest throughout and it had me on the edge of my seat for most of the ride as well. The basic story deals with Zach, a lonely gay teen who find a book on astral projection. Later on his younger brother gets kidnapped, so he astral projects for the first time in the hopes that he might find him. On the astral he meets another astral traveler, a boy named Emory, who helps him in his search. There's also a weird creature that follows him in the astral, that has a very dark past. That's pretty much the bare bones of the story. Most of the book takes place on the astral plane where Zach gets closer and closer to finding his brother, as well as getting closer to Emory, who he finds out is gay as well. Zach and Emory's relationship is very sweet, which nicely contrasts with the kidnapping story and the unknown creature that's following them, which are anything but. I loved this about the novel, because while it was mostly suspenseful, it also had a nice message about love and connecting with other human beings.

Overall, I loved Shadow Walkers. I thought the astral projection element was used very well and in an interesting way. The budding romance between Zach and Emory added a nice lightness to the story. It would be cool if the author wrote more novels with these characters and their astral adventures. I'd be first in line for a sequel!
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By Rob Stauffer on May 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Hartinger takes a fresh, original idea and turns it into gold. Excellent storytelling, engaging characters, just a fun read the whole way through.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book wasn't great but it certainly wasn't as terrible as other books I've read.

I liked the setting, the isolation, and the author's illustration of the main character Zach's reliance on technology to interact with others like himself. I even enjoyed his friendship with the other astrally projecting boy. I also appreciated that the romance didn't seem forced and didn't take over the plot. It wouldn't have been realistic in the least if our protagonist simply forgot about his kidnapped brother and decided to engage in an all-out romance mid-book.

What bothered me was how kitschy an explanation was given for how Zach began to travel on the astral plane. It was never explained fully and seemed too simple an explanation. A little creativity, please?

Also, this is just personal preference on my part, but the ominous creature that provides a bit of a dark spot within the book really did nothing for me. Its origins were uninteresting and it didn't seem to pose as much of a threat as the boys made it out to do. Perhaps this is simply because it's YA, but there weren't enough details to really flesh out this character for me and make me truly dread his multiple appearances.

Overall, it was a nice bit of LGBT YA lit to add to the pile, but nothing in it really made it stand out from the pack.
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