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The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1) Hardcover – Deckle Edge


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Frequently Bought Together

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1) + Spellbound: The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 2 + The Second Spy: The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 3
Price for all three: $38.96

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Printing edition (June 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803734401
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2010:  Hair-raising adventures can be found close to home this summer. Soon after 11-year-old Olive Dunwoody moves into a rundown Victorian mansion with her nerdy mathematician parents, she realizes something isn’t quite right. It's full of oddities like strange paintings hanging on the walls and a trio of talking cats lurking in the shadows. While Olive's parents busy themselves solving math problems, she decides to work out the mysteries of the dusty old pictures by plunging headlong into the world on the other side of the frames. But, will she be able to escape the hidden dangers of Elsewhere? From the first few pages of The Shadows: The Books of Elsewhere, middle grade readers will be hooked on this spooky new series. --Lauren Nemroff

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Olive Dunwoody and her mathematically minded parents move into an old Victorian home complete with the deceased owner's furnishings. Olive first notices that something is wrong when she can't take the paintings off the wall. She sees things moving in them. Then, while rummaging through the drawers, she finds a pair of glasses and tries them on. Olive can now enter the paintings and talk to the people in them. She is warned by a talking cat named Horatio not to spend too much time in there or to lose the glasses. She meets Morton in a painting and learns that he was forced into it because of a conversation he overheard. Olive is determined to find out more about the house and its history. But who can she trust? Her neighbors, the talking cats, or the people in the paintings? The expressive black-and-white illustrations contribute to the overall spooky mood of the story. The plot moves quickly as Olive pieces together clues. Recommend this book to reluctant readers and fans of Neil Gaiman's Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002).—Samantha Larsen Hastings, West Jordan Public Library, UT
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

More About the Author

Visit JacquelineWest.com for event booking and additional information about Jacqueline.

A two-time Pushcart nominee for poetry, Jacqueline West lives in Red Wing, Minnesota. The Books of Elsewhere, Jacqueline's award-winning fantasy series for young readers, is published by Dial in the USA and will also be published in Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Russia, and Catalan.

Jacqueline's poetry has appeared in a variety of print and online publications and has garnered several awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg prize and two Pushcart nominations. Cherma, her series of poems about Wisconsin's Bohemian immigrants, was published by the University of Wisconsin's Parallel Press chapbook series.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable book to read aloud to the family.
nicole m
I'd recommend this to anyone with children, or anyone who just likes a good book.
Jack
Jacqueline West displays her writing talents beautifully in her debut novel.
KidsReads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on July 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Eleven-year-old Olive Dunwoody leads a lonely life. She is blessed to have the love of her parents, but they are very dedicated mathematicians who work at the university, so she doesn't have much in common with them. She also doesn't appear to have much luck making friends. The kids at school and in the apartment building never want to include her, even when the teachers insist. And as soon as Olive steps away, they seem to forget all about her.

With her record for making friends (or the lack thereof), Olive isn't expecting any different results when her parents buy the ancient mansion on Linden Street and they move into the new neighborhood. It will be just the three of them in this huge house, and the loneliness looms in all of the strange corners and empty rooms. It must have been similar for the previous owner; old Ms. McMartin lived there all by herself, along with her three cats. That is, until she died, right there in the mansion.

Olive does find parts of the house interesting, such as the zillions of paintings scattered on the walls, and the closets and drawers filled with old clothes and various items, including a pair of old glasses. But other locations are a bit creepy, like the gloomy basement where she feels like she's being watched, and the one painting in the hall where she could swear she sees a white shape moving through the trees. And then things really start to get weird.

Olive gets a visitor in the middle of the night. One of old Ms. McMartin's cats slips in through her bedroom window and introduces himself. His name is Horatio, and he comes with a warning: something in the house doesn't want them there. And then Olive discovers that when she puts on those old glasses, she can actually climb into the paintings. But Olive, beware.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Dunwoody family move into a fixer upper Victorian mansion left vacant when elderly Ms. McMartin died. Eleven year old Olive finds the house odd, but her mathematical minded parents see nothing out of the ordinary starting with the inability to remove the strange drawings from the wall, but upon a closer look she sees things moving inside the paintings.

Looking around the house, Olive finds glasses that she puts on for fun. Instead of blur, she realizes she enter the pictures and travel in a realm that sort of looks like her natural one, but seems shadowy and too quiet to the stunned tweener. Horatio the cat warns her not to stay too long in their world and never lose the glasses if she is on this side of the frame. Olive also meets raging Morton who claims he is from her side of the divide, but was thrown into the picture world because he knew too much. As she learns more about the house and its contents, Olive fears something evil wants to keep her silent in order for her not to reveal what the darkness wants to do to the light.

With illustrations from Poly Bernatene enhancing the strong haunted house mystery, Jacqueline West provides an exhilarating middle school age tale. Fast-paced, young readers will want to join courageous Olive as she investigates the goings-on inside the painting world and the house, but is unsure who to trust with her growing concerns especially in light of her parents thinking logically that she is playing make believe.

Harriet Klausner
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Bounds on July 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last night I finished up THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE: THE SHADOWS, and ohmigosh it was good.

It's one of those books where the adult in me thinks, (cue high-pitched nasally adult voice) "Oh, I really like this story. What nice atmosphere. How unique," and the kid in me is like, (cue my real voice) "Ahhh! That's scary. Wow--cool. I want to do that! She did what? The end? Where's the next book!?!?"

I was lucky enough to interview the author, Jacqueline West, here: [...].

THE SHADOWS is a fast paced read set in Olive Dunwoody's new home--a crumbling Victorian house brimming with rooms to explore and curiosities to discover. Her slightly absent minded, but brilliantly (and hilariously) mathematical parents have no clue what kinds of secrets their home holds. Olive, however, finds herself unraveling a dark and deadly mystery, aided only by three cats and a bratty boy.

Atmosphere: Really old house with hidden rooms, paintings you can travel through, cool old spectacles, creepy basements, that prickle at the back of your neck when you know something's not right, overgrown backyards, nosey neighbors, and cats with attitude. In a word: awesome.

Language: Jacqueline West is also an award winning poet, and she has this beautiful knack for clear, concise, and completely unique description. There's also lots of witty dialogue that kept me smiling and laughing throughout the book.

If you're looking for a fun Middle Grade read, you should seriously check this book out. There's also a pretty cool website for the book that includes sample chapters and clips from the audiobook:[...].
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine Baggenstos on February 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Apparently somewhere along the lines I "graduated" to Young Adult and figured I was too old for Middle Grade and that was that. Here I've spent years thinking I was too good for Middle Grade and let me tell you, I have been COMPLETELY missing out!

The Shadows was the absolute perfect book to reintroduce myself to Middle Grade. It was chock full of magical realism. I mean, we have talking cats, magical glasses, pictures that are actually portals, and a large creepy old house.

Olive is an awesome protagonist. She's not your typical girl-who-can-everything, but instead, she's not so good at math though her parents are both math lovers and geniuses, she can never seem to remember where she leaves things, and she's a little clumsy. All these "flaws" make her a perfect person for the story too. It just wouldn't be the same if you had some fearless go-getter going about the same adventures.
The talking cats are also fantastic characters. I love all their different personalities, but I don't want to spoil them too much for you...
Olive's parents are also great. I'm not sure if this happens in a lot of MG as it's been quite some time since I read any before this one, but they were actually around. You barely ever see that in YA and it was a nice little change of pace. Plus, they're adorable. Their romantic talk is all mathy and weird, but also fun to read. Also, they're not evil parents or anything of the sort. They're nice parents any kid would love to have without being giant pushovers either.

The whole idea of the story was great too. The idea of life inside paintings is magical and Jacqueline does a fantastic job with it. Also, the mystery was done rather well. I was constantly wondering who I could trust, so I can only imagine how Olive must have felt!
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