- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 and up
- Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (November 14, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385326629
- ISBN-13: 978-0385326629
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,125,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shadow People Hardcover – November 14, 2000
The four of them are united--not by ties of friendship, but rage. Gabriel is haunted by the specters of the thugs, still at large, who murdered his brother Ben for a lousy leather jacket. Lydia is stifled by her hypercontrolling father, who holds her entire family in his viselike grip. Alec wants revenge on all the authority figures who screwed him and made him into a loser high school drop out. And Hollis wants to get back at "the system" that counted out his genius just because it was encased in a small pudgy body that no one would ever take seriously. Though they don't really like each other, this troubled quartet is nevertheless drawn to the idea of the damage they can do if they pool their strength. But then Gem Hennessey unknowingly enters into the equation. Gabriel and Alec are both in love with her. Lydia is seethingly jealous of her, since she wants Gabe for herself. And Hollis sees the destruction of all his great plans if he doesn't get rid of her--permanently.
Joyce McDonald has written a tense psychological teen thriller that raises hard questions about the depth and breadth of adolescent frustration. While some teens will appreciate McDonald's writing as a tightly plotted tale of misguided fury and love gone wrong, more attentive readers will take in McDonald's message that every action has a consequence and that anger can effect change--but only if it is channeled positively. In both action and meaning, Shadow People is a noteworthy addition to post-Columbine adolescent literature. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From Publishers Weekly
McDonald's (Comfort Creek) chilling premise and credible depiction of the gang dynamicApropelled by fearAwill keep the pages turning, but the novel's frequently shifting perspectives among the five principal characters overwhelm the story. When four angry, isolated teens living in rural northwestern New Jersey coincidentally come together one night in an abandoned camp building, they form a strange bond. They begin to commit crimes together, starting with shoplifting and escalating to acts of arson, one of which kills a homeless man. Gabriel, the main character, moved with his family from New York City after his brother's murder; at night, he is haunted by four strange "dark faceless figures" that he calls Shadow People (their symbolism goes unexplained). Lydia hates her parents, a survivalist father who collects gas masks and a mother addicted to prescription drugs. Alec collects guns, and Hollis is the geeky mastermind behind their plans, abandoned by his father. Attractive Gem, who remains outside the group, starts dating Gabriel, but becomes the group's last target. The novel begins with the quartet's torching of Gem's aunt's store, then flashes back to 10 weeks earlier, building up to the event. There are some memorable moments here, as when Lydia recalls how her father tested the family's skills by locking them in the basement with tear gas, and when Gabriel and his sister reminisce about their dead brother. But ultimately, with so many strands to the story, readers can't explore any one of them fully. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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In Shadow People, Gabriel Hart is a teenage boy who moves to Knollwood, an urban town, with his family after his brother Ben was murdered.
He then encounters three other teens, Alec, Lydia, and Hollis, who share the same feelings as he does, anger, lonliness, and frustration. They all meet by accident but are all drawn together by a strong force which they can't explain. Each of them have their own seperate lives and seem harmless to other people, but when night falls they become violent. They destroy as much as they can every night.
However when Gem Hennessey comes into Gabriel's life she becomes all he can think about. She then falls in love with him.
Will Gabriel change his wild ways and chose a calm happy life with Gem or will he stay in his life of destruction with his new "friends". He will have to make his decision when one of his wild nights goes too far and he'll have Gem's life in one hand and his own life in the other.
Which will he chose?
This book was very interesting to me and I enjoyed reading it. I also recommend by Joyce McDonald, Swallowing Stones. That was also a very unique book in my opinion and I believe alot of people will enjoy her novels if they take the time to sit down and read them. They'll be happy they did.
The problem is, none of the four "misfits" seem to have enough strength of character to try to halt the events which occur. And, while this is quite common, it seems that we can read about these kids every day in the newspaper, rather than have to read about them in a (fiction) book. However, there do seem to be a lot of people who have no understanding how these kids get into these situations, and this book can maybe be used to help enlighten them.
Even so, by the end, i was caught up in the story and really hoping that by some miracle they could find a way out...
The second is that there is no redemption in the story. Someone has already mentioned this, but I think it's worth repeating. Gabriel, the main character, gets in with the wrong crowd of friends. They form a gang and plan to vent their anger against the people they hate by destroying things. Gabe is obviously very troubled by his conscience, and has many opportunities to get out of his bad situation. After his first theft, he could have gone to the police and made restitution for his crime when it was still small. Instead he keeps hanging around the others in his gang who he intensely dislikes. In my mind, I kept shouting, "You know where this will end up! Get out NOW!", but he never does.
In the end of the book, he is charged (as an adult) with lots of bad stuff that I can't recall. I was wondering what the punishment will be, but the book never says. In the end, the four main characters lives obviously are destroyed by their crimes, but there is nothing in the book about making things right. I only made it all the way through the book because I was waiting to see how things would be made right again.
Another reviewer, A. Luciano, says, "...they used that [anger] as an excuse to hurt others who hadn't done anything to them. There was no redemption for any of the characters at the end; there was no sense that any of them had learned anything or had grown in any way, or even that they had found peace." and I think he's dead on.
This book should be for mature readers only because of the mature subject matter and the offensive language.