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Shadowshaper Hardcover – June 30, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them. Robbie is a clear love interest, but he isn't there to rescue Sierra. Sierra is a tough, confident, body-positive female protagonist of Puerto Rican descent, proud of her 'fro and curves. The fact that she and Robbie seem to be connecting romantically is portrayed as more of a happy coincidence than the culmination of a lifelong dream of romance. Dialogue is fast paced and authentic to Sierra's Brooklyn neighborhood, which is vividly described. Readers will find someone to whom they can relate in her diverse group of friends. VERDICT Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
* "Sometimes funny and sometimes striking, Older's comfortable prose seamlessly blends English and Spanish. Warm, strong, vernacular, dynamic—a must." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package." -- School Library Journal, starred review
* "What makes Older’s story exceptional is the way Sierra belongs in her world, grounded in family, friends, and an awareness of both history and change." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Smart writing with a powerful message that never overwhelms the terrific storytelling." -- Booklist, starred review
“The strength of Older's tale is in his meticulous attention to the details of the life of a brown-skinned, natural-haired Puerto Rican teenage girl. Older's storytelling is rich enough to warrant such treatment, because this is a world that will stay with readers long after the last page.” -- Los Angeles Times
“Shadowshaper’s Sierra Santiago is the type of character we’ve all hoped we could have in YA.” -- Bustle.com
“Infused with a plethora of imagination, Shadowshaper has an intriguing supernatural premise wrapped in rich cultural details. Older not only gives readers a diverse cast, but he stays true to their background, language and community, lending an authenticity to his work. The supernatural art and mythological elements are interestingly woven and add multiple layers to the story. If you’re a YA urban fantasy reader looking for something creative and different, try Shadowshaper on for size.” -- Romantic Times Book Review
"I love this book for the richness of its culture, the strength of the characters, the humor and the truth of its language. Sierra is the heroine we've been waiting for -- a pretty, brown-skinned Latina artist who is smart, strong, inventive, and unsure, all the while being heroic. Daniel José Older is one of my favorite new voices, and I can't wait to see what he (and Sierra) come up with next.” -- Anika Noni Rose, star of Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog
“In Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older has created a YA novel that is exciting, absorbing, funny, creepy, and above all, absolutely fresh. One of the best YAs I've read this year.” -- Delia Sherman, author of The Freedom Maze
"Nothing is what it seems in Daniel José Older's dazzlingly inventive reimagined Brooklyn, where shadows turn to wraiths and graffiti comes alive. Funny, frightening, and always surprising, Shadowshaper is a spellbinding delight for readers of all ages." -- Sarah McCarry, author of All Our Pretty Songs and About A Girl
Praise for Daniel José Older and Salsa Nocturna :
"It's funny and wise and keeps you turning pages and the prose is truly fresh. It's so rare to read something that doesn't sound like anything you've read before, and so invigorating." -- John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns
"In Older's stories, the dead are as much a part of life as the living. The language is playful and Older's love for storytelling comes through on every page." -- Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist, in <I>The Nation
"Simply put, Daniel José Older has one of the most refreshing voices in genre fiction today." -- Saladin Ahmed, author of Throne of the Crescent Moon
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Top Customer Reviews
It was diverse in more ways than one, with a cast of characters with different races and sexual orientations. It was true to the reality that we live in, a real mirror and that was so awesome to see. I know that if I had this book when I was a kid, I would champion it so hard (and I mean be super annoying about it like I used to be - maybe still am - when it comes to things that I love)!
I loved how rich the characters were and how present their culture, their upbringing, their reality was because it's not a footnote or something to checkoff a character list, it's just as important as the story. Music, hair, skin tone, family expectations (dating, etc...), and other relatable POC cultural marks were so, so wonderful to see, especially since we so rarely see this in books. This book champions POC kids in the city and I love it.
This is the first novel by Daniel José Older that I've read (read it in two sittings, it's easily a day read) and I cannot wait to read more from him. His writing is so much fun. This is such a fast paced and thrilling magical adventure and if you love ghosts and all things off kilter like me, you're in for a real treat.
All of the characters are fun and relatable and really engaging. I love that it's set in New York. Not Manhattan. The real New York. In this instance, it's Brooklyn. I love that the setting really comes alive and incorporates not just the good like art and family in small communities but the bad as well, like street harassment and it does so seamlessly.
I love how action packed the story was as Sierra was thrown onto a supernatural roller coaster of a journey. I thought that Sierra and Robbie, who goes on the adventure with her, had great chemistry and that was also fun to follow. I loved how humorous the writing was at times as well. Really, everything about this book was simple great fun and I am so glad that I finally read this.
I don't care that this book is billed as YA; it's a children's book. The writing is simplistic as are the renderings of the characters and central plot. Honestly, I didn't even get 60 pages into this story before giving up, despite its being a relatively quick read. I'd had enough of it all. Nothing pulled me into the story. Conversations are unrealistic and uninteresting. Characters and their behaviors are unrealistic and uninteresting. Situations the characters find themselves in are just plain uninteresting. I have a book of short stories by this author; I seriously hope that it's not as lacking as Shadowshaper.
I gave this book 2 stars for its diversity, however stilted the depictions are. It's important that people can see themselves in all types of novels, especially this underrepresented group of Americans. Other than that, the best thing this book has to offer is a pretty cover. I'm donating my copy.
I only read this because it was a book club selection, and the majority of the group either disliked it or couldn't finish it. I think that pretty much sums up this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a tough one to review, because I'm a fan of "own voices" books (i.e.Read more