Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer

Title: The Shadow Girl
Author: Jennifer Archer
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Pages: 336 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC from the author for her blog tour
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

The Shadow GirlSometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy.

For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret.

But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity.


Review:


Oh, The Shadow Girl. How I wanted to love you. At first, I did. You began with a great mystery centered on Iris, a separate consciousness within Lily that has been around for almost as long as Lily has, and a death that shakes up her life pretty well. Unfortunately, you had to veer off into lands you shouldn't have traveled.

The initial mystery is what drew me in. I thought I had the relationship between Iris and Lily figured out a few times, but it managed to surprise me in the end--which is what I like books to do.Of course, the solution was in my top three guesses, but as long as my finger isn't exactly on it, it's good. The rough relationship Lily develops with her mother after her dad dies in an accident managed to tug on my heartstrings a few times too.

If it has stayed the course and spent more time developing the mystery, this novel would have been great. Unfortunately, it starts to drag after the first couple of chapters and detour into romantic entanglements. Before you know it, the tepid, predictable love triangle between Wyatt (Lily's childhood BFF), Lily, and Ty (mysterious college student from New York) takes over the novel and the mystery the book really should be about is put far on the backburner. Had some of this unnecessary fluff been cut out, this would have been a more concise, stronger novel for it.

Some elements are also built up for some time only to turn out to be nothing at all. The name Ian Beckett is brought up many times and it always has a strong negative connotation; though Iris knows nothing about herself, the man's name terrifies her. It seemed like he might come into the novel, but he never did. He's just a distant figure whose memory hangs around. I don't blame the book for not letting him come in and introduce danger. It's a character-focused novel, after all. Still, all that build up for nothing is a bit disappointing.

Until about the end, I was prepared to give The Shadow Girl two stars. Then seventeen-year-old Lily (at the age of consent but not the age of majority in Colorado, so she's still a minor) left her arthritis-and-lupus-stricken mother to go on a trip with a nineteen-year-old man she still barely knows. She tells no one where she's going either. Lily's behavior throughout the novel has been highly erratic and her father just died, too. A teen who is obviously not in her right state of mind does this and no one calls the police. No one. Not the friend that helped her escape, not the grandmother of another friend who does what's best for Lily even if she doesn't like it, and not even her own mother.

If Lily's own naive, selfish decision hadn't been enough for me, the way no one calls the police does.

I wanted to like The Shadow Girl so much more than I did, but that's how it rolls sometimes.


What am I reading next?: Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren