s_summer_new1Title: Shadowed Summer
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 10, 2009)

About the book: Iris is ready for another hot, routine summer in her small Louisiana town, hanging around the Red Stripe grocery with her best friend, Collette, and traipsing through the cemetery telling each other spooky stories and pretending to cast spells. Except this summer, Iris doesn’t have to make up a story. This summer, one falls right in her lap.

Years ago, before Iris was born, a local boy named Elijah Landry disappeared. All that remained of him were whispers and hushed gossip in the church pews. Until this summer. A ghost begins to haunt Iris, and she’s certain it’s the ghost of Elijah. What really happened to him? And why, of all people, has he chosen Iris to come back to?

The thing is I am a little disappointed with this book. It has a fantastic premise and since it’s a ghost story I was eager to get freaked out. But this book turned out to be more of a thriller than a ghost story. Of course there is a ghost, but the book does not revolve around the creepy things the ghost does. It’s more about finding out why this person still is in the in-between world and what is his unfinished business on Earth? There were a couple of scenes that were a little scary but then the spooky feeling went away as soon as the scene was over.

14 year old Iris and Colette are 2 girls from Ondine, Louisiana. As their town has literally no entertainment to boast of, the girls try to entertain themselves with make belief spells and mysteries. As Ondine is a small town where nothing much happens, the thing that is remotely interesting and mysterious is a boy named Elijah. A few years back Elijah had disappeared from the town. As the number of youths running from Ondine to bigger towns was high, the police suspected that he had run away.

One day when Iris and Colette are in a graveyard chanting their make-belief spells, Iris suddenly hears a voice that addresses her. Because of certain circumstances, Iris concludes that it is Elijah’s ghost. She, Colette and a guy called Ben try to unearth the mystery behind Elijah and his disappearance.

The best part about the book was the relationships between Iris and Colette. The author totally nailed the dynamics between 2 teenage best friends. The atmosphere in the small town also seemed so real that at times I could feel the heat on my back and the frustration and boredom of living in a town as small as Ondine.

Again, I am not saying I didn’t like the book. I am just saying I expected more. Shadowed Summer could be a good for people who want to read a ghost story but are easily scared. Or it could also be a good introduction of horror stories for teenagers.

saundra_m

Saundra Mitchell is a longtime screenwriter and author. Random House‘s Delacorte Press debuted her novel, Shadowed Summer, on February 10th, 2009. For almost ten years, she was the sole screenwriter for the Book of Stories, On the Road, Fresh Films and Girls in the Director’s Chair short film series. In 2008, she headed and instructed the first Fresh Films Emerging Screenwriters program, and became the Head Writer and an Executive Producer for the film series. 

“Shadowed Summer” has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection for 2009. Her short story “Ready to Wear” was nominated for a 2007 Pushcart Prize after appearing in Vestal Review Issue 27. In July, 2007, her essay, “Rapid Cycling,” appeared in Common Ties. Her short story, “Management” appeared in Zen Film’s anthology “Love & Sacrifice” in February, 2007, and another short, “Kissing the Dog-Faced Boy” appeared in The Summerset Review‘s Spring Issue, 2007. She has also published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Edgar Literary Magazine, and The Parnassus.

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