Friday, July 4, 2014

Novel Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery Romance
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

The Cover:

I find the cover really pretty. It gives a good feel for the book, the swirly colors, and the shadow-y outlines of the two. I don't know if it would really catch my attention on the shelf, but the more I look at it the more I like it.


  • "Minnie trembled, too, with either excitement or fear, which were so often indistinguishable until afterward when she knew the result of the event.” (Hardcover, pg. 87)
  • "Growing up, she found, was a heartbreaking endeavor. (Pg. 97)
  • "...Thom said, raising an eyebrow (another reason Charles was sure to catch a kiss before him, as smiles sang to other lips in a way annoyed eyebrows never could).” (Pg. 139)
  • "'Just realize that, no matter what you do, things are out of your control. Voila! Peace!’” (Pg. 201)
  • "For some reason random pain was more comforting to her than pain that could be traced to a definite cause.” (Pg. 291)


I am seriously impressed with this book. I was really intrigued by the story through art (with no words) and through words only, but I was also a little wary. I wasn’t sure if I would like the art, and I was afraid in general that I wouldn’t like the story. But I’m actually impressed with how good it was, and how much I enjoyed it.
First of all, this book is beautiful. It’s really heavy, because the entire book is in color, even the written parts. The written parts are pretty, but the artwork is also really, really pretty. I even went back a few times, or just paused on a picture, to admire it. And White, who I am a very big fan of and have read all of her previous books, writes in a style to match the feel of the artwork. It’s pretty, takes on a creepier feel. It’s really well done.
The story was also fantastic. I wasn’t sure where it was going, and the mystery goes on for a long time. There was probably about a third, maybe a quarter, of the book left when I really figured out what was going on. And I loved that. The way that the two stories intersect is really left a mystery for the longest time, and there were so many possibilities. While reading, I went back to previous picture sections so many times, trying to match up who it was, what was happening. It was fun to read, even. The climax took me by surprise, too, particularly in how it played out, and I really liked it.
I did not grow overly attached to the characters, and who ends up as a couple was kind of a guessing game for the longest time. But I did like all of the characters, and I really wanted them all to have a happy ending. 
I loved the ending, how it all worked out. I wasn’t too sure how it was all going to work out, but I loved it. It’s impressive and exciting and surprising and beautiful. It was a pretty fast read, too, and I didn't want to put it down. I seriously just like looking at the book, and now want to recommend it to everyone.

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