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Friday, June 2, 2017

Shadowshaper - Daniel Jose Older

With the entire summer ahead of her, Sierra Santiago is looking forward to uninterrupted time to work on the mural she's been tasked to complete by her neighborhood. When her friends and family begin hassling her to complete the project, including her ailing grandfather, she knows something is amiss. Robbie, an old classmate, is willing to help her with the mural, but he seems to be in on the conspiracy to keep her in the dark, as well.

When Sierra starts hallucinating when looking at art around town, she thinks it's just stress playing tricks on her eyes. But when people around her start getting hurt and even dying, she decides it's time to get down to the bottom of what's going on. Sierra will need to dive deep into her family's past in order to find the answers she seeks and defeat the evil that is coming over the city.

Sierra is a loyal part of her family, helping with chores and caring for her ailing grandfather, but she's also a party girl. Her friends are mostly party-goers, but their own loyalty to their friendship to Sierra also shines through, especially near the end when the situation gets dire.

I enjoyed the slow reveal of Sierra's family history and the magic system that utilizes artistic talent, both of which she ultimately uses to win against the enemy.

While basic Spanish is used throughout the novel when Sierra speaks to her family, it is no hindrance to a non-Spanish-speaking reader. Older does a superb job of keeping the conversation flowing back into English so the reader understands what's going on. The inclusion of simple things, like food, brings Sierra's every day life into reality.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this piece is the themes of family history, loyalty, and truth. It also includes a moment where Sierra stands up against prejudice in her own family. I loved this book and I look forward to reading the next book coming out later this year.

Books in the Series:
Shadowhouse Fall
Ghost Girl in the Corner

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