What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi, with graphic-novel illustrations by Craig Phillips, chronicles the friendship of Holly and Savitri in the aftermath of a random shooting as they learn to cope with their grief and fears. Although the central event is violent, traumatic, and dramatically illustrated and reverberates throughout the book, there's no gore. Some blood is described but none is illustrated. The high school seniors are liberal with swear words, mostly "f--k" and "s--t," when talking among themselves but speak appropriately with adults. The few sexual incidents are mainly kisses that aren't described, but some of the background between Holly and Josh involves a scare when Holly thought she might be pregnant.
What's the story?
CHASING SHADOWS, a graphic/traditional-novel hybrid, tells the story in words and pictures of twins Holly and Corey and best-friend Savitri in the final months of their senior year in high school. Their lives are dramatically altered when, on the way home from free running, Holly and Corey are victims of a shooting and Savitri is a witness to it. Holly's mechanism for coping is to retreat into fantasy as she imagines herself becoming a superhero called The Leopardess. The different ways she and Savitri cope with the knowledge that their lives could end at any random moment drastically affects their friendship and their future.
Is it any good?
In Chasing Shadows, author Swati Avasthi creates realistic, believable characters whose older-teen interactions are particularly well wrought. The different narrative voices are distinct and well balanced and offer nuanced looks into the heart of a lifelong friendship. The action moves well and builds to a climax that's intense and cathartic while staying refreshingly realistic.
Punctuating the emotionally charged prose are a dozen or so black-and-white illustrated spreads of varying lengths by Craig Phillips. These mostly convey the fantasy afterlife that Holly retreats into as she tries to rebuild her life, but they sometimes ably advance the narrative as well. The spreads are well laid-out and easy to understand, following as they do well-established comic-book conventions.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why superhero stories are so popular. Why does The Leopardess appeal to Holly?
Do the illustrated sections help tell the story or get in the way? Would Chasing Shadows be better or worse without them? Why combine narration with comic-book-style pictures?
Have you or a friend lived through a traumatic or scary event? Did it change you or the friend in important ways? Did it change your friendship?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Superheroes, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school|
|Publisher:||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Publication date:||September 24, 2013|
|Number of pages:||320|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||14 - 17|
|Available on:||Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle|