Parents' Guide to

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Spine-tingling ghost story haunts long after reading.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

A story for mature readers (review contains spoilers)

There are some aspects of this book that trouble me. This is absolutely not a book I would hand to anyone under the age of 16. The heroine, Mary, distraught over the death of her boyfriend and incarceration of her father, runs out into a lightning storm carrying a metal conductor --deliberately-- hoping to be struck. She is, and is killed, but returns to life with some mild paranormal abilities that fuel the rest of the book. Given the very real problem of suicide among teens, this sort of self-destructive action in a hero or heroine distresses me. The main character, Mary, is 16, and her boyfriend is 17 or 18. There are a few intimate scenes between them, and while they aren't terribly explicit, they are more heated than I'd wish for any younger readers. Finally, the book is set during the first world war and the flu pandemic. Death is a realistic fear of every character, and it stalks these pages. Recovering soldiers with serious injuries are mentioned, and so are people dying of the flu.

This title has:

Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (2):

Author Cat Winters deftly draws readers into a spine-tingling ghost story that weaves love with loss, belief with science, and war with resting in peace. The World War I era is richly evoked with such details as bizarre (to modern readers) folk remedies against the flu, the Spiritualism craze, and patriotic fervor that goes too far.

But the real star is the creepy, deadly atmosphere that pervades right from the opening paragraph and propels the gripping story forward. Between the war and the flu, our heroine (named after that Mary Shelley of Frankenstein fame) must fight to honor her loved one's memory in a world "so horrifying, it frightens even the dead." And it's all eerily enhanced by haunting photographs from the era.

Book Details

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