In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Book review by Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
In the Shadow of Blackbirds Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 12+

Spine-tingling ghost story haunts long after reading.

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 2 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Stands out for and .

Community Reviews

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

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon hands high fiving
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a girl
    Great Girl Role Models
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a map and jug
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a ghost and vampire
    Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a beaker
    Science and Nature
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate