A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Shadow Society is a cleverly conceived alternate-world fantasy. Language is very mild (only the rare "damn," "hell," or "screw you"), smoking/drinking/drugs are virtually nonexistent, and the level of sexual content never rises above passionate kissing and staring at young men without their shirts on. There's one intense kidnapping scene, plus depictions of two acts of terror involving fire and poison gas. In general, however, the level of violence in the book is not high.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Abandoned outside a Chicago fire station at the age of 5, Darcy Jones doesn't remember much about her childhood. Now a high school student in foster care, she has a fairly stable life with a good-natured guardian and a handful of loyal friends. But when she's kidnapped by Conn McCrae, a member of the Interdimensional Bureau of Investigation, she discovers an alternate Chicago inhabited by Shades, a race of mysterious beings with powers that border on the magical. While searching for a way home, she attains new abilities and memories that threaten everything she cares about.
Is it any good?
THE SHADOW SOCIETY is a cleverly constructed alternate-world fantasy set in two versions of Chicago. Darcy Jones is an intriguing protagonist -- clearly traumatized by her abandonment but engaged in building a better life for herself with grit and good humor. Her interactions with her friends at school especially ring true. Unfortunately, Darcy's fascination with Conn McCrae, the mysterious boy who essentially ends up kidnapping her, feels forced. Readers may wonder why he's worth so much attention after Darcy discovers a whole other universe and a new set of powers for herself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how alternate worlds are often a component in science-fiction and fantasy tales. What do you like about those kinds of stories?
What do you think about The Shadow Society's message about tolerance? Does the conflict between cultures in the book remaind you of any cultural conflicts in our world?
How is poetry suited to shedding light on the human condition?
- Author: Marie Rutkoski
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date: October 16, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 416
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fantasy
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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.