A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Set in an alternate version of Chicago, The Shadow Society presents facts from both a skewed and actual history of the city. T.S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" also plays a significant part in the plot.
The Shadow Society emphasizes the importance of tolerance and forgiveness. Although they have done awful things to each other, humans and Shades in the alternate Chicago must see beyond their differences if either society hopes to survive.
Positive Role Models
Miain character Darcy Jones is a brave and resourceful young woman who was abandoned as a child but has slowly built a network of trustworthy and loyal friends. When she's taken to an alternate Chicago against her will, she struggles to understand her newfound abilities and chart a course for herself that will not lead to a betrayal of the people she cares about.
Violence & Scariness
Darcy's kidnapping from her foster home is the most physically intense scene inThe Shadow Society. It involves knives, fire, and assault. After that, terrorist attacks involving arson and poison gas are remembered and contemplated. In general, however, there's not a lot of violence in this novel.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Darcy's attracted to Con from the moment she catches him staring at her at the start of The Shadow Society. As the story progresses, she has opportunities to observe him without his shirt on. They indulge in a few hot kisses, but their physical intimacy does not progress much further.
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Language in The Shadow Society is fairly mild. There are a few stray "screw you"s, but the characters mostly even avoid "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are vague references to drinking at parties, but the characters in The Shadow Society don't seem to indulge in drinking, drugs, or smoking.
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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.
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.
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.