What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are plenty of ghosts and other spooky beings, some good and some evil, in The Year of Shadows, the second middle-grade novel by author Claire Legrand. But unlike her first, The Cavendish School for Boys and Girls, it's no horror story. In this sweetly snarky, poignant tale of the supernatural, the terrors come less from the afterlife than from this one -- losing loved ones, losing your home, losing your job. Many young readers may find this more frightening than mere figments of the imagination.
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Olivia Stellatella's life has been getting steadily worse since her mother disappeared some months ago. As far as she's concerned, her father, an eccentric orchestra conductor, is to blame for driving her mom away. Now, as money gets tighter and they lose their house, he moves the family into the back room of the decrepit theater that's home to the orchestra. Just when it couldn't possibly get worse, she meets four resident ghosts, just a few of the many restless spirits whose fate is tied to that of the building -- and THE YEAR OF SHADOWS begins.
Is it any good?
Author Claire Legrand has a winning heroine in the tough-talking, internally fragile Olivia, whose sarcastic narrative voice is engaging and emotionally real as she makes many unexpected discoveries and survives harrowing adventures. Karl Kwasny's black-and-white illustrations bring her and her surroundings to life. The description of life after death and the various challenges facing the spirits is imaginative, but may raise questions in the minds of some young readers.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why stories about the relationships between people and ghosts are so popular. How does The Year of Shadows compare with other ghost stories you know? Is the story trying to scare you, or teach you something else?
Do you know any of the classical music pieces that come up in The Year of Shadows? How is music part of the story here?
Do you find Olivia's feelings believable? How would you feel if your mom suddenly disappeared and you never heard from her again?
|Topics:||Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Music and sing-along|
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Publication date:||August 27, 2013|
|Number of pages:||418|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||8 - 12|
|Read aloud:||8 - 12|
|Read alone:||10 - 12|
|Available on:||Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook|