Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review: Shadow Girl by Liana Liu (ARC)

Dear Reader,

Remember that fabulous #BookOdyssey I started telling you about? Well, it has brought even more gifts of ARCs to share with fellow #sisterhoodofthetravelingbooks educators round the country!

OK - so Shadow Girl by Liana Liu (Release: December 2017, you'll want to pre-order!).

Shadow Girl is the story of Mei, devoted daughter and hard-working student who just graduated high school. After being a camp counselor, babysitter, and tutor in previous years, she accepts a summer position to be a live-in academic tutor for Emma, the youngest daughter of the Morrison family. During the summer, the Morrison family lives at their house on Arrow Island, so with an offer for double her normal pay, a beach-side home with a pool, and her own room, Mei is soon saying goodbye to the city!

While it sounds like a dream set-up... is it really that great of a place? Why did the mother ask if she was superstitious? Why did she not get to meet Emma before she arrived? What really has happened on this island? In this house? To this family?

Some things I really love about this book (and I loved every single page!):

  • Mei & her family - the closeness between Mei and her mother, as well as Mei's realization that she, too, is human with flaws is such the adolescent transformation. The unending love and respect never fades, but the awkwardness Mei faces as she tries to navigate their relationship into new waters as she becomes an adult -- we've all been there. And her brother Andy - just everything sibling relationships change in and out of! 
  • Mei & Henry - Ella's older step-brother, Henry. He is Mei's age... and let's just say... keeps things interesting! I love them as they figure things out - each struggling with their own issues and how to deal with each other.
  • Real Talk: whether racial microaggressions (the "go back to your country" yells), or money-talk (Nope, can't afford this fancy dress you love), Liu doesn't stop the narrative to lecture (though I'd also love if she did that too!), but in her own crafty writerly-way, doesn't let those things go unnoticed either.
  • Ms. Baldwin - This boss of a teacher who is a guiding voice throughout Mei's decision making. A+++

Side Note: I also had the pleasure of reading while on vacation, on the best porch imaginable (thank you Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina). My pro-tip: don't finish reading this outside in the dark, or inside in the dark. It gets the best kind of suspenseful and scary at the end, but you'll want all the lights on!

Thank you Liana for the ARC! Can't wait to share with more readers!

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