Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. Just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?"
My Review: Shadowlands is probably going to be one of the...STRANGER books I'll read this year. Not saying that that's a bad thing...but yeah, this was definitely a different YA book than you normally find. It is NOT what I was expecting, that's for sure.
I'm going to break this book into three parts: plot, setting, characters.
My expectations when I picked up this book: a heart-racing thriller/action type of novel. And that is what I got...sort of. Shadowlands ended up being less James Bond and more Clue. There wasn't as much action and adventure as I'd thought there'd be (which was kind of disappointing, in a way, because I love crime dramas) but it was really suspenseful and eerie and whodunit? I actually kind of liked that, to be honest. It was something sort of different from the many YA books out there that have a lot of action and fighting in them, and the slow pace kind of made it more creepy. I liked having Steve Nell's POV, because it allowed some insight into his serial killer-mind and it was also creepy and weird! So good job there.
And then there was the setting: Juniper Landing. Either it's the fact that I'm a HUGE New England fanatic or that Kate Brian is a really good writer, but I immediately had an idea of what Juniper Landing was supposed to look like. Picture Martha's Vineyard, but less sunny and more foggy and hidden-in-the-mist, and with weirder locals---but still the same quiet, disconnected East Coast tiny-coastal-town feeling. The setting really worked for the plot, because it seemed so removed from the rest of the world that it helped add to the creepiness. Also, like I said, I absolutely love settings like that, so that was just a personal treat.
Last but not least: characters. This was the interesting part. Kate Brian didn't write an revolutionary or AMAZING characters (like Lisbeth Salander). But she did write different characters and this was cool. Rory was pretty plain and average, but she was smart and cautious and likable. Her sister, Darcy, was funny and light-hearted and more into having fun, but she was still a good person. The sisters bickered and fought, but they still cared about each other---which is realistic. And their dad---I LOVED how Kate Brian wrote him. Often in books, parents are written as 100% kind angel accepting mom and dads or really mean and terrible parents. Shadowlands showed that even when your parents can be snappy and distant and sometimes you don't get along with them, you still love them and care for them---and they for you. To be honest, their dad kind of reminded me of my dad, with his temper (ha ha). The secondary characters in Juniper Landing were also appropriately mysterious and odd.
And then there was the ENDING. Wow, talk about a total plot twist! And this plot twist is the strangest part about Shadowlands. My feelings about it are undecided. I'm not sure if it's going to be the downfall of this series...or something kind of cool. I'm going to reserve judgment until I read the next book!
Cover: It's pretty! And mysterious. I kind of like it, even if the model on the cover doesn't look like how Rory was described. I wish they'd shown a little more of Juniper Landing, but oh well, as far as covers go, this one's not bad!
Overall Grade: A-