Publisher: January 8th 2013 by Hyperion
Reviewed by: Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide
Dear Amy at Tripping Over Books – Thank you for writing your review because otherwise I may have never picked up this book, and I’m SO glad I did! Upon finishing Shadowlands, my first reaction was, “Okay. WHO ELSE HAS READ THIS?” I had several things I needed to discuss and I was all in a tizzy about what had just happened.
Rory Miller has just been attacked by a serial killer and – to freak us all out even more – it was her math teacher, Steven Nell. In the luckiest moment of her life, Rory escaped his reach and makes it safely home, but that won’t stop Nell from coming after her and possibly even her family. To keep themselves safe, Rory, her sister Darcy, and her father all pack up and leave, heading out to a secure location given to them by the FBI. The Millers – now the Thayers – are send to Juniper Landing, a cozy beach town, but Rory isn’t quite convinced that Nell hasn’t followed them and a creepy feeling follows her where she goes. When things start to get a little strange and mysterious, somehow Rory is the only one to notice. Is she just building it up in her head, or is the town of Juniper Landing holding secrets of its own?
Oh. My. Gosh. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book so thrilling. SHADOWLANDS had all the aspects of a horror movie. Now, I’m not a horror movie fan, but as a book? Totally awesome. Being stalked by a serial killer is a nightmare that I cannot imagine being in, much less it being your math teacher (I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say some of my math teachers were way creepy). I think I would be like Rory – always looking over my shoulder, never feeling safe. Ever. Again. When the Millers (I mean, Thayers) arrived in Juniper Landing? Nope. No way. I didn’t trust it. The town just seemed weird. All of these kids all eyeing Rory and watching her, the creepy fog that rolls in, and the fact that Rory can’t shake the feeling that Steven Nell is still somewhere around her… CREEPY. Meanwhile, something strange is definitely going on and Rory spends the entire book (and I mean this in a good way) trying to figure out some of the mysteries with the kids on the island, all of whom seem a bit “off”. Plus, they’re (almost) all wearing these leather wristbands/bracelets as if they’re in some sort of club or cult or something. What’s up with that!?
The book takes place primarily from Rory’s first person POV, but there are smaller chapters from the serial killer’s POV (in third person – we’re keeping our distance) to totally CREEP US OUT. I found Rory to be a likeable character! She was determined, fiercely protective of her family, and not overly naïve like a lot of younger teen characters are. Thinking back, I can’t remember her exact age – I think she was finishing her sophomore year? – and too often I feel like the fifteen & sixteen-year-olds come off as really naïve which is frustrating to follow. I don’t know if authors do that intentionally with their ages, but somehow I keep finding myself giving their age as an excuse. ANYWAY – I didn’t feel that with Rory and I really got along with her as a main character! Darcy was a little ball of fire and I really liked how different she was from Rory. Rory was casual, a little geeky, and very plain whereas Darcy was a social butterfly, loved parties, and totally reminded me of Hayley from Modern Family (I pictured her as Sarah Hyland because of it).
I finished the book in two days because I only put it down when I had to. I stayed up late to finish because I couldn’t stop reading!!! It was so fast-paced and exciting and I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen. I kept asking myself, Is Rory making this all up in her head? Should I expect some sort of paranormal twist? What kind of secrets is this town holding anyway? What’s with the mind games?
The ONLY negative thing I can say about the book is that the ending came really quickly. I would have just liked a tiny bit more wrap up than there was because I just wanted to have a little more resolution. I guess you can make your own conclusions as to what happens, but I think it would have helped calm my nerves since the ending was so exciting! Then again, it definitely works to keep those last two sentences in your brain, just rolling around over and over and making you think about this book for the next two days, desperately searching for someone to talk to about it. Not that that happened to me or anything… But if you want to talk about it, PLEASE LET’S.
Overall, I’d give it a 9/10. It was incredibly gripping and one of the more exciting books I’ve read in a while. Definitely picked me up out of a reading slump and made me excited to read again!
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. I really liked Rory quite a bit. She was supposed to be plain through and through so on very rare occasions it felt a bit forced, but really that’s the only complaint I have. I liked following her thought process and she’s definitely got an interesting history that ties into the plot as well, creating even more questions to mess with your mind!
How much did I like the love interest: N/A. I don’t feel like it’s fair to rate this one. There was Rory’s old love interest Christopher, but since Rory has to leave him behind, he really didn’t pop up into the book very frequently. Then there’s Tristan who’s the golden boy of Juniper Landing, but Rory’s not really interested in him romantically. I guess we could say I was annoyed by all of the attention given to Rory from pretty much every boy on the island, but I guess there was a reason for it!
How believable is the plot: 8. I was a little hesitant for a while in the middle when I wasn’t sure what was going on, but in the end I was digging it. I think I’m still left a little confused on some parts, but I also think in a way, that was intended.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. I loved this crazy, fast-paced, action-packed style. I always felt like the plot was moving forward and I didn’t feel bogged down with unnecessary details. I also really liked the extra POV from the serial killer because, well, it’s just plain creepy so it adds an extra creep-factor to the book.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. It. Was. Awesome. I raced through the book not because I wanted it to end but because I HAD to know what in the world was going on! It was so exciting and I couldn’t put the book down.
Final Score: 9.25/10. SHADOWLANDS wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. IT WAS BETTER. It was totally thrilling, exciting, horrifying, and surprising. I’m so glad I picked it up because I was seriously hesitating for a while. There are very few things I would suggest to make it better. I’d definitely recommend it!!