The Shadow Girl
By Misty Mount
Publisher: Between the Lines Publishing
Genre: YA Coming of Age/Fantasy
It’s more than just her imagination—she’s fading away…
Painfully shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia Moss is no stranger to living life in the shadows, pushed aside and unnoticed by both her large family of nine and her fellow classmates. As her “symptoms” of invisibility increase, she uncovers an old family mystery leading to her Great-Aunt Angelica, who vanished curiously at Zylia’s age. If she’s going to save herself from being erased from the canvas of this world, she’ll have to travel far outside her comfort zone—maybe even to another dimension.
The Shadow Girl was a welcomed new addition to my shelves that boasted an unexpectedly powerful protagonist and story-line. Almost instantly my experience with the book was rewarding. However, I was not prepared for how personal it was going to become. I am favoring brevity for this review, as I believe that exploring Zylia’s evolution as a young woman is best left for the reader.
At the age of 13, Zylia Moss is socially withdrawn, reserved and lives an introverted life among the shadows of her family and peers. But as Zylia finds herself becoming more detached from her own life, she uncovers the mystery of another, her Great-Aunt Angelica, who disappeared many years ago. Can the secret to her Great-Aunt’s disappearance and new friendships help save her from the same fate? Or will she slip away into another realm only to be lost forever?
This is a highly character driven plot that centers around an astoundingly relatable protagonist. Zylia Moss appeals to the reader and establishes an early and firm connection by displaying the varying emotions every teenager has encountered at some point in their life. As a protagonist she is plausible, persuasive and even familiar. Her struggles are quickly owned by the reader as we find ourselves fully immersed within her story. Within her lies a small piece of us all that is difficult to ignore. In terms of characters, she is not only effective but identifiable and engaging.
The plot is beautifully layered and intermingled with a wonderful element of fantasy while avoiding unnecessary frills and complexities. Well executed narration and pacing foster strong character development while sustaining the promised mystery. The writing is sharp, knowledgeable and sincere. Everything melds together flawlessly, offering a refreshing study of character that carries the story with incredible ease.
The end result is an unexpected and emotional journey into known and unknown that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever felt alone, uncertain or even different. An therein lies the true success of The Shadow Girl. A coming of age tale that explores the ever-changing dynamics of families, relationships and self growth for anyone who has ever stood in the shadows even for a moment.
*I would like to thank the author and publisher for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased opinion.
Enjoyed with a lightly sweetened Jasmine Hibiscus green tea.