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In the Shadows - Kiersten White, Jim Di Bartolo

This was such a wonderful surprise! Oftentimes when authors try to do creative, different projects like mixed media it falls totally flat on its face. Not the case with “In the Shadows”. The story alternates between all-text chapters and all-illustrations chapters for a completely unique and delightful reading experience. I will say that, at times, the strictly picture chapters were slightly confusing, but seeing how it all comes together in the end I think that might have been on purpose. When looking through the images, you just know there are clues ripe for the picking, but they are not always obvious.

As for the text chapters, I believe White has really come a very long way and matured as an author since I read her first book, “Paranormalcy”. Her characters are wonderfully complex and, despite having five main characters, each has an equally well-developed and distinct personality. The character development and overall tone reminded me a lot of Stiefvater’s characters in “The Dream Thieves” novels, particularly the details around Mary the town witch. Mary is by far the most tragic, complicated, and disturbing member of this book’s cast. Her words and actions will continue to haunt you long after the book is closed.

Also similar to “The Dream Thieves”, In the Shadows contains a very small love triangle which is unbelievably subtle and remarkably believable, making me love these characters all the more. The story itself is shrouded in mystery and thrills, similar in tone to “The Diviners” by Libba Bray, but White and Bartolo’s story is less verbose and less focused on cultural details.

"In the Shadows" was just the right amount of creepy mystery without being totally scare-your-pants-off frightening, the illustrations are beautiful, the setup of the chapters themselves is unique, and the characters are fantastic. I would highly recommend this to fans of supernatural thrillers, mystery, and overall spooky/strange stories.  Fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s "The Dream Thieves" or Libba Bray’s "The Diviners" will particularly enjoy this one.