Olive is still VERY wary of her house, and concerned that the evil Annabel will return. She has a system of keeping the house safe from the McMartin influence with the help of her cats, and Morton helps from inside the pictures, but she is still stressed, especially since she also is starting junior high and finds out that her one friend, Rutherford, may be moving to Europe. When a huge hole appears in the back year, and the secret recipes for the paint that allows the pictures to come to life surface, Olive springs in to action to find out who is plotting to get into the house. Rutherford's grandmother has a protective spell on the house, but someone has gotten inside. The only person invited into her house was... her new art teacher. Is she working with Annabel? Will Morton ever be happy in Elsewhere? Are the cats turning against her? Can Olive survive middle school?
This is a fantastic magical realism book, and I checked out both copies of The Shadows on the first day of school to 6th graders who seem to be enjoying it. The cover and interior art are good, and the story moves along at a nice clip. Great stuff. This series has circulated well at my library, and my famously picky daughter loved it!