Shadow School #1: Archimancy

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
670 0
Shadow School #1: Archimancy
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
August 27, 2019
ISBN
978-0062838285
Buy This Book
      
Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Still, she didn’t expect the school grounds to be filled with ghosts.

Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see the ghosts; her new friend Benji can too. Together with super-smart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free.

But the school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.

J. A. White's Nightbooks has been praised as "equally twisting and terrifying" in a School Library Journal starred review. Kirkus added: “A thrilling tale of magic that is just scary enough.” Middle grade readers will love J. A. White's Shadow School series as well!

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Be BOO to your school.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Cordelia Liu moves from California to the Northeast because her father has lost his job. She enrolls in the local school only to find out that it is a quirky building that is haunted! She does meet a friend, Agnes, but when the ghost sightings start piling up, she also gets to know Benji. Benji was a popular kid and great soccer player until he started to hide behind his hoodie and earbuds. Cordelia suspects he can also see the ghosts, and she's right. He introduces her to the vast variety of characters who occupy their school, and the two try to find a way to deal with the problem. The school's history is rather dark, and the founder, Elijah Shadow, met an unfortunate end, so getting to the bottom of the problem isn't easy. They eventually figure out "brightkeys"; objects the ghosts seem to need before they move on, and they manage to send some of the ghosts to a happier place. Their principal, Dr. Roqueni, isn't happy with this, especially when poltergeists who trash the cafeteria are stirred up. Shadow was her relative, and she has taken over the principalship to preserve her family legacy. She thinks the children have riled the ghost hunters, who clear the building of ghosts, and wants them to stop. Cordelia thinks that ghost hunters kill the ghosts. With the help of Agnes, who can't see the ghosts, the children try to solve the mystery of the building, the ghosts, and the awful legacy of Elijah Shadow.
Good Points
I really enjoyed that there was a solid reason for the school to be in an old house-- the Shadows couldn't pay their taxes, so let the school district use it while maintaining ownership. Could work! Having taught in a school that was in an old house, I can attest that it is an odd experience, and a perfect setting for a hodge podge of different ghosts.

Agnes is a bit odd, but it's reassuring that she reaches out to Cordelia and the two become friends. Benji's transformation (the earbuds block the noise of the ghosts) also makes sense, and I'm sure he is glad to have help in dealing with the paranormal. There is some cultural diversity, with Cordelia's father being Chinese, Benji being Latinx, and the Shadows being African American. There are a number of teachers and staff members who play a role in the mystery, and while some are rather extreme, most are realistic and add a layer of believability to the story. The twist at the end with Mr. Derleth is rather sweet, and I see him being helpful to the children in the next installment of the series.

The reasons for the ghosts infesting the school are well explained, and the history of the Shadow Family is intriguing. This reminded me very strongly of the work of Dan Poblocki, Betty Ren Wright, West's The Shadows or Nielsen's Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom. It isn't quite as dark and scary as this author's Nightbooks, but is an appropriate level of scary for middle grade readers.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Be Our Guest!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Gray Malin’s menagerie of wild animals for a stay...
Hat Tricks
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Hattie the magician―she’s a natural performer, and you’re invited...
Stanley's Toolbox
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
It’s another busy day with Stanley and friends! ...
Spring Is Here!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When spring arrives, baby animals come out to play with...
10 Things I Hate About Pinky
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s...
The Child of Chaos
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This is what fantasy fiction should be." --Piers Anthony, New...
Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars Preview Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
“O say can you see” begins one of the most...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
July 20, 1969. It’s a day that has earned a...
Thurgood Marshall
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Thurgood Marshall—the great grandson of a slave—was born, African...
Down Under the Pier
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
There’s lots of fun to be had up on the...
Lali's Feather
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Book three in a hilarious new series featuring one boy...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everything starts with a question, like this one: Why do...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Worries, fears, and anxieties are all dragons that sneak up...
The Copycat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A funny, unpredictable, and heartfelt new novel from Wendy McLeod...
DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The DC Super Hero Girls learn what it's like to...

Latest Member Reviews

Rival Magic
 
3.0
"Antonia, wizarding apprentice to Master Betrys, may not be the best at actual magic, but she tries her absolute best..."
Be Our Guest!
 
4.0
"BE OUR GUEST! is a colorful book of photographs. The book takes us to a hotel, where a monkey named..."
Hat Tricks
 
3.0
"HAT TRICKS is a story of magic. Hattie the rabbit pops out of her magic hat to perform some magic...."
Stanley's Toolbox
 
4.5
"STANLEY'S TOOLBOX is a delightful board book that shows many tools in action as Stanley helps to repair Little Woo's..."
Spring Is Here!
 
5.0
"SPRING IS HERE! is a delightful board book that features several animals in the springtime setting. The book is extra..."
Lali's Feather
 
5.0
"LALI'S FEATHER is a delightful and colorful picture book that explores birds and imagination. Lali is playing when she finds..."
A Friend for Mole
 
3.5
"A FRIEND FOR MOLE is a cute picture book that speaks to unlikely friendships and shared experiences. Mole is happy..."
 
5.0
"This book is a winner the moment a reader lays eyes on that cover--and the title. My niece--who is picky..."
 
5.0
"This book is absolutely adorable. Dragons can suddenly show up wherever the characters are and they have to..."
The Girl and the Ghost
 
4.0
"5 Reasons to Read THE GIRL AND THE GHOST 1.) Beautiful prose- This was my first time..."
Brother's Keeper
 
5.0
"BROTHER'S KEEPER is a highly engrossing and heartfelt read about a 12-year-old girl and her dangerous journey from North to..."
Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention
 
5.0
"IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION is a delightful, rhyming book about staying true to yourself and getting creative. Izzy..."