Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she's with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I'm crazy. For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily's movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily's secret. But when Lily's father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily's mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily's own identity.
The Shadow GirlFeatured
The relationships between the characters shine in this book. Every character feels fully realized, even the character who dies in the beginning. The strained love between mother and daughter will ring true to readers. The "are we friends or should we be something more?" tension between Lily and her long-time best friend Wyatt is perfectly rendered. And the first-crush butterflies between Lily and Ty will give first-crush butterflies to readers as well.
The setting is also perfect. Ms. Archer paints a picture of the small Colorado town and its surrounding mountains with deft strokes. The reader always feels grounded visually in every scene.
Finally, the romantic tension in the book will draw readers who enjoy love stories. This book is being marketed as a chilling, mind-bending mystery, but the chills and the mystery are hit and miss. The romance, however, is ever-present and is guaranteed to win fans.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The atmospheric tension in the story dissipates quickly as the story becomes less about Lily, Iris, and the secrets being kept and more about Lily's romantic feelings for Ty and Wyatt. The reader guesses the final reveal before the halfway point of the story, and that makes the mystery feel as if it's dragging too slowly. I found myself getting impatient with Lily for not figuring out what I already knew. Also, the hints of danger (the reason why Lily has been hidden in a tiny mountain town, the reason Iris is afraid) never come to fruition. There is no true danger to anyone in this book, and that steals the power from the mystery.
SHADOW GIRL delivers a light mystery and plenty of romantic tension and is sure to draw readers who enjoy love stories.
Told from Lily’s PoV, The Shadow Girl succeeded in keeping me in constant suspense by keeping Lily from uncovering the truth to her parents’ past too quickly. With Lily’s mother being completely unwilling to answer any of her questions, Lily is forced to sneak around to discover the truth. Finding her mother’s sketches that hinted at a past Lily couldn’t remember, a trunk full of old clothes that Lily didn’t recognize but that looked to be designed just for her, and a music box that stirred up thoughts of a dark-haired, blue-eyed boy, Lily grew curiouser and curiouser; which, of course, meant I also grew curiouser and curiouser. As Iris grew more agitated, and foreign memories began to flood into Lily with growing intensity, Lily couldn’t help but question Iris’ existence – something she had always just taken for granted. Was Iris just a part of her, or had Iris somehow had a life prior to Lily? This constant state of confusion created such an intense level of suspense that I grew frustrated – in the best way – with the amount of clues that were piling up that didn’t result in answers! The Shadow Girl’s deliciously slow reveal of the truth made for great pacing as I was constantly trying to piece together the latest clue with everything else Lily had learned in an attempt to come up with the larger picture.
The only thing I really had an issue with in The Shadow Girl was its inclusion of a love triangle. Considering everything going on in Lily’s life – her father’s death, her mother’s failing health and emotional distance, her depressed dog, and her questions about Iris and her parents’ big secret – I really didn’t think that The Shadow Girl needed a romantic element. And considering her friend Sylvie pretty much nails her feelings for one of the guys on the head, I didn’t think it needed to be drawn out for as long as it was.
“Whenever Wyatt and I are together, I notice things about him I never did before, and I start wondering how it would be if we were more than friends [...] He’s so sweet, and nobody makes me laugh like he does. Plus, we know pretty much everything about each other, so I don’t have to worry about what he thinks.”
“He’s safe, you mean.” Sylvie casts me a disappointed look. “Safe is a cop-out reason for being with someone.”
That being said, I didn’t dislike the love triangle either. It wasn’t over the top, there wasn’t any instalove, and it didn’t overwhelm the plot; it was more of a background thing really, that popped up from time to time. And I actually really liked both boys, though neither of them truly blew me away or stole my heart. I just didn’t think it was necessary.
So I think a big reason why I enjoyed The Shadow Girl so much had to do with how much I liked Lily. She was courageous and spunky, but vulnerable and naive at the same time. The loss of her father was something that was felt throughout the entire book, during moments when her grief would just overwhelm her for a moment, but she was always able to get past it in order to move forward. Several times she lashed out in anger because of her grief, but always recognized that she was hurting others because she was hurting, so she’d apologize for her behaviour. I loved that Archer was able to weave such an emotionally heavy event into The Shadow Girl’s plot, without incapacitating Lily because of it or using it as the thing which defined her. The other big thing that I loved about Lily was that she never questioned her sanity. As much as she recognized that having Iris was abnormal, she never worried that it meant that something was wrong with her; it was merely something she knew she should keep to herself in order to keep everyone happy. While I personally would have appreciated a psychological twist to The Shadow Girl’s plot, it probably would have been a little too much considering everything else that was going on!
There’s definitely more I could say, like certain ethical questions that were raised, but I don’t want to get into spoilers. Thanks to a relatable and headstrong heroine, and enough mystery and suspense to keep me on edge for most of its pages, The Shadow Girl is a must read!
The Shadow Girl is about Lily who has always felt another girl’s presence in her life. Iris can’t be seen, even by Lily, but they can hear each other’s thoughts and feel each other. Lily’s parents act strangely when she mentions Iris, but any parent would be concerned about their child hearing voices, right? Well there’s more to it than that, which Lily discovers on her 17th birthday after her father dies in an accident. Her mother sometimes says strange things, and Lily has visions that feel that memories, and Iris feels like there’s something she can’t quite remember. It’s all very mysterious, but like I said, I formed my theory early and it was correct.
Of course there’s a romance. It’s a big part of the story, but not entirely the focus. There’s also some sort of love triangle at play, but it’s not the overly done, forced kind that seems to dominate YA today. Lily just gets caught up in a moment and ends up kissing her best friend, Wyatt. She doesn’t want to ruin their friendship with a failed relationship, but she begins to be confused about her feelings. Then there’s the mysterious new guy in town — Ty. He’s super hot, so of course Lily is attracted to him, and she’s a redhead so everyone is attracted to her. However, Ty ends up as a major driving force in the plot, so we get to know him as more than that hot mysterious guy.
The plot is quite interesting, even if it is predictable. I was very intrigued by Lily and Iris’ connection, and couldn’t quite figure them out until closer to the end. The Shadow Girl starts out feeling more paranormal, but as the stories moves on it starts to take on a more scientific feel. It was a strange transition at first, and I kind of felt like I would have preferred a paranormal or supernatural explanation rather than the scientific one we’re given. The ending also feels a little incomplete. I would have liked to know more and I was kind of expecting the bad guy that’s mentioned to show up, but he doesn’t. In the end, I did enjoy The Shadow Girl, but it’s not one of my favorites.