"Where y'at, Iris?"
In SHADOWED SUMMER, Saundra Mitchell immerses us into a Southern setting so rich we can taste it, describing summer-hot Louisiana by showing instead of telling, "My nightgown stuck to me, peeling from my skin with a tickle." She pegs small town life, "According to the sign out by the highway, Ondine was home to 346 good people and 3 cranky old coots and was a good place to live, but that was a lie," and small town people, "Mr. Ourso had a lot of time on his hands, so sometimes he'd stack the groceries alphabetical. Sometimes he did them by size - you never knew until you got there."
While Mitchell is a master at setting, she's a magician with characterization, sliding Iris's skin over the reader's. "Possibility prickled at the back of my neck; it made my heart beat fast in anticipation. A copper tang spread on my tongue, a taste that made me go all tight inside, waiting for something to happen."
Ondine definitely holds some secrets, and Iris's fourteen-year-old curiosity isn't willing to leave them hidden. What makes this ghost story memorable is that Iris isn't just struggling with a haunting, she's struggling with what it feels like to become a woman without her mom around to guide her. Her dad isn't absent, he's solid (which is refreshing), but he's still a man. While allowing Iris to search out secrets about "The Incident with the Landry boy," Mitchell also allows Iris to begin to grow up, and she gets the balance just right.
Strong plot, excellent pace, gorgeous setting and richly-drawn characters. Read it. You won't regret it. SHADOWED SUMMER was nominated for an Edgar Award for a reason.
Highest of High Recommendations
I've known about this book for a while, I've heard several great things about it but kept putting it off, which was a big mistake! I truly loved the story. The main character Iris and her best friend believe they can do spells. Well one day when they go to the cemetery to try to reach the dead they actually get a response, at least Iris does. From then on she is being haunted by the ghost of a young man that disappeared from her small town many years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him or wants to talk about it.
I loved that the book kept bringing up even more questions in my mind with each secret that Iris and her friends uncovered. Saundra does an amazing job with this ghost story in this really small southern town that I got goosebumps while reading it at times. I really enjoyed the southern accent that she gave her characters it was really fun to read because that's the way that I talk sometimes, and I haven't come accross many books that have that in them. It is a very well written book that I had no trouble at all connecting to the characters and picturing the small Louisiana town in my mind. The ending will surprise you and you'll never see it coming. I will definitely be reading this one again!
This was a cute ghost story and pretty quick read. I enjoyed reading about Iris, Collette, and Ben's summer full of adventure trying to solve a mystery of the ghost that's lurking in their local cemetary. I found it very clean and suitable for a younger audience. There were a few chilling moments when the ghost seemed vengeful but otherwise it was a pretty mild story. I enjoyed it and I'm glad I read it though I don't think its a reread type. I do look forward to more from Saundra Mitchell because I thought the writing was very well done. I recommend this book to anyone who like a fun, short read and a ghost story/mystery.
Anyone who has grown up in a small town will understand the
frustrations and limitations that Iris and her friend Collette feel.
For a teen its not fun to see the same people do the same things day
after day. And a graveyard is a strong temptation (one that I found
irresistible at their age and in their situation). I could, despite
being a decade older then either Iris or Collette, easily identify with
them. Mitchell writes their reactions believably and with honesty--who
hasnt gotten tired of their friend who is constantly flirting and
dragging you into their busy couples life only to make you feel like
an outsider? Or anxiety that what you had with that friend is
disappearing as you grow older and have less in common?
history with screenwriting is especially apparent in her attention to
detail with the characters responses and the surroundings. The use of
Where yat?, a common local phrase from New Orleans (according to my
handy dandy slang dictionary) is perhaps the most chilling part of the
book for me. Each time Iris would hear it, I just got a chill down my
spine and goose bumps on my arms.
An important motivating factor
for the book is the friendship between Iris and Collette and how
turning fourteen changed things for them. Collette was on the verge of
wanting to be treated like a young woman--she wanted to primp and preen
herself on the off chance a cute boy would happen by. Iris was content
to keep things as they were--making up magical stories, talking to
spirits and throwing stones at the boys. As the two of them dig deeper
into Elijah Landrys disappearance--with the help from Ben, Collettes
new boyfriend--theyre both forced to confront the truth of their
friendship and its future.
is sure to keep your attention from start to finish and keep you
guessing as to what really happened to Elijah. In fact the resolution
to the mystery forces a series of events that changes Iris perception
of not only herself, but also of her town.
((reprinted with author's permission))
I thought this book was quite good. I love ghost stories and my book club picked this as one of our books last month, and I really enjoyed it. About half way through the book, I had thought I'd figured it out, but I was wrong! The book had many twists and dark turns that I loved and that made me want to read on. The ending was totally unexpected and it was quite a surprisingly good read. I recommend it to any ghost/ghost story lover!
Summer for Iris is going to be much different than any of her others,
and probably not for the better. Iris and her best friend, Collete,
have always pretended that they could do things with ghosts and spent
time in the local graveyard hanging out, however, when one day a ghost
actually talks to Iris, Collete's and Iris's summer changes and they
start thinking twice about playing with the other side. Iris is haunted
by the ghost, Elijah as he haunts her thoughts, dreams, and rips apart
her room, searching for a certain note. As the summer goes on, Iris,
Collete, and Ben try to unfold the mystery of Elijah's disappearance
and face a lot of troubles because of it. What will end up happening in
the end? Find out by reading "Shadowed Summer" by Saundra Mitchell!
really enjoyed this book! It was a fast read with only 183 pages,
however it was just enough to fit in everything that I, as a reader
wanted to read about! I found the characters were well written and even
though the story was about ghosts, you could still relate to it.
However, it did seem like at times the story, especially when reading
about the older ladies, was set in a older time period compared to the
rest of the story. I really did enjoy this book though and I think it
would make a great summer read!
Also published with authors permission here: http://booksforteensreviews.blogspot.com/
What I liked best about Shadowed Summer was the idea of a ghost story. When I first read the first chapter, I thought itll be scary like The Devouring or Deadly Little Secrets because the first chapter was scary. Especially that last line. However, as I progressed into the novel, I realized that the plot and writing didnt rivet me. Of course, there were some scenes that totally captured my attention but as soon as the scene was over, my attention was gone. For example, the part where Elijah somehow conjured stones all over Iris bed made me freak out. Yet, when it was over, I was soon distracted by other things.
In the beginning, Shadowed Summer had a very nice pace going. Some details and such. On the other hand, the ending was too abrupt. It felt like the author was rushing to finish it to finish the ghost story. So I didnt really enjoy the ending all too much. Even though I didnt like how the ending ended, it still surprised me. I totally didnt expect that and when I read it, I remember going like, -?! WTF?! HOW did this happen?!
For the writing, I loved how there was a Southern drawl in each of the characters accents, especially Elijah. The drawl seemed real, unlike some other authors who just put yall and thats their Southern drawl. When I reading Shadowed Summer, I could literally say the words out loud and out comes a drawl.
The cover was really pretty as well. It had a mysterious outlook to it and was totally appropriate for the story plotline. Though it wasnt what I had expected, I still enjoyed it to some varying degrees.
Ondine, Louisiana, according to their population sign, is the home of "346 good people and 3 cranky old coots" and the only thing interesting about this town is that a teenager, Elijah, disappeared in 1989. For years, Iris and her best friend, Collette, have played make-believe games to keep themselves from going crazy, but this summer, something seems to have changed. Suddenly, Collette is boy-crazy and all of their make-believe games need something extra. A love triangle, a forbidden love, and now even a witch or two pretending to use creepy magic. But then, Elijah starts to haunt Iris; his ghost follows and terrorizes her. All Iris and think is, why me?
Shadowed Summer scared me to death at times. I had to leave my light on at night for two nights in a row. It gave me goose bumps and made me look twice. I loved that part. The mystery behind the disappearance of '89 was fun to follow and it was especially interesting to find clues. Talking about the book in general, I feel really comfortable and would recommend it ... but I don't see why Elijah needed to turn out homosexual. It really ruined it for me and I don't see how I can overlook that. If you think you can over look that, this is a great book to creep you out of your skin.