Reviews for Shadowshaper

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In Older's (Half-Resurrection Blues) YA debut, Sierra Santiago is from Bedford-Stuyvesant, parties in Park Slope, and crashes Columbia University with ease. Sierra's roots in her neighborhood are three generations deep, but no part of the city is alien to her. She loves art, and painting a mural on an abandoned building is the focus of her summer. Abruptly, her stroke-disoriented grandfather urges her to hurry the project-and then she is attacked by what looks like a walking corpse. What follows is a well-executed plot of the exceptional child with a mysterious history standing forth to save her world, aided by a similarly gifted romantic interest. What makes Older's story exceptional is the way Sierra belongs in her world, grounded in family, friends, and an awareness of both history and change. Her goal is to go deeper into that history and, by so doing, effect change of her own. Sierra's masterful adaptability is most apparent in her language, which moves among English and Spanish, salsa and rap, formality and familiarity with an effortlessness that simultaneously demonstrates Older's mastery of his medium. Ages 14-up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* When Sierra's grandfather warns her to finish her mural because the paintings are fading, she is puzzled, but the only person willing to help her find answers is talented artist Robbie, and even he is reticent. Determined, Sierra finally learns the truth: her grandfather was a powerful shadowshaper, able to animate art with the spirit of a departed soul, and now an interloper, anthropologist Dr. Wick, is trying to steal these powers for himself. As Sierra investigates the shadowshapers, she discovers her own shockingly powerful role in the disappearing community. Apart from being an awesome power, shadowshaping becomes a resonant metaphor for the importance of cultural heritage, as Puerto Rican Sierra and Haitian Robbie draw on and amplify their ancestors' spirits, and their primary concern is keeping their honorable tradition alive in their community. Older's world building echoes that, too, weaving in timely commentary on gentrification, cultural appropriation, and even the shifting social mores of immigrant communities (especially evident in Sierra chafing against her grandfather's machismo). Even if readers don't recognize Older's crafty commentary, they will find plenty to like in the unique fantasy elements, entertainingly well-wrought characters, and cinematic pacing. Smart writing with a powerful message that never overwhelms the terrific storytelling.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 7 Up-The 2015 SLJ Best Book follows Afro-Latina Sierra Santiago as she discovers that she's part of a long line of shadowshapers, people with the ability to infuse magic into their art in order to fight off demons. The Brooklyn teen embraces her Blackness and defends it against the critique of her family members-a powerful statement in YA lit. Fresh dialogue and exceptional world-building will have readers anticipating further adventures in the upcoming Shadowhouse Fall slated for September 2017. Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 7 Up-Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them. Robbie is a clear love interest, but he isn't there to rescue Sierra. Sierra is a tough, confident, body-positive female protagonist of Puerto Rican descent, proud of her 'fro and curves. The fact that she and Robbie seem to be connecting romantically is portrayed as more of a happy coincidence than the culmination of a lifelong dream of romance. Dialogue is fast paced and authentic to Sierra's Brooklyn neighborhood, which is vividly described. Readers will find someone to whom they can relate in her diverse group of friends. VERDICT Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

When her grandpa Lazaro--bedridden and primarily mute because of a stroke--blurts out an incomprehensible warning, artist Sierra is plunged into a completely different New York: one with the reanimated dead, spirits, and shadowshapers. Sierra's Puerto Rican family, lively Brooklyn neighborhood, and Haitian (possible) love interest make for a vibrant and uncommon, diversely populated fantasy that speaks to the urban teen experience. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

When walking corpsesand worseshow up in the city, a teen discovers family secrets and ancestral powers.Sierra's summer plan is to paint an enormous mural on an abandoned, unfinished five-story building. On an older mural nearby, unnervingly, a painted face changes expression and weeps a tear that glistens and drops. Grandpa Lzaro, mostly speechless from a stroke, grasps a lucid moment to warn Sierra, "They are coming for us.the shadowshapers." Abuelo can't or won't explain further, and Sierra has no idea what shadowshapers are. Her regular world explodes into a "mystical Brooklyn labyrinth" shimmering with beauty but deadly dangerous. Walking corpses with icy grips and foul smells chase her, and a throng hainta shadowy phantom with mouths all overalmost kills her. In Bed-Stuy, Prospect Park, and Coney Island in the middle of the night, Sierra fights to stay alive and to decipher her role in this chaos. This story about ancestors, ghosts, power, and community has art and music at its core; Sierra's drawing and painting turn out to be tools for spirit work. Sierra's Puerto Rican with African and Tano ancestors; her community is black and brown, young and old, Latin and Caribbean and American. Sometimes funny and sometimes striking, Older's comfortable prose seamlessly blends English and Spanish. Warm, strong, vernacular, dynamica must. (Urban fantasy. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Back