In the Shadow of Blackbirds - YA Review by Rayna Grace

Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 14
Title: In The Shadow of Blackbirds
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 04/02/13
Galley: Yes
Top 25: Yes
Convince us to read the book: This book was a really cool, new kind of novel that mixed science, historical fiction, and ghost stories in an entertaining and easy-to-follow way. It kept my attention from the first page to the last; I read it in about a 24-hour time frame. The main character was one of the best I have read about because she was a very smart and outspoken feminist, which I loved. She seemed very real and I felt that I had truly met her by the time the book was over because of the great dialogue between her and many other characters. The character's iron will shown throughout the book was also very remarkable; It made her the realistic hero for the uncertain times within the story. I really liked this book and would recommend it to someone bored with the usual ghost stories.
Memorable or Forgettable: What made this book memorable for me was the fact that it was historical fiction, but the plot was not lost within all the history, as I often see with novels set in a specific time period. I also thought that the author mixed fantasy with history and factual information very well, with a minimum of implausibilities and "eye-roll moments". The perspective of the main character was memorable, too, because she was a smart and scientific-minded feminist, which made the book match modern beliefs.
Cover: I love the cover! It really reflected the vintage, almost steampunk contents of the book. I definitely was attracted to the book by its cover, and I was not disappointed with it in the least.
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 5Q Hard to imagine a better book
Popularity: 4P Broad general teen appeal
Annotation: The 1918 Spanish influenza along with the first World War turn the entire U.S. into a place of fear and uncertainty, and many people turn to the spirit world to cope with the loss of their loved ones. Mary Shelley Black does not believe in this practice, but her beliefs are questioned when the boy she loved comes back to her in spirit.

tags:  historical fiction / World War II / supernatural / vintage photographs / BFYA nominee / ya lit

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