Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo

April 27, 2014 4 stars, Book Review, Comics 26 ★★★★

Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di BartoloIn the Shadows by Jim Di Bartolo, Kiersten White
Published by Scholastic Press on April 29, 2014
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.


Murder, Suspense and Magic most foul
In the Shadows landed in my mailbox and zowwy was I in for a unique treat. This book melds prose with graphic novel in a fabulous time lapse story telling method that was a tension filled delight to read.

The story features 5 teens caught up in some very dangerous happenings sometime in the 1900s. But the graphic novel follows one character on an accelerated timeline that spans quite a number of years. So you will read a chunk of the novel then you’ll get several pages of the graphic novel story line and it switches back and forth thus. The graphic novel pages don’t have dialogue but they do have the occasional little handwritten letter pictured that you can read. Even though there isn’t dialogue on the graphic pages it won’t take you long to catch onto what is going on. By the end you will see how everything ties together and that my dears was lovely to see.

While the story is somewhat dark the characters help keep things light and quick moving. They have very well rounded personalities and given the number of pages in the novel the author was still able to develop them well enough for me as a reader to become attached to each of them. There is a lot of mystery here. Who is Arthur, who is the lady…what is up with the creepo that keeps giving Cora the pervy looks, is there really a witch and much more. But onto the characters!

Minne: A playful little spitfire with a secret

Cora: The dutiful older sister who needs to be needed but really just needs to be reminded about having fun.

Arthur: A dour lad with a dark past that he longs to forget.

Thomas: A loyal brother with a love for ragtime and late nights.

Charles: Completely charming, inquisitive and full of the best things in life.

I couldn’t have been more pleased when I reached the end of In the Shadows to find that it was a complete story and not just the start of another series. Not everything is gone into depth but I really didn’t think it needed to be. This was just the quick refreshing read I needed to satisfy one dark and rainy night. I highly recommend this for all teens graphic novel lovers.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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26 Responses to “Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo”

  1. Melliane

    I like to read a graphic novel from time to time but it’s been a while now! I didn’t know this one but I’m glad you had a good moment with this one.

  2. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I’m so glad you liked this! I’ve been kind of on the fence about it–I really wanted to check it out b/c Jim Di Barto is Laini Taylor’s (of Daughter of Smoke & Bone fame) husband, but I’d seen a few MEH reviews, and didn’t know if it was worth it. BUT as we’ve already stated once this morning, I totally trust your opinion, so it’s a go! Great review 😉
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  3. Anya

    Yey, I (obviously!) agree 😀 I’m so glad we chatted about this one before I started it and that I was too lazy to switch the order of reading for this one, haha. Those illustrations were so pretty 😀
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  4. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Oh, interesting! The only book I can think of off the top of my head the really blended the pictures with the book (other than really little kids board books) is The Inventions of Hugo Cabret. Really enjoyed reading that one with my boys and found the combination of images and texts was really quite interesting. Curious if this one, with the graphic novel take on it, would be every bit as appealing. From your review, it sounds like it is.
    Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Half a King by Joe AbercrombieMy Profile

  5. Tanja

    I saw this one around but I had no idea it was so good. I haven’t though about graphic novel with mystery in it. Somehow pics speak more than words and all that. But I will make sure to check out this one. Great review! 🙂
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  6. Emily @ Oh Magic Hour

    I have been totally into the graphic novel thing lately, and especially where graphic novels and print novels intersect (see, e.g., Flora & Ulysses, Wonderstruck, The Adventures of Hugo Cabret…). This sounds exactly up my alley. I had seen lots of references to this book around the Twitter-verse but hadn’t had the chance to really look into it yet and am super glad you profiled it here. Yet another addition to the TBR courtesy of Pabkins.
    Emily @ Oh Magic Hour recently posted…Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Clare NorthMy Profile

  7. Anika

    I’ve been so excited for this book even since Laini Taylor (Jim Di Bartolo’s wife and my favourtie author) mentioned it on her blog! I’m glad you liked it. Have to get my hands on it ASAP. The snippets of art I’ve seen look beautiful!
    Anika recently posted…The Real Fictional WorldMy Profile

  8. Kirsty-Marie

    I haven’t read that many graphic novels, though I do have to be in the mood for them (and depends on what it’s about) but I didn’t even think abut picking this one up (I’ve read Mind Games and Perfect Lies by Kiersten White and loved it for the craziness of it) but I didn’t know it was a mixed story then graphic novel. So that is very interesting, and sounds like it was done well at least. I’m definitely going to have to check it out. 🙂
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: TeaseMy Profile

  9. Candace

    I just went to the signing for this one yesterday. I hadn’t really been sure of it before, but Kiersten and Jim made a good case. And the artwork, while dark, is really great. This is probably the only way someone would get me to read a graphic (like) novel though. I’m excited to pick it up!
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