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Rutkoski returns with a gripping and intelligent thriller, invoking the kind of space-time twists familiar to fans of her Kronos Chronicles. Sixteen-year-old Darcy Jones remembers nothing of her life before she was abandoned in front of a Chicago firehouse at age five. Since then, Darcy has lived in multiple foster homes, accumulating a thick behavioral file. Just as things are stabilizing for Darcy-she's honing her talent for art and has a loyal group of outsider friends-an intense new boy at her high school, Conn McCrea, fixates on her. Not just a love interest, Conn also presents a real threat as he reveals that Darcy is actually a Shade, an ethereal creature who can "ghost and manifest" (disappear and reappear). Conn takes Darcy from "the Alter" (her Chicago) to a parallel version of the city where Shades operate as terrorists and live in a Shadow Society. Filled with literary and artistic allusions (some of which diverge in the dual Chicagos), the action-packed narrative poses thorny ethical questions as Darcy wrestles with bigotry, identity, belonging, and love. Ages 12-up. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-Just when they thought there was nothing original left in the paranormal romance genre, readers meet Darcy Jones. She is 16, an artist, a loyal friend, not exactly popular, and she's been in the foster-care system since she was found abandoned at the age of 5. Rich with the history and geography of Chicago, Rutkoski's novel weaves a complex new world for readers. Darcy doesn't know it, but she's part of a race called the Shades, who have abilities beyond those of humans and are afraid of only one thing: fire. They are part of a terrorist organization called the Shadow Society, which is intent on killing humans. They live in an alternate version of Chicago. It is a dimension in which the Great Fire of 1871 never happened and the Shades and humans have been hostile to and suspicious of one another for generations. The fantasy is neatly tied up with the science fiction and an impossible romance, making this an excellent choice for readers of multiple genres. Although the ending may be too perfect for some, it manages to bring the pieces of the story back together with unexpected and satisfying ease. Questions are answered, and the future looks bright. Although rough seas may be ahead, there is no doubt that Darcy will weather the storm.-Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.