Shadow Girl
The house on Arrow Island is full of mystery.Yet when Mei arrives, she can’t help feeling relieved. She’s happy to spend the summer in an actual mansion tutoring a rich man’s daughter if it means a break from her normal life—her needy mother, her delinquent brother, their tiny apartment in the city. And Ella Morison seems like an easy charge, sweet and well behaved. What Mei doesn’t know is that something is very wrong in the Morison household.Though she tries to focus on her duties, Mei becomes increasingly distracted by the family’s problems and her own complicated feelings for Ella’s brother, Henry. But most disturbing of all are the unexplained noises she hears at night—the howling and thumping and cries.Mei is a sensible girl. She isn’t superstitious; she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Yet she can’t shake her fear that there is danger lurking in the shadows of this beautiful house, a darkness that could destroy the family inside and out… and Mei along with them.

Shadow Girl Details

TitleShadow Girl
Author
ReleaseDec 19th, 2017
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062306678
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal

Shadow Girl Review

  • Rebecca McNutt
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow Girl is an interesting book, but a little cliche. It's a very generic haunted house tale that boasts a lot of mystery but really doesn't have much of anything mysterious or suspenseful at all in its plot. Some of the characters were very obnoxious too, making it a book that I just wanted to quickly finish.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)This was a contemporary story about a girl staying in a haunted house. Mei was a nice girl, and she worked so hard to try and get somewhere in life. She also really cared for her family, and was irritated by the way her brother behaved.The storyline in this was about Mei being hired as an academic tutor by a rich family, and being asked to move into their summer home with them. There was some strange goings (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)This was a contemporary story about a girl staying in a haunted house. Mei was a nice girl, and she worked so hard to try and get somewhere in life. She also really cared for her family, and was irritated by the way her brother behaved.The storyline in this was about Mei being hired as an academic tutor by a rich family, and being asked to move into their summer home with them. There was some strange goings on, and the daughter of the family, who Mei was tutoring, claimed that the house was haunted by the daughter of the family who originally owned the house. The ending to this was pretty good, and I liked the little twist at the end.7 out of 10
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  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    --Initial Post Reading ThoughtsWhile Shadow Girl has an intriguing premise, it sadly fell a little short for me. I was really excited about the fusion of contemporary and mystery/suspense, but unfortunately it didn’t work very well in this case. There was a lot that was left unexplained and not in a good way. I did like the contemporary aspects of the novel though!--What I LikedThe mystery. I really did enjoy the mystery of this story…until I realized that I wasn’t going to be getting any answer --Initial Post Reading ThoughtsWhile Shadow Girl has an intriguing premise, it sadly fell a little short for me. I was really excited about the fusion of contemporary and mystery/suspense, but unfortunately it didn’t work very well in this case. There was a lot that was left unexplained and not in a good way. I did like the contemporary aspects of the novel though!--What I LikedThe mystery. I really did enjoy the mystery of this story…until I realized that I wasn’t going to be getting any answers which you can read more about below. The mystery and suspense is what kept me from putting this book down! I really wanted to know what was going on the entire time I was reading which made Shadow Girl a really fast-paced read!The contemporary moments. As you’ll learn more about below, Shadow Girl was a bit of a fusion novel. It contained both Mystery/Suspense and Contemporary elements. There are my top two genres to read, but I think I love contemporary just a tad bit more. I loved the contemporary aspects of this book. I liked learning more about Mei and her family and how she will do anything to become successful. I loved her interactions with the Morison family and how she fell in love with their lifestyle which is the complete opposite of her home life. These were the moments that ultimately captured my interest in the end as I was so sure I was going to love this book for it’s creepy/suspense factor.--What I Didn’t LikeThe lack of answers. Towards the end of the book, I kept reading and reading and the amount of remaining pages I needed to read were becoming less and less and still, I was getting no answers. What was the point of the haunted house? Why was this ghost terrorizing Ella and Mei? Was it relevant? Honestly, I don’t think so. I just honestly didn’t understand the point. The horror/suspense aspects of this novel are what initially made me pick it up and, unfortunately, those aspects fell short.The genre fusion. Initially, this was what I was the most excited about when it came to Shadow Girl. Contemporary and Suspense/Mystery are my favourite genres to read and to have them mixed together for this story really intrigued me! However, as you can see above, it didn’t end up working so well in the end. I just wish there was a little more to it. The idea was there and it could have been really cool, but to much was left unanswered…and not in a good way.--While I enjoyed some aspects of Shadow Girl, I was left feeling disappointed by others. I really wanted to love this one, but unfortunately it lacked in the areas that I was initially really excited for. I won’t give up on Liana Liu’s stories just yet though as I really did enjoy her writing style!
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  • Dani - Perspective of a Writer
    January 1, 1970
    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...Mei is an academic tutor saving for college. She takes the job helping Ella as she gets to meet her father, Mr. Morison a powerful man in the financial industry and as a bonus she gets to spend the summer out at their vacation home on Arrow Island. But things are not as easy going as they appear. She is annoyed by Henry, her charge's brother, she is taken advantage of by Nessa, her boss and then there are the unexplained noises she hears at nigh Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...Mei is an academic tutor saving for college. She takes the job helping Ella as she gets to meet her father, Mr. Morison a powerful man in the financial industry and as a bonus she gets to spend the summer out at their vacation home on Arrow Island. But things are not as easy going as they appear. She is annoyed by Henry, her charge's brother, she is taken advantage of by Nessa, her boss and then there are the unexplained noises she hears at night—the howling and thumping and cries.This book could have been one of my favorite books of the year...What I liked!-MEI! I really liked the main character and how she put a lot of effort into getting out of her poor situation and how she worked out how to work with these rich women and the kids she helps. This could be any kid in America today trying to find their way out of poverty.-The Chinese heritage. Mei is American but her mom is wholly Chinese and talks to her daughter in her native language. I loved this part of their mother/daughter relationship BUT I wish that more was incorporated having to do with her heritage!-The contrast of rich family to poor circumstances was startlingly brutal. It really made you sympathize with Mei and see why she wants to make it big time in the financial sector. The -The ghost! This was a great idea even though it was rather easy for Mei to learn all about who the ghost was... actually Ella and Henry both knew more than her and it was super easy for them to get the information. I still enjoyed her struggle to believe the ghost existed and to give credence to what the ghost said was going to happen...-The mystery of her boss's husband was obvious but i enjoyed the pressures it put on Mei... The story could have been terribly boring but what she wanted warred with what she thought she should do and I enjoyed that! Why it wasn't my favorite book of the year...This book was meant to be a fusion genre. Fusion is one of my ALL TIME favorite genres... I like to mix it up and keep the story different with elements from other genres. The author did a good job working other genres into the story... the problem is the pay off for each genre MUST BE PRESENT! And that is unfortunately lacking in this book.-Mystery: From who the ghost is and why she wanted revenge on the Morison family.-Thriller: What does the ghost have to do with her charge, Ella? Why is she pestering the girl and now Mei?-Contemporary: Mei has to decide what she is going to do with her knowledge about Mr. Morison... will she take the internship?-Coming of Age: Mei must decide which school she will be attending... her first choice or one for her mother?!-Romance: Will she or won't she fall for Henry Morison?Each one of these had its own ending but they were all limp... Only one had a proper strong ending and while I liked her choice on that one I wanted more to do with the mystery! With a little more development and some stronger plot I felt like the premise could have been realizes better. Also the romance had little to do with anything and smacked of instalove. I didn't hate it but it just felt out of place and shoe-horned in. Then to have that limp ending on it.I didn't hate this book... it was a great read as far as a REAL high school graduate who is quite uncertain what to do next. She doesn't quite trust the adults in her life to lead her to the right decision. The fusion fell flat but the journey wasn't totally lost. There is an ending to everything and Mei is well on her way to any future she imagines for herself!I wish the cover and title better reflected a graduate's muddled journey and how helping Ella let go of the ghost helped her too... ⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Relationships⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ FeelingsBOTTOM LINE: Not quite the thrilling ghost story advertised but a lovely HS graduate muddling along...Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.______________________You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 49%It's been a long time since I DNF'd a book but unfortunately SHADOW GIRL wasn't something I could force myself to push through. Sure, I only had an hour and twenty minutes remaining but I just couldn't do it. For a book that was pitched as a paranormal mystery thriller, there was little plot to that affect. Instead we got to experience a rehashing of what the role of an academic tutor meant, watch our protagonist flip flop between liking the brother of her charge and then quickly disli DNF at 49%It's been a long time since I DNF'd a book but unfortunately SHADOW GIRL wasn't something I could force myself to push through. Sure, I only had an hour and twenty minutes remaining but I just couldn't do it. For a book that was pitched as a paranormal mystery thriller, there was little plot to that affect. Instead we got to experience a rehashing of what the role of an academic tutor meant, watch our protagonist flip flop between liking the brother of her charge and then quickly disliking him again, experience her pushover-ness when she'd promise herself she wouldn't do any errands or favours for Ella's mother that didn't directly involve her tutoring.. only to do them anyway.. and so much more that was also a lot of nothing.Ontop of the plot, or lack thereof, Liu's writing style just didn't appeal to me. It seemed she tried to make it flow in ways, try to keep the narrative interesting, but unfortunately the attempt fell flat. Which mirrored my experience with the characters. I didn't find anyone sympathetic or interesting or compelling and the vague hints towards this mystery was equally as bland.Sorry, wouldn't recommend.** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Cassandra
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed feelings about this book.You know those books that have nothing technically wrong with it? The plot is cohesive and moving. The characters have a distinct voice and drive. The characters are even likable and struggle and change and grow. But there just seems to be some key piece missing. Some spark of life. It just lulls from event to event.That was unfortunately this book.It was a relatively simplistic and cliche kind girl is hired to care for a rich kid on their families private i I have mixed feelings about this book.You know those books that have nothing technically wrong with it? The plot is cohesive and moving. The characters have a distinct voice and drive. The characters are even likable and struggle and change and grow. But there just seems to be some key piece missing. Some spark of life. It just lulls from event to event.That was unfortunately this book.It was a relatively simplistic and cliche kind girl is hired to care for a rich kid on their families private island for the summer. The synopse made it seem like a good chunk of the story would revolve around this paranormal mystery of a haunting. But it didn't. We had a couple nights of seeing things, a couple dreams, a couple of haunting and a couple of noises in the darkness. In truth, this is a story about a American Chinese girl named Mei receiving a job opportunity. Mei is the academic tutor for Elle Morison. Possibly the cutest, shy kid ever who added so much depth to the characters in the story but was absent for much of the book! *groans* The story way mainly about driven Mei discovering and healing and helping Elle become happy. There was a dash of romance, but thank the lord character development stayed cohesive! Mei was way too driven to fall for someone with so little interaction and time. I have to say my favorite part of the story was the development between Mei and Elle. Over the course of the summer, you saw this shy little girl really beginning to be present and interactive with her surroundings. She began to flourish. Mei at first didn't know how to handle Elle, but really listened to her and engaged the child. It was really beautiful. Very Uptown Girls (with less crying)
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  • rachel • typed truths
    January 1, 1970
    Shadow Girl was a poorly paced borefest. I do not understand why this is being pitched as a paranormal mystery when it was so clearly not. The supposed ghost lore is mentioned only a handful of times, and even then, it is not a focus of the story. It was not remotely spooky. There are a few bumps and wails in the night, but they could - and were - easily explained away. It was mostly driven by the fact that Ella, Mei’s student, claims her room is haunted by a ghost. I need way more suspense and Shadow Girl was a poorly paced borefest. I do not understand why this is being pitched as a paranormal mystery when it was so clearly not. The supposed ghost lore is mentioned only a handful of times, and even then, it is not a focus of the story. It was not remotely spooky. There are a few bumps and wails in the night, but they could - and were - easily explained away. It was mostly driven by the fact that Ella, Mei’s student, claims her room is haunted by a ghost. I need way more suspense and atmosphere and haunting shenanigans to keep me interested than that. The entire subplot was messy and disjointed, thrown in without planning or consideration, and making little sense. We barely know the identity of the ghost - if there even was one - let alone anything more about this world’s ghost lore. I wanted to be spooked. I don’t necessarily mind an open ending, in fact, I would have liked it if the story had left us wondering whether it was real or all in Ella’s head. I just needed the story to choose whether it was a paranormal mystery or not and commit to delivering that story, not half-assing it like it did.The fact that we follow the petty drama of the Morison family, rather than the ghost story, could have been perfectly fine if I had actually cared about the family. But I didn’t. Their lack of personality made it hard for me to empathise with their situation. Henry was stereotypical and dry. His romance with Mei was rushed, awkward and unnecessary. I did like Ella but Vanessa, Jeffery, Mei’s mother, Doris and Mr Morison were all shallow and underdeveloped. I was also confused by the Jeffery drama. They clearly state was is happening halfway through the book - or imply it so heavily, so clearly, that it is obvious to everyone - but the fact that it is a Thing was a big twist at the end? I did not even realise it was meant to be a mystery!I wish I could say that I loved the narration but I honestly did not even enjoy Mei as a protagonist. Her internal monologue revealed how she hid her rude and judgemental self under layers of over-the-top politeness and fake smiles. I found it difficult to care about her when I was so frustrated with her. She made Henry out to be this snobbish rich boy for no good reason. He was sweet with his sister and kind toward her. Her antagonism was off-putting and just judgemental.Liu does have a very simplistic writing style. I loved how well the story flowed and how it was so easy to flick through the whole book in a single sitting. I wish she had focused on developing her character more, however, or at least given us a creepy atmosphere for the ghost elements to shine.I did like that Liu did highlight the microaggressions faced by a lot of Asian-Americans in their daily lives. Obviously, I cannot speak for the representation myself - Mei is Chinese-American - but I loved how well the cultural differences between Mei and Henry were woven in. It was a nice touch. Overall? Very disappointing. There was nothing substantial that I enjoyed about this book. At all. Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    If you are looking for a suspenseful, paranormal mystery, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for an interesting, broken, (Asian!) heroine in a YA novel that is light on the romance and angst, yet emotionally tumultuous, this is probably for you. My recommendation: go in with no expectations and enjoy! I didn't particularly like this book at first, but it grew on me. The writing is first-person present and full of short, abrupt sentences. Mei is initially closed off and not especiall If you are looking for a suspenseful, paranormal mystery, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for an interesting, broken, (Asian!) heroine in a YA novel that is light on the romance and angst, yet emotionally tumultuous, this is probably for you. My recommendation: go in with no expectations and enjoy! I didn't particularly like this book at first, but it grew on me. The writing is first-person present and full of short, abrupt sentences. Mei is initially closed off and not especially likable. From the start the "mystery" of Arrow Island and what will happen to the Morisons is pretty predictable. The paranormal aspects were, at best, weird. Generally I found them unnecessary. Yet as the story progresses, I found myself enjoying it more and more. Mei's relationship with Ella and the Morison family is poignant and well-developed. Her character change is believable, and not just fueled by a boy. I also appreciated Mei's relationship with her own family. It felt raw and real. I like the pacing of this book and the way it breaks up her stay at the Island with a trip home. I'd recommend this one - just not as a paranormal thriller. There are paranormal elements, including an exorcising scene and creepy dreams that I didn't take seriously but a younger reader might. This book also contains some language (f-bombs) but nothing too heavy. I'll definitely keep an eye out for more from this author.Thank you for sending this as a Christmas present, Kris!
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  • Hafsa Sabira
    January 1, 1970
    Abstract: Mei is a lower-middle class Asian-American teenager trying to live up to the high performance expected from her and concentrates solely on earning some extra money for her college and her family. So, when she receives an offer of being an educational tutor to Ella Morison, the ever-so-quite and strange child of muliti-billionaire Morison household, she leaves for Arrow Island for two months without any hesitation.Soon she meets with Victoria, Ella, Henry and Mr. Morison and subconsciou Abstract: Mei is a lower-middle class Asian-American teenager trying to live up to the high performance expected from her and concentrates solely on earning some extra money for her college and her family. So, when she receives an offer of being an educational tutor to Ella Morison, the ever-so-quite and strange child of muliti-billionaire Morison household, she leaves for Arrow Island for two months without any hesitation.Soon she meets with Victoria, Ella, Henry and Mr. Morison and subconsciously steps into the mystery that revolves around the characters and the house. With a ghost that haunts the house at night, and the Morisons' fragile relationships, Mei becomes more than just an educational tutor.Verdict:Honesty, I enjoyed the novel at first even though I found it a bit cliched at times. Although it is not the type of novel I would expect teenage romance to be carried out in an over-dramatic way, it somehow happened but sadly, could not live up to the expectation. It did have mystery and ghost as it mentioned in the synopsis, however, I felt like the combination just did not work out well for the novel. The author probably tried to balance everything out but it just became too much messy in the end. I feel like the novel could work excellent without the ghost and would have received a higher rating as it had so many elements laid out beautifully.
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  • Rich in Color
    January 1, 1970
    It’s only January right now, and I’ve found one of my favorite books of the year. For reference, my favorite last year was a belated reading of Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung. Like Lucy and Linh, Liana Liu’s Shadow Girl is another incredible read with a heroine from a low-income Asian immigrant background and strong narrative thread focusing on family. I read Shadow Girl in one sitting, staying up past 2 in the morning — which was not the greatest idea, considering it’s quite the spooky story.What It’s only January right now, and I’ve found one of my favorite books of the year. For reference, my favorite last year was a belated reading of Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung. Like Lucy and Linh, Liana Liu’s Shadow Girl is another incredible read with a heroine from a low-income Asian immigrant background and strong narrative thread focusing on family. I read Shadow Girl in one sitting, staying up past 2 in the morning — which was not the greatest idea, considering it’s quite the spooky story.What struck me right away was how real Mei felt as a character. Her inner life and voice, and the mix of guilt and protectiveness she felt for her mother were all too familiar to me. To top it all off, part of my Chinese name is Mei and like the heroine, I used to do tutoring as a high schooler to help pay the bills. The familiarity of Mei’s life made the paranormal aspects of Shadow Girl all the more scary.Admittedly, I have a pretty low bar for scary. I skirt any piece of media that feels even the teensiest bit stressful, and I’m not a fan of ghost stories. But the cover and the Asian protagonist were a strong draw for me, so I gave this book a try, and I’m so glad I did. While people made of sterner stuff may not find the paranormal element as scary as they’d like, the suspense that builds from the shadows within the majestic mansion that Mei goes to tutor in and the Morison family tensions were enough to keep me up through the night.Mei’s relationship with her mother and brother, and her struggle to understand herself and discover the freedom to pursue her dreams, are what make this book. This may be a fraction of the plot — most of it is devoted to Mei’s time spent at the Morison’s mansion and the slowly building mystery of its shadowy past — but it’s what makes this so worth a read. I loved the little details — Mei listening through the walls to her mother vacuuming around their small apartment, how Mei navigates a world of racist comments and wealthy, petty parents who want to hire her as a tutor, and the list goes on.Finally, this is a small detail, but shoutout to how spoken Chinese is handled in this book. Mei’s mother speaks wholly in Chinese, and it’s done in a way that isn’t exoticized or whitewashed over. No clumsy attempts at incorporating translations through awkward clues, or tacky imitations of Chenglish, or randomly shoehorned-in lone Chinese words. Mei’s mother speaks Chinese, and it’s translated in a straightforward way, no decoration or smoothing over. It’s just there. And I loved it.If you’re looking for a suspenseful, spooky story, or you just want to see some high quality Asian representation in YA lit (of course you do!), buy this now. I’m so happy I read this book, even if it kind of wrecked my sleep schedule. Totally worth it.Recommendation: Buy it now!
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  • Adiba Jaigirdar
    January 1, 1970
    I'm kind of conflicted about this book because there wasn't necessarily anything bad about it, but it really wasn't what I was expecting. The book's blurb promises a mystery and a ghost. Both of which you kind of get but... not really. They're kind of in the background to everything else happening in the book, which is Mei dealing with her own issues - such as giving into her boss' demands too easily, trying to appease a young girl who believes in ghosts, her problems with her careless and incon I'm kind of conflicted about this book because there wasn't necessarily anything bad about it, but it really wasn't what I was expecting. The book's blurb promises a mystery and a ghost. Both of which you kind of get but... not really. They're kind of in the background to everything else happening in the book, which is Mei dealing with her own issues - such as giving into her boss' demands too easily, trying to appease a young girl who believes in ghosts, her problems with her careless and inconsiderate brother, and her romantic feelings for Henry. The mystery and the ghost are barely there, and though they play a large part in the ending of the novel, it ultimate feels unexplored and leads to an unsatisfying end. I did like Mei as a character. She was quiet and introverted, which is not something you often get as a character. And when we did get a look into the supernatural elements of the book, it was interesting and well-written. I really didn't like the main relationship between Mei and Henry. It was clichéd, and Henry was an annoying character. I think the book's main downfall is that it pretends its something that it's not - which leads to being disappointing. If it had been a contemporary without the supernatural elements it could have been good. Or if it had fully explored its supernatural elements it could have been great! But with a weird mishmash of the two, it felt like the book didn't really know what it was.
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  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this a lot better than I thought I would. It falls in a weird mix of YA contemporary with ghost story so I think that's why it doesn't get more buzz. I liked the main character and the side characters. It does end a bit abruptly however. It is a fast enjoyable read otherwise.
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  • Lissa {rabidreadings}
    January 1, 1970
    The mystery was the driving force for me as I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters. I needed to know what was happening, why it was happening, was there actually something happening?! I’m like a dog with a bone when it comes to unanswered questions so Shadow Girl hit all the right marks with the mystery. Right up until the end.. where I was left wanting more regarding the conclusion.In many ways the thing that may interest the reader is the mystery of the house on Arrow Island, but Shadow Girl The mystery was the driving force for me as I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters. I needed to know what was happening, why it was happening, was there actually something happening?! I’m like a dog with a bone when it comes to unanswered questions so Shadow Girl hit all the right marks with the mystery. Right up until the end.. where I was left wanting more regarding the conclusion.In many ways the thing that may interest the reader is the mystery of the house on Arrow Island, but Shadow Girl is more about family and personal sacrifice.. what Mei is willing to sacrifice for her family. I very much liked how Mei’s personal story is concluded, I simply wanted more from the mystery aspect of the plot.Overall Shadow Girl is a solid read, and really shows how flawed people can be regardless of how much money they have or the appearance the set before us. Nobody is perfect. If you like a bit of a mystery mixed with a young girl’s personal growth story I recommend you give Liana Liu’s Shadow Girl a read.
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  • Llinos
    January 1, 1970
    This was a heck of a page-turner – I was totally hooked by the gothic creepiness and the increasingly oppressive atmosphere of the Morisons’ island. I loved how that atmosphere echoed the way Mei felt trapped in her family life, and the way the ghost story paralleled and linked together with Mei’s personal journey. An evocative and memorable read.Read the full review at Starship Library
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  • Jay G
    January 1, 1970
    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...*I was sent a copy of this by the publisher in exchange for my honest review* One summer, Mei is hired by a wealthy business man and is required to stay on Arrow Island with the family while she tutors Ella. As the summer progresses, she becomes interested in Ella's older brother, Henry. She also notices that at night, mysterious noises happen and although she doesn't believe in ghosts, Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer...*I was sent a copy of this by the publisher in exchange for my honest review* One summer, Mei is hired by a wealthy business man and is required to stay on Arrow Island with the family while she tutors Ella. As the summer progresses, she becomes interested in Ella's older brother, Henry. She also notices that at night, mysterious noises happen and although she doesn't believe in ghosts, she begins to become curious about the history of the house and the family who once lived there.I really wanted to like this book as the premise sounded interesting... Unfortunately, I found it to be boring and very slow paced. I felt that the book was pitched as a paranormal mystery, but felt as though the ghost aspect was only a sub plot to the Morrison family drama. I wasn't invested in any of the characters or care about what happened to them. Mei bothered me as a main character and I felt that she was very critical and pessimistic, but tried to cover it with being overly nice and polite. It honestly just got on my nerves quickly and I wanted her to stop talking half the time. I also felt that the plot jumped around so much there was no clear path the story was trying to take... it seemed like it was a bunch of subplots thrown together in the hopes of creating something interesting. Overall, it just wasn't the book for me.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I bought this book at the promise of supernatural/horror mystery, but sadly it isn't really that at all in the end. There's genuine creepiness when the story is focused on the supernatural, yet it just fails to capitalize. It could have been a disturbing look into the history of the island and the first family, but it is only grazed upon. Mei's relationship with Ella as her tutor was the one true highlight, and any time it shifted away I just felt it wanting to go back to her working with Ella. I bought this book at the promise of supernatural/horror mystery, but sadly it isn't really that at all in the end. There's genuine creepiness when the story is focused on the supernatural, yet it just fails to capitalize. It could have been a disturbing look into the history of the island and the first family, but it is only grazed upon. Mei's relationship with Ella as her tutor was the one true highlight, and any time it shifted away I just felt it wanting to go back to her working with Ella. I came in with high hopes, but was disappointed. It's not a terrible book and was a decent read, but beware the description of this book. It barely touches on what it promises, which is sad because it started with such potential. 2.75 out of 5
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  • Annie (Diverse Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    • Mei (mc) is biracial, Chinese-American• Chinese-American scs, including her brother and best friend (Doris)• Mei's mother is Chinese and has an undiagnosed hoarding disorder
  • Emmy Lou
    January 1, 1970
    The ending threw me off a little, but I still really enjoyed this book.
  • Jill Hughes
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this was going to be a lot more haunted and creepy than it was, but I’m still not disappointed.
  • Alice Hartman
    January 1, 1970
    I have just finished reading the very wonderful book Shadow Girl. and I cannot wait to tell others about what an awesome this book is. I must admit that I have been reading very slowly the past few days as I wanted to hold on to this story for a very long time. This book is a combination of mystery, romance, adventure and one surprise after another. The characters are true to life....with a few exceptions which I will not reveal right now. The author speaks with clarity and with emotions close t I have just finished reading the very wonderful book Shadow Girl. and I cannot wait to tell others about what an awesome this book is. I must admit that I have been reading very slowly the past few days as I wanted to hold on to this story for a very long time. This book is a combination of mystery, romance, adventure and one surprise after another. The characters are true to life....with a few exceptions which I will not reveal right now. The author speaks with clarity and with emotions close to those that we all live with every day. Reading Shadow Girl during this holiday season was like receiving a special gift......full of surprises --wonder and enjoyment.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Spooky ghost books are not my cup of tea, but I loved this. I liked how spoken Chinese was handled - straightforward translation, no tacky fumbling with context clues or exoticized italics. I loved Mei's inner life and her relationship with her mother. So many little details were so real -- from the heavy sense of duty to listening to her mother move around the house and peeling fruit for her. There were so many moments where I was like oh, that's me. That is too. And that. (The spooky bits were Spooky ghost books are not my cup of tea, but I loved this. I liked how spoken Chinese was handled - straightforward translation, no tacky fumbling with context clues or exoticized italics. I loved Mei's inner life and her relationship with her mother. So many little details were so real -- from the heavy sense of duty to listening to her mother move around the house and peeling fruit for her. There were so many moments where I was like oh, that's me. That is too. And that. (The spooky bits were plenty spooky for me, though probably not so much for other people.)Anyway, it's 2 in the morning, which is honesty hour, so I'm juat gonna say -- A one star review by a white girl saying she thinks the heroine is annoying or too judgy or negative? *Rolls eyes* It's called a complex character and realistic writing of a character from an immigrant background. It's how people who have less power and privilege sometimes end up moving through the world. Good book, A+ content, etc etc. Totally recommend.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    #ownvoices This was all over the place. Plot holes, loose ends... I think she was trying to do too much and it didn't work unfortunately.2018 AtY "own voices"
  • Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    wow!! that was extremely sucky!!!! this is not a book. this is a giant massive list . The main character is some negative girl who is the most boring narrator to ever exist. she is so annoying and you dont even see her name ever in the book except the back cover. the only good thing about this book is the cover. it's supposed to be a ghost story, right?? wrong. there is less that 2% of paranormal activity in here. WHat a let down. instead, its this hella downer tutor girl who is super boring, f wow!! that was extremely sucky!!!! this is not a book. this is a giant massive list . The main character is some negative girl who is the most boring narrator to ever exist. she is so annoying and you dont even see her name ever in the book except the back cover. the only good thing about this book is the cover. it's supposed to be a ghost story, right?? wrong. there is less that 2% of paranormal activity in here. WHat a let down. instead, its this hella downer tutor girl who is super boring, fake as HELL and some rich family with drama. its annoying. It's literally so boring. If you want the book to be actually enjoyable, start reading from page 283 (the surprise party, the ending, where the main character actually isn't just a bland nobody who says the opposite of what she thinks and is super boring and who i hate a lot). the very end is tolerable. my favorite character is ella because she's ok i guess. If the back cover didn't have the main character's name, you would think its meimei because her brother says it once. one time. at the VERY END. so that was annoying. mei is super fake it was so annoying. just stop being fake and maybe actually start having a better outlook on life or maybe try being an actual person with actual people feelings?? and observations?? and maybe i'll hate you less. I looked into the reviews of the other book written by this author and the same result. it's extremely boring. never reading anything from them again. read this in 2 days because it was so awful i needed to get through with it so i could move on to better books ASAP. do not recommend. save yourself by not reading this
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  • Miranda
    January 1, 1970
    I normally don’t write reviews, but this book... was just off. Whole phrases were repeated in descriptions fifty pages apart like the author forgot she already said that. There were far too many competing plot points. That being said, most of them were never satisfactorily resolved. The ending was rushed. Almost nothing was explained. The pieces never seemed to fit together into a coherent story.
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  • Laura (midorireads)
    January 1, 1970
    This book disappointed me. Review to come.
  • Jeraca
    January 1, 1970
    I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. Mei has been working one way or another for the past few years and has everything planned out. First she started as a camp counselor and learned how to deal with hyper, wild children. Then she would talk to those kids parents about how she was doing tutoring throughout the summer and throughout school, getting those same kids that she has already learned about their behaviors. She would take on no more than 5 kids f I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. Mei has been working one way or another for the past few years and has everything planned out. First she started as a camp counselor and learned how to deal with hyper, wild children. Then she would talk to those kids parents about how she was doing tutoring throughout the summer and throughout school, getting those same kids that she has already learned about their behaviors. She would take on no more than 5 kids for each semester, and she would do tutoring in the summer too, for those who were struggling a lot. So basically Mei was playing the system and making lots of money from it. Which was nice since it was just her mom and her so they needed all of the money they could get. And there was no way that Mei was going to pass up a tutoring gig that paid over twice as much as her last tutoring kids last year. Plus it was just one girl and Mei was going to be living with them. On an island. Getting lots of great food and being able to go to the pool or the beach when she wasn't tutoring. But Mei knew that she was only an academic tutor and wasn't to get any special treatment - even though she was getting some extra perks. And not everything was going as smoothly for the Morrison's as they wanted people to believe. Ella is a smart girl but she seems to get the answers wrong on purpose. Her mother, Vanessa, is always trying to spend money and throw parties, but her husband Jeffrey is never around. He's always back in the city working and 'tries' to come to the island every weekend to visit. And Ella's older brother Henry is annoying Mei crazy. And then there is the matter of Eleanor...the 8 year old girl who died on the island with the original owners. But Mei doesn't believe in ghosts, even if Ella is convinced Eleanor is there all of the time. Mei just needs to make it through the summer without anything too weird happening so she can get back on track. But the longer Mei is gone, the more she is changing, and the more she may be wondering if the island is really haunted or not...This was a very interesting, and intriguing novel! I wasn't sure where it was going, and honestly I'm not quite sure what the overall message behind the book is actually about... I mean, there were a lot of factors going throughout the novel, but then it had an abrupt ending and a hint of mystery at the end that never really resolved anything. I loved seeing Mei get to experience new things and live her own life for once. She was stuck at home with her mom paying the bills and worrying about things from day to day, but she was able to just relax and do things that she wanted to do just for fun. Being around Ella and Henry helped too because they were able to convince her to hangout with them and just be a kid for once. The whole supernatural aspect of this book was a bit odd for me... I get what the author did at the end to make the reader think, but it just wasn't really there for me to be honest. Though if this was made into a movie and had the suspenseful music, I may be changing my tune.The Morrison's are an interesting family and they all have their issues and quirks. I honestly wouldn't want to live their lives of money and riches because it makes them spoiled and elite. And I think Mei got that feeling too, being on the other spectrum of the scale for money and fame. Overall, I did enjoy this book. It definitely has left me thinking about the whole book and what really happened, so it did it's just right where I'm still thinking about it. I'd actually be interested to read another book with these characters to see what happens after this ending. See if they reconnect again or not. I think a lot of readers will enjoy this book and I will definitely be recommending it when it releases in December 2017!
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    This was the most unghostie ghostie book I've read.I was expecting ghosts on islands, ghosts haunting little girls, ghosts haunting big girls, ghosts in lighthouses, ghosts in creepy rich islands, ghosts in dreams, ghosts out of dreams, ghosts doing scary things, ghosts doing thrilling things, GHOSTS. OKAY, I WAS EXPECTING GHOSTS.What I got? Our main character wandering around doing things. Tutoring. Planning parties. More tutoring. We talked about the ghost more than we saw the ghosts doing gho This was the most unghostie ghostie book I've read.I was expecting ghosts on islands, ghosts haunting little girls, ghosts haunting big girls, ghosts in lighthouses, ghosts in creepy rich islands, ghosts in dreams, ghosts out of dreams, ghosts doing scary things, ghosts doing thrilling things, GHOSTS. OKAY, I WAS EXPECTING GHOSTS.What I got? Our main character wandering around doing things. Tutoring. Planning parties. More tutoring. We talked about the ghost more than we saw the ghosts doing ghost things, and we didn't even talk about the ghost that much. So, um, clearly you can see my lack of ghostie goodness that I was given. So there had to be some excitement in other ways, right? Other captivating plots that kept us from what I read in the synopsis as the most important part? Well, not so much. I mean, there was some journeying that took place in emotional and mental ways, but it was nothing that constituted overtaking a possible paranormal plot. I think Liu had some great material to make a book focused on the problems that she had going on with the Morison family, but I think the story got too muddled of the in between of paranormal and contemporary. I think this story would have been captivating if Liu had delved deeper into Mei's struggles of being her own family along with her family woes of a screw up brother and absent father along with the tension and drama of the Morison family. However, the addition of the ghost made it confusing and there wasn't proper time and focus to spend on the story's particulars. The characters were okay. Mei was okay, and I got where she was coming from at part. I think the issue was that most were never fully fleshed out for me. I wanted to love and adore Ella, but I just felt kind of eh about her. I thought the same about the rest of the family including the love interest, Henry. I never really super super super connected with Mei either. I just thought they were surface level, okay, and I wanted more.The ending was intriguing as well. Intriguing in the way that I give kudos to Liu for making some things majorly realistic, but also I'm really confused. I feel like something was just thrown in there for no reason to clear up/make things thrilling in the paranormal plot, and it just made no sense. There was no real explanation for it, and even though most horror/thrillers want to give you an open ended ending to make it more scary or something, but this just made no sense and I'm still confused. The writing was okay. It moved pretty fast. Liu's writing is simple and straight to the point which I always like in my books. I got through the story pretty quickly even though it could have gone a bit slow with a slower pacing. Overall, I wanted quite a bit more in this book. I think Liu had a lot of potential with the book, but it got lost in its ghostie/paranormal plot. There wasn't anything scary or really any ghosties except for maybe like two one page dream sequences, and I wanted the contemporary half to be deeper. Liu had some good things in the story, though, and her writing was such a breeze to read. 2 crowns and a Cinderella rating!
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  • Kim Dyer
    January 1, 1970
    This book probably isn't what you are expecting from the blurb and, due to that, I think it's likely to disappoint a lot of people. While it pitches itself as a supernatural mystery, it really isn't. The potential ghost isn't mentioned all the much and, beside a few nightmares, there aren't really any spooky goings on.Really, it is a contemporary fiction that focuses on a teenage girl from a poor background who becomes a live-in tutor for a very rich family over summer break. It focuses on her a This book probably isn't what you are expecting from the blurb and, due to that, I think it's likely to disappoint a lot of people. While it pitches itself as a supernatural mystery, it really isn't. The potential ghost isn't mentioned all the much and, beside a few nightmares, there aren't really any spooky goings on.Really, it is a contemporary fiction that focuses on a teenage girl from a poor background who becomes a live-in tutor for a very rich family over summer break. It focuses on her attempts to connect with the girl, her lukewarm attraction to the girl's brother, her increasing involvement in the life of the family and her gradual attempts to overcome her hang-ups and decide her future. If you don't enjoy novels of this story, I'd give this book a miss as this is far more central to the plot than the ghost.The writing of the novel just okay. There is a clumsiness to Liu's writing that I did sometimes find distracting. Her dialogue is over simplistic and the connecting 1st person text is very adverb-heavy. While Mei's trail of consciousness could be amusing at times, character reactions sometimes felt forced and irrational, as though their words and actions did not always seem to connect with one another.The plot could be very slow in places and therefore I sometimes found myself loosing interest while reading. This was particularly bad over the middle section of the novel, when Mei leaves the island and returns to the city for a little while. The story did not have any clear structure or development. It was just a series of small events leading up to a surprise party. While this did build tension, it ultimately came to nothing. The novel just kind of breaks down abruptly after this, slipping into a weak epilogue that felt rather open ended as it contained little closure.The one saving grace of this novel was Mei herself. Mei is a greatly complex character and you really feel the pull of her sense of duty towards her depressed and over-worked mother versus her deep-rooted understanding that she is sacrificing her future to care for her. The scars of Mei's childhood - particularly the abandonment of her verbally abusive father - really feed into her character and you do feel as though she grows through her experiences in the novel.However, this level of development doesn't stretch to the rest of the cast. While the Morison family do feel as though they are changing to a point, the climax causes them to loose all of this development and start to slip back into the same relationships that they had at the start of the story. This was just, in a word, weak. It left me feeling that no lessons will be learned - particularly in the awkward relationship between Ella and Vanessa.Anyhow, that about covers it. If you're looking for a supernatural story, you will be disappointed. However, for fans of contemporary fiction, there are also better books out there. While it was nice to read a novel with a protagonist of Chinese descent for a change, this isn't a story that I'd recommend.
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  • ElphaReads
    January 1, 1970
    I love a good haunted house story, as living in a home that has the remnants of the dead sharing the space is creepy as all get out. As someone who has possibly lived in a strange house in the past (I WANT TO BELIEEEEEVE), I really enjoy stories that let me relive that time without having to actually relive it. So I, of course, requested SHADOW GIRL by Liana Liu when I heard that it was an Own Voices novel that had a haunted house premise. Mei is an academic tutor to help pay the bills at home a I love a good haunted house story, as living in a home that has the remnants of the dead sharing the space is creepy as all get out. As someone who has possibly lived in a strange house in the past (I WANT TO BELIEEEEEVE), I really enjoy stories that let me relive that time without having to actually relive it. So I, of course, requested SHADOW GIRL by Liana Liu when I heard that it was an Own Voices novel that had a haunted house premise. Mei is an academic tutor to help pay the bills at home and to help save up for college. She loves her mother, but is very judgmental of her older brother Andy, who pops in and out of their lives, and bringing trouble with him. When she is hired on to work for wealthy Morison family for a couple summer months on Arrow Island, she can't pass up the opportunity or the paycheck. The daughter, Ella, is quiet and reserved, and keeps talking about the ghost of a little girl who lives in the house. Although Mei doesn't believe in ghosts, she can't deny the odd things that seem to be happening. And she can't ignore the family dynamics that seem to imply that all is not well. So I just want to say right off the bat that the haunted house aspect is very secondary to the plot. Perhaps even tertiary. Which was kind of disappointing, as I was looking forward to being creeped out. What we get instead, however, is a coming of age story about a girl trying to find her identity between high school and whatever comes next. I liked that Liu addressed class and race issues within this book, as Mei is a Chinese American girl who grew up in a traditional Chinese home who is thrust into a wealthy white family's dysfunctional web. I liked Mei as a character, though I didn't really feel like she grew too much in the story. I thought that her relationship with Henry, the spoiled but (of course) complex son was fine, but pretty run of the mill. I was far more interested in Mei's friendship with Ella, whose father is constantly out of town and whose mother is so self absorbed AND desperately unhappy that Ella is an afterthought to her. So yeah, it was a fine story for what it was, but I was seriously bummed that the ghost aspect was kind of minor.... until it wasn't. And then by the time it wasn't it just felt a little hasty. I think that if you want a YA novel about identity and existential ennui, SHADOW GIRL could be the one for you. But if you're just here for the ghost story, you will probably be disappointed.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Honestly, I'm not really sure what this book was supposed to be about. The ending just fizzled out, leaving a lot of hanging threads and a feeling of "who cares?" Her time with the family comes a very abrupt and strange end, and the last chapter at college just came out of nowhere too.Certain elements I felt were odd - she agreed to stay for an entire summer in a remote place with a family she didn't know, tutoring a child she hadn't met. I'm not sure she was ever paid, since that wasn't mention Honestly, I'm not really sure what this book was supposed to be about. The ending just fizzled out, leaving a lot of hanging threads and a feeling of "who cares?" Her time with the family comes a very abrupt and strange end, and the last chapter at college just came out of nowhere too.Certain elements I felt were odd - she agreed to stay for an entire summer in a remote place with a family she didn't know, tutoring a child she hadn't met. I'm not sure she was ever paid, since that wasn't mentioned and the job ended so abruptly. For someone that was very budget conscious, she didn't seem to worry about buying books for Ella. Then she goes on errands for Vanessa and buys expensive things, but it's never clear how she pays for them. I guess I should assume she has a credit card, though she's rather young and all the Chinese parents I know disapprove of credit cards. Mei's brother was a troubled kid, and now suddenly he's not. It's not really clear why her father left. Or the significance of the ballerina figure (did she end up finding it again?).The ghost portion and Ella doing "spells" was another plotline that didn't seem to go anywhere. It was mentioned to maybe build up suspense, the ghost may or may not have appeared, but they never determined why she would haunt them, why she was left out of the history book, or anything interesting. You have a lot of cardboard characters - a malicious cook, hypercritical jerk of a father in law, nervous mom, absentee (and obviously sketchy) dad, etc. You never see any of the reasons behind the behavior. And it's obvious that the dad is going to be arrested, but Mei is pretty oblivious to this. I'm not sure if that changed her mind on entering finance.It's not a bad read, just not a particularly engaging story either. It doesn't live up to the blurb, which will disappoint some people.
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