Reviews for Shadow Girl

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 May

Gr 5-8--In 1963, Jules, 11, lives with her father after her mother's departure, and their fragile situation becomes more tenuous when he leaves her on her own for days. Her visits to a nearby department store to play with a doll help her imagine a better life, but that isn't what she gets. Confessing her abandonment to a friendly clerk results in Jules being put into foster care where her hurt and loneliness become sharper. Some small blessings are outweighed by the distracted parents and older sisters who can't be bothered. Morrison shows Jules's thoughts in first-person italics while the third-person narrative describes events. These italics are effective in showing how the girl's perspective is not what those around her expect and the depth of her distress as she struggles to be loved. As her alcoholic father distances himself and becomes increasingly unreliable and eventually disappears, Jules longs for a normal family and a place where she is not a shadow. Acting out at school and in the foster home are attempts to be seen for herself, but it doesn't work. Touching and painful at times, this story reads like a memoir, and it will satisfy those who want a sad story. Tears will flow.--Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO

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