To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2003: Shadow got his nickname because he always trailed around after his beloved older brother, Daniel. But seven years ago, at the age of 15, Daniel ran away from home, destroying his family's world. Now Shadow is turning 15and Daniel has suddenly returned, charged with murder. Shadow must cope with his conflicted feelings toward his long-lost brother, as well as with the new challenges of high school, the demands of being on the debating team, and the appeal of Robin, a team member. His mother wants them all to be a happy family once more; can Shadow manage to give Daniel another chance? Rottman, author of Hero, Rough Waters, Head Above Water, and Stetson, excels at realistically depicting teens struggling with family issues. Shadow's anger at Daniel rings true; so does his anger at his parents, who have their own difficulties with Daniel's return and with the murder trial that he faces. Shadow tells the tale, and readers will empathize with his struggle to learn to trust again. Daniel's sad story emerges gradually, and readers will eagerly turn the pages to discover what happens next. A quick, compelling read. KLIATT Codes: JSRecommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Peachtree, 197p., Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Ernest (Shadow) Thompson is beginning his first year of high school, and he has worked hard to cultivate his apathetic persona, complete with an all-black wardrobe and sunglasses. He has just turned 15, the age at which his brother left home, 7 years ago. Shadow idolized Daniel for the first half of his life, and then he was gone without a word, leaving his family to wonder what became of him. Suddenly, all of that uncertainty is changed when Daniel calls from jail to tell his parents that he's been arrested for murder. When he reappears, Shadow's life is turned upside down; no one seems to care about him anymore and Daniel is the focus of his parents' concern. With help from new friends on the forensics team, Shadow does his best to deal with these dramatic events. Rottman has a history of creating male characters that are dead-on, and Shadow is no exception. His struggle to be recognized as a unique person is something every teenager goes through, and the added stress of his brother's return exacerbates the situation. The unusual plot gives the book its strength and appeal, and the realistic ending adds to its credibility and message.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Debate team discussions of forgiveness and justice take on new weight when the brother of a team member may have committed murder. Shadow's brother Daniel ran away seven years ago. As a child, Shadow had followed his seven-year-older brother everywhere, and Daniel's flight devastated him. Now Shadow wants to move on, make friends, and start his own life-though in his new high school, all the authority figures know him as a troublemaker's kid brother. Out of the blue, Daniel telephones, and Shadow's life turns upside down as his parents try to make sense of their long-lost son. Worse, Dan's been charged with murder, and Shadow isn't sure of his brother's innocence. With the help of new friends on the school forensics team, Shadow comes to terms with his family's problems. Too comforting an ending, as Daniel may still be convicted and sentenced to death, but thoughtful and forgiving of the large and small weaknesses of parents and children. (Fiction. YA)