The Shadows (Books of Elsewhere Series #1)

( 114 )

Overview

For fans of Pseudonymous Bosch, Coraline, and Septimus Heap comes the first book in the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Books of Elsewhere series.

This house is keeping secrets . . .

When eleven-year-old Olive and her parents move into the crumbling mansion on Linden Street and find it filled with mysterious paintings, Olive knows the place is creepy—but it isn’t until she encounters its three talking cats that she realizes there’s ...

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The Shadows (Books of Elsewhere Series #1)

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Overview

For fans of Pseudonymous Bosch, Coraline, and Septimus Heap comes the first book in the award-winning, New York Times bestselling Books of Elsewhere series.

This house is keeping secrets . . .

When eleven-year-old Olive and her parents move into the crumbling mansion on Linden Street and find it filled with mysterious paintings, Olive knows the place is creepy—but it isn’t until she encounters its three talking cats that she realizes there’s something darkly magical afoot. Then Olive finds a pair of antique spectacles in a dusty drawer and discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside the house’s spooky paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily sinister. But in entering Elsewhere, Olive has been ensnared in a mystery darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. With only the cats and an unusual boy she meets in Elsewhere on her side, it’s up to Olive to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good.

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  • The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows
    The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Poet West's debut novel is a quirky and clever beginning to the Books of Elsewhere series. The Dunwoodys, "a pair of more than slightly dippy mathematicians," and their 11-year-old daughter, Olive, have just moved into an old Victorian house. Olive has learned to be independent, given her parents' aloofness ("Her persistently lackluster grades in math had led her parents to believe that she was some kind of genetic aberration"). She explores the house's eccentricities and discovers that, by donning a pair of spectacles, she can enter the house's many unsettling paintings. Inside one, she encounters nine-year-old Morton, who brings to her attention the secrets that the house and its late owner are keeping. With the help of three talking house cats, Olive works to patch together clues to save the painting-dwellers from their dark fate. The house is as much a character as are Olive, Morton, and her family, and a wicked sense of humor tempers the book's creepiness. A suspenseful plot and insight into childhood loneliness--handily amplified by Bernatene's moody and dramatically lit b&w illustrations--will have readers anxiously awaiting the next book. Ages 9-11. (June)*STARRED REVIEW*
Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
A delightful concoction of quirky humor blended with a rumbling ominous undertones, this will be a hit with young fantasists.
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Eleven-year-old Olive Dunwoody is often left to her own devices as her math professor parents spend time on their equations. She spends her time exploring their new home which this time is an old house full of antiques instead of the usual bland apartment. Olive realizes something strange is going on when she sees movement in the paintings that cover the walls. After finding a pair of old spectacles, she discovers that she can actually enter the paintings, explore the worlds she finds, and speak with the inhabitants. One of these dwellers, a young boy named Morton, swears that he really belongs on the outside in Olive's world. A beautiful lady in a portrait invites Olive to tea and befriends her. Horatio, Leopold, and Harvey, the magical speaking cats, seem to be protecting old secrets and she does not trust them. After she helps the beautiful lady escape her portrait, Olive realizes her mistake and during one terrifying night learns the secrets of the old house and its former inhabitant, Aldous McMartin. Black and white illustrations enhance the story. Fans of the seriously creepy will love this first volume in "The Books of Elsewhere." Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Jacqueline West's debut novel (Dial, 2010) follows a young girl's intriguing and thrilling adventures as she enters the fantasy world of Elsewhere. Olive, 11, spends much of her summer exploring her family's new home. The previous owner of this crumbling Victorian mansion died and left everything in the house to the new owners. Olive discovers a pair of spectacles that allow her to dive in and out of the mysterious paintings that fill the old home. Three talking cats seem to be helping and protecting Olive, but as she begins to put more puzzle pieces together, she realizes that she may be in some danger and the eccentric cats are not to be trusted. Narrator Lexy Fridell maintains a quick pace as the suspense builds. She gives all the characters distinct and interesting voices, especially those peculiar cats. Fans of Neal Gaiman's Coraline will find many appealing similarities with the story, and listeners who like a fast-paced adventure will enjoy this audio version.—April Mazza, Wayland Public Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Preoccupied parents, a solitary young girl, talking cats-sound familiar? Unfortunately for debut author West, not only has this been done before, it's been done better. Still, the premise is intriguing. Magical spectacles enable the wearer to enter the worlds captured in paintings created by an evil, long-dead wizard. "Captured" isn't just a figure of speech: At least one young boy has been turned into a painted replica of himself. Another painting, that of the wizard's (also dead) granddaughter, comes creepily to life. In general, though, the action is sluggish and the ominous atmosphere contrived. Characterization is skimpy at best. Olive's parents adore math. Olive doesn't. The cats are pompous, imaginative and martial, respectively. Ironically enough, it's not just the supernatural effects that fail to convince. Would parents, even those utterly obsessed with their own intelligence and interests, really leave their 11-year-old home alone overnight? The fact that they do precipitates Olive's final confrontation with the wicked wizard. Unfortunately readers probably won't care much about who wins nor about the possibility of volume two. (Fantasy. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142418727
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Series: Books of Elsewhere Series , #1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 59,419
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.88 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

A two-time Pushcart nominee for poetry, Jacqueline West lives in Chilton, Wisconsin. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 114 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(96)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 115 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Great book

    Great book you wont want to put it down!!! This book is intresting I'm 10 and this is the best book I have ever read!!!

    17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    strong haunted house mystery

    The Dunwoody family move into a fixer upper Victorian mansion left vacant when elderly Ms. McMartin died. Eleven year old Olive finds the house odd, but her mathematical minded parents see nothing out of the ordinary starting with the inability to remove the strange drawings from the wall, but upon a closer look she sees things moving inside the paintings.

    Looking around the house, Olive finds glasses that she puts on for fun. Instead of blur, she realizes she enter the pictures and travel in a realm that sort of looks like her natural one, but seems shadowy and too quiet to the stunned tweener. Horatio the cat warns her not to stay too long in their world and never lose the glasses if she is on this side of the frame. Olive also meets raging Morton who claims he is from her side of the divide, but was thrown into the picture world because he knew too much. As she learns more about the house and its contents, Olive fears something evil wants to keep her silent in order for her not to reveal what the darkness wants to do to the light.

    With illustrations from Poly Bernatene enhancing the strong haunted house mystery, Jacqueline West provides an exhilarating middle school age tale. Fast-paced, young readers will want to join courageous Olive as she investigates the goings-on inside the painting world and the house, but is unsure who to trust with her growing concerns especially in light of her parents thinking logically that she is playing make believe.

    Harriet Klausner

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    What a great book

    Are you looking for a book that you cant put down?well guess what? this is the book it is very addicting and it is a great summer read! I am 11 years old and i thought that this book was very good for pepole who like adventure it is more of the wow that is so awesome than the same old same old.. i would recommend the book of elsewhere the shadows to many pepole who like action, a jaw dropping mystery ,and a good adventure . I gave this 5 stars because of how well rounded everything is. Every kid can read read this book and enjoy it . This is one of my favorite books and i hope it will be yours next!!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    If You Like Creepy with a Mysterious Air

    My friend and I both read this book, and we really liked it. You could't tell what was going to happen, and it made everything super scary. The author is really good with descriptions, something I myself do not excell at. It was a good read, perfect for Thanksgiving break. And if you're looking at the cover wondering why that girl is wearing such weird glasses, they're not hers. You'll understand when you buy. :-) And personally, I think Olive is really pretty. Without the glasses. :-)

    Reviewed by: Lauren Kellie

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    I WANT THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

    I haven't gotten this book yet ( :( ), but I did get it from my school library! I'm on Chapter 17 and so far, it's the BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) I TOTALLY recommend this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    A Book of Mystery

    My son loved this book and once he read the first page, he was hooked. We have already purchased the second one and are going to give it to him for his birthday!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    GREAT

    OMG this book was amazing i would read it when ever i could i just couldnt put it down

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!

    This book is a very mystery and good kid book! Thank you for letting me read this book!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Get it now

    So good i have it its a strong book for young and adult readers get it now

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    The The Best book ever

    This is one of the best books ever! I also read the second one witch is also reeeeeaaaaaalllllyyyy good! YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Hi!

    I read the book last year and I could not take my mind off of the book. Every time I finished my work I'd turn it in and immediently take it out and put my nose in it. Before I read this I was always nervous about scary stuff but Jacquline made me not stop like she put a spell on it to make me never stop reading it. I highly recomend this book. Bye!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Nice Horror Story for Kids If you're looking for a horror sto

    A Nice Horror Story for Kids

    If you're looking for a horror story that doesn't have teenagers having sex in the middle of the woods while a machete-wielding maniac is about to kill them, then The Shadows is a safe title to scare your children without turning them into teen parents or traumatize mental patients.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    Who is a Harry Potter fan?

    This sereis is a must read, especially for Harry Potter fans

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    Awsome

    Awsome book love the rest of the series also!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Great book!!!!!!!

    I loved this book. It is filled with mystery and adventure. I would definetly reccomend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    This Book

    This book is really good i read when i have time im 11 and i love books now

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Omg

    This book is awesome has a lot of omg moments and you will not stop reading it i love this book however it is a little boring at the first then at like chapter 2 it is great one of my favorite books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    ?......

    I am only on chapter two of this book and so far it is pretty good. I have heard lots of things about this book so hopefully this book does not dissapoint me.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Friendly Reviewer

    OMG. If you don't like this book you are really cookoo. Especially the last 70 pages. It was so good ,I didnt want to put it down. GET THIS BOOK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Awesome



    Read it ..... it so awesome ages 7to 17 if you like mystery and adventure this is the perfect book for you!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 115 Customer Reviews

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