×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Shadowshaper
     

Shadowshaper

4.2 5
by Daniel José Older
 

See All Formats & Editions


Sierra Santiago planned to have an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With

Overview


Sierra Santiago planned to have an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a mysterious fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one -- and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.

Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and writing as luscious as a Brooklyn summer night, Shadowshaper marks the YA debut of a brilliant new storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Shadowshaper:

A Top Ten YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
A Top Ten ALA Quick Pick
A Kirkus Prize Finalist
An Andre Award Nominee
A New York Times Notable Children's Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

"In the best urban fantasy, the city is not just a backdrop, but functions as a character in its own right . . . That is certainly true in Daniel José Older's magnificent Shadowshaper, which gives us a Brooklyn that is vital, authentic, and under attack. . . Older is able to infuse Shadowshaper with the spirit of Brooklyn in the summer, where the possibility of magic hangs shimmering in the air. This is a world that readers cannot help wanting to live in and, as with all great urban fantasies, harboring a suspicion that perhaps we already do." -- Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and The Iron Trial, in The New York Times Book Review

"Older's book is a first-rate example of how representation, diversity and themes of social justice and identity can be skilfully woven into a narrative -- not so that they disappear, but so that the story pivots on them in a way that is authentic, exciting, and ultimately satisfying." -- Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

"The strength of Older's tale is in his meticulous attention to the details of the life of a brown-skinned, natural-haired Puerto Rican teenage girl. Older's storytelling is rich enough to warrant such treatment, because this is a world that will stay with readers long after the last page." -- Los Angeles Times
 

• "Warm, strong, vernacular, dynamic -- a must." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

• "Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package." -- School Library Journal, starred review

• "What makes Older's story exceptional is the way Sierra belongs in her world, grounded in family, friends, and an awareness of both history and change." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

 * "Smart writing with a powerful message that never overwhelms the terrific storytelling." -- Booklist, starred review

"Older not only gives readers a diverse cast, but he stays true to their background, language and community, lending an authenticity to his work... If you're a YA urban fantasy reader looking for something creative and different, try Shadowshaper on for size." -- Romantic Times Book Review

"Exactly the kind of title Walter Dean Myers charged his peers to pen at the onset of his career and the kind of narrative he was still imploring publishers to fete in the twilight of his life, one that takes young readers, their unique needs and their racial and cultural realities seriously. Shadowshaper would make him proud." -- The Washington Post

"Joyful and assertive and proud, and makes me want to read everything else of Older's, for more of these voices, connections and lives." -- National Public Radio

"Sierra Santiago is the type of character we've all hoped we could have in YA." -- Bustle.com

"Daniel José Older is one of my favorite new voices, and I can't wait to see what he (and Sierra) come up with next." -- Anika Noni Rose, star of Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog

"I highly recommend Shadowshaper... it is exceptional in a great many ways." -- Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children's Literature

"One of my favorite books of the year, period." -- Rebecca Schinsky, BookRiot

"Shadowshaper is a game changer." -- FlavorPill

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/13/2015
In Older’s (Half-Resurrection Blues) YA debut, Sierra Santiago is from Bedford-Stuyvesant, parties in Park Slope, and crashes Columbia University with ease. Sierra’s roots in her neighborhood are three generations deep, but no part of the city is alien to her. She loves art, and painting a mural on an abandoned building is the focus of her summer. Abruptly, her stroke-disoriented grandfather urges her to hurry the project—and then she is attacked by what looks like a walking corpse. What follows is a well-executed plot of the exceptional child with a mysterious history standing forth to save her world, aided by a similarly gifted romantic interest. What makes Older’s story exceptional is the way Sierra belongs in her world, grounded in family, friends, and an awareness of both history and change. Her goal is to go deeper into that history and, by so doing, effect change of her own. Sierra’s masterful adaptability is most apparent in her language, which moves among English and Spanish, salsa and rap, formality and familiarity with an effortlessness that simultaneously demonstrates Older’s mastery of his medium. Ages 14–up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (June)
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2015
Gr 7 Up—Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them. Robbie is a clear love interest, but he isn't there to rescue Sierra. Sierra is a tough, confident, body-positive female protagonist of Puerto Rican descent, proud of her 'fro and curves. The fact that she and Robbie seem to be connecting romantically is portrayed as more of a happy coincidence than the culmination of a lifelong dream of romance. Dialogue is fast paced and authentic to Sierra's Brooklyn neighborhood, which is vividly described. Readers will find someone to whom they can relate in her diverse group of friends. VERDICT Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-03-03
When walking corpses—and worse—show up in the city, a teen discovers family secrets and ancestral powers.Sierra's summer plan is to paint an enormous mural on an abandoned, unfinished five-story building. On an older mural nearby, unnervingly, a painted face changes expression and weeps a tear that glistens and drops. Grandpa Lázaro, mostly speechless from a stroke, grasps a lucid moment to warn Sierra, "They are coming for us….the shadowshapers." Abuelo can't or won't explain further, and Sierra has no idea what shadowshapers are. Her regular world explodes into a "mystical Brooklyn labyrinth" shimmering with beauty but deadly dangerous. Walking corpses with icy grips and foul smells chase her, and a throng haint—a shadowy phantom with mouths all over—almost kills her. In Bed-Stuy, Prospect Park, and Coney Island in the middle of the night, Sierra fights to stay alive and to decipher her role in this chaos. This story about ancestors, ghosts, power, and community has art and music at its core; Sierra's drawing and painting turn out to be tools for spirit work. Sierra's Puerto Rican with African and Taíno ancestors; her community is black and brown, young and old, Latin and Caribbean and American. Sometimes funny and sometimes striking, Older's comfortable prose seamlessly blends English and Spanish. Warm, strong, vernacular, dynamic—a must. (Urban fantasy. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781338032475
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
08/30/2016
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
52,725
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author


Daniel Jose Older is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, workshop facilitator, and composer. Shadowshaper is his first published YA novel. His band Ghost Star gigs regularly around New York, and you can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic, and hear his music at ghoststar.net and @djolder.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Shadowshaper 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exciting, with well-developed lore and awesome characters of color!
BlowPop 5 months ago
This was my first book I read from this author. Like I've read the stuff he's put up on his Wattpad account and follow his Twitter account and read the stuff he puts up on his website as well. So I knew going into this that I already liked his style of writing and I like his voice (both his speaking voice and his writing voice) as well as the things he says. Knowing all that going in, holy crap! I was still blown away by this book. Once I started this, I did NOT want to stop reading it. And *HATED* having to put it down to do anything. I read it in once sitting essentially. With interruptions of having to deal with life things (unfortunately food is needed to survive so shopping was necessary). But like initially, the cover was what drew me in. It's colourful. It's GORGEOUS. It's unapologetic. It not only fits the general theme of the book's main character Sierra (especially her unapologetically being authentically herself which I *LOVED*) and the book itself but it sets the entire mood and theme of the book and helps you to really get into the book IMO. The cover photo was done by Michael Frost and the cover art and design was Christopher Stengel and they deserve so much appreciation and love for what they've helped to create for this book. Truly. Nydia was one of my favourite characters and I want her to get her own library so badly in this series at some point. I loved Tee and Izzy as well. But I adored Nydia and Sierra the most. I also loved that there was no heroine hijacking in this book (where MC girl meets boy and suddenly the story is ALL about their love story and him instead of where it originally was going because that seriously irks me in books and is a huge thing in YA that happens). Sierra's portrayal and her friendships felt real and authentic to me. Like they were people who I could run into were I to go out with the intention to meet people. I loved that her friends supported her but they weren't guilted in the "if you don't support everything I do then we're not friends" way that some novels do. And that the ones who felt they couldn't support this part by doing what everyone else was doing weren't guilted into doing the thing. Yes some tried and it was stated that the characters felt bad that this person couldn't be there for them to do this but they more or less understood and weren't going to try and make them. Acknowledging the hurt and accepting it was an important thing to show since a lot of media especially geared at teens and female teens in particular like to focus on ignoring the fact that things like that can and will hurt and that it's ok to tell a friend that you love and support them but can't physically be there supporting them for this. We need more healthy depictions of friendships like that. The acknowledgement of attraction to Robbie but not wanting to be too involved in him was also great. As was the discussion Sierra and Robbie had regarding his tattoos and his not fully knowing his heritage/ancestry. One of my favourite quotes in the book comes from Sierra looking at herself in the mirror and giving herself her own pep talk. "Today she looked menacingly into the mirror and said: “I’m Sierra María Santiago. I am what I am. Enough.” She sighed. These days were spooky enough without her talking to herself. “More than enough.” The last line especially. She is definitely more than enough. Everyone is. And I think that's a quote that will resonate with people, especially teens. At least I hope it
RBlodgett More than 1 year ago
Great start to an Urban Fantasy YA series. Wonderfully fleshed out cast of characters, with plenty of room to grow. Easily could picture this story on the screen (big or small). That would be something I'd like to see. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very exciting read! I really hope there will be a sequel!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Sierra Santiago's plans for the summer are quickly derailed when old-timers from around the neighborhood start to disappear. As soon as a strange zombie guy shows up at the first party of the summer, Sierra knows something is up even if her mother and grandfather refuse to admit that anything is remotely wrong. When one graffiti mural starts crying and others begin to fade, it's clear that something sinister is at play. Everyone in the neighborhood agrees it's vitally important for Sierra to finish the mural she started, but no one will say why. It's only when she starts hanging out with Robbie that she learns about Shadowshapers and their ability to connect to magic through art. They used to be very powerful. But that was before the Shadowshapers had a falling out years ago. And before they started dying. With only scant clues, limited experience with her newly-discovered Shadowshaping powers, and not nearly enough time, Sierra and her friends will have to think fast to save their neighborhood--and maybe the world--in Shadowshaper (2015) by Daniel José Older. Shadowshaper is Older's first novel written for the YA market and a standalone. Older uses concrete details and real locations to bring Sierra's Brooklyn to life in Shadowshaper. The story effortlessly evokes New York wandering and handles issues surrounding gentrification and the changing landscape of the city extremely well. Sierra's voice, and those of her friends, are authentically teen which only adds to the ambiance of this novel. Additionally, a diverse cast including Sierra's friends, neighborhood regulars, and Sierra's family create a great story in a sub-genre that is often frustratingly (not to mention unrealistically) white. While Shadowshaper excels with characters and setting, it unfortunately falls flat as a fantasy. The mythology surrounding Shadowshaping is slight at best with rules and mechanics that are poorly explained when they are explained at all. There is a lot of potential here that might have been better served with a longer novel or even a sequel. Breakneck action and numerous chase sequences also diminish the story and leave little room for characterization. While Sierra is very well-realized her friends often come across as stock characters with limited personality or purpose within the narrative. While it is incredibly empowering to have a book where the only white person is the villain, it was disappointing to see that villain become little quite one-dimensional by the end of the novel. Shadowshaper is a fast read. Unfortunately, many parts of the novel feel rushed. The hardcover has some obvious continuity errors with blocking (characters standing on one page and then standing again three pages later without ever having sat down for instance) and many opportunities to complicate the narrative and characters are ignored. Shadowshaper is a great choice for readers looking for authentic characters and a fun read. Recommended as an introduction to urban fantasy for readers willing to suspend their disbelief with only limited justification. Ideal for reluctant readers and anyone who likes the novels fast-paced and full of action. Possible Pairings: Tithe by Holly Black, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine, Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand, The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson, I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, The Replacement by Brenna Yo
Booktrovert More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Shadowshaper. It's much different from what I usually read as I am a big spec fic/dystopia fan. This is more urban fantasy with magical realism. I picked this up first on recommendation from Book Riot but also participating in this year's A More Diverse Universe. #Diversiverse rules are simply to read a book by a person of color any time from Oct 4th - 17th. That's it. Shadowshaper is a look into the world of Sierra Santiago, a Puerto Rican girl living in Brooklyn. She's an amazing artist who has been given the gift of Shadowshaping, that is bringing works of art to life through a connection with the spirit world. As she learns about what it means to be a Shadowshaper; she makes the connection that a group of Shadowshapers who hung out with her abuelo, before his stroke, are dying off one by one. Sierra teams up with her friends, including a potential romantic interest in fellow artist Robbie, to figure out what is happening and how she can put an end to it before they come for her. This is a great book dealing with so many issues; racism, sexism, cultural appropriation, etc all while we see Sierra come of age with her new found abilities