The Shadow Club by Neal Shusterman, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Shadow Club

The Shadow Club

4.3 18
by Neal Shusterman
     
 

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For Jared and Cheryl, nothing is worse than coming in second. Their idea to form a club of second-best kids seems harmless at first. But when the Shadow Club members start playing anonymous practical jokes on each other's rivals, things quickly spiral out of control, and innocent people get hurt. This chilling page-turner about the effects of underlying resentment on

Overview

For Jared and Cheryl, nothing is worse than coming in second. Their idea to form a club of second-best kids seems harmless at first. But when the Shadow Club members start playing anonymous practical jokes on each other's rivals, things quickly spiral out of control, and innocent people get hurt. This chilling page-turner about the effects of underlying resentment on a high school population is more timely now than when it was first published.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This engrossing book portrays how easily even ``good'' kids can lose control of themselves and do cruel and horrible things. Seven junior-high-school students (all ``second-bests'') led by narrator Jared and best friend Cheryl form the Shadow Club to get back at the ``unbeatables'' who make their lives miserable. Revenge tastes very sweet when they play humiliating practical jokes on all the school's first-bests, including track star Austin, Jared's nemesis. Any qualms that Jared has about the club get tossed aside when he's acknowledged as president. And, though he calls a temporary halt to the pranks, someone starts playing really dangerous tricks. Events come to a head when Austin is seriously injured. Sure that school weirdo Tyson is the culprit, the Shadow Club captures him. Jared leads the others in beating him up, then almost causes the boy's death. In the thrilling denouement, Jared learns where the blame really lies. Shusterman vividly conveys the overwhelming qualities of violent emotions and chillingly shows how a group of ``nice'' people can become an ugly, vengeful mob. Ages 12-up. (May)
Children's Literature
Jared Mercer is a good kid in high school who runs track. Also on the track team is Jared's worst enemy, Austin Pace (whom Jared calls "L'Austin Space"). Every year Austin humiliates Jared by beating him in lots of races. One afternoon, Jared and his best friend Cheryl are sitting in their tree house talking about the person they hate the most. Cheryl says the person she hates the most is her cousin Rebecca because Rebecca gets to sing at all the weddings and acts like Miss Perfect. Jared, of course, says he hates Austin because he always shows off his shoes that never seem to get dirty. When Cheryl asks Jared "Do you wish Austin had never been born?" Jared answers, "Yes." Jared asks Cheryl "Do you wish Rebecca had never been born?" to which she also answers affirmatively. As a result, Jared and Cheryl talk about forming a club for second bests only—the Shadow Club. To overcome boredom, the Shadow Club members decide to pull pranks on the "unbeatables." Soon the pranks escalate. Who's really doing what? Is the wrong person blamed? This is the first of the "Shadow Club" series. Written as a mystery, it keeps the reader searching for "who dunit?" This is an easy book to read, but since the characters are in high school, they sometimes use language not suitable for elementary children. 2002 (orig. 1988), Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers,
— Elliott Cash
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up A group of competitive high-school students, all second best in their areas of talent, form a secret club in order to pull anonymous practical jokes on their rivals. The pranks, which at first are humiliating but harmless, escalate to the point that they result in vandalism and injury and nearly cause a student's death. Shusterman's focus is on how the actions of these teens create a power that feeds on a previously hidden cruel or evil side of their personalities. This is strong material, and sections of the book have a punch that matches the subject. The dialogue of the teens, their concerns, and especially their feelings, are on target. Unfortunately, most of the book lacks suspense. The club members believe that an unpopular student who has eavesdropped on them is responsible for some of the more vicious pranks, but this is such an obvious red herring that the drama of the situation is lost. This book is neither as complex nor as well written as Robert Cormier's novels, but as its premise and tone hold interest, The Shadow Club may appeal to Cormier's fans and those readers who are not yet ready for his books. David Gale, ``School Library Journal''

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316775403
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
05/28/1988
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
183
Age Range:
12 - 16 Years

Meet the Author

Neal Shusterman is an award-winning author and screenwriter.  He lives in Southern California with his four children.

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