The Shadow Club

( 17 )

Overview

Jared's club for kids who feel second-best takes on a malevolent spirit when the members' pranks against their arch-rivals begin to escalate dangerously.

When a junior high school boy and his friends decide to form a club of "second bests" and play anonymous tricks on each other's arch rivals, the harmless pranks escalate until they become life-threatening.

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The Shadow Club

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Overview

Jared's club for kids who feel second-best takes on a malevolent spirit when the members' pranks against their arch-rivals begin to escalate dangerously.

When a junior high school boy and his friends decide to form a club of "second bests" and play anonymous tricks on each other's arch rivals, the harmless pranks escalate until they become life-threatening.

Read More Show Less

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''
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812483246
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 18
  • Sales rank: 969,454
  • Age range: 11 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Neal Shusterman

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

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    Meet the second-bests: a group of kids who, although they have one thing they're best at, still get beat daily by the "unbeatables." Although these kids are good kids, well-behaved, smart, athletic, interesting, their lives are being ruined by those who always seem to be one step ahead, stealing the limelight and rubbing it in until you just wish they'd never been born. <BR/><BR/>Thus is the basis for THE SHADOW CLUB, a secret group of seven kids who decided to get back at those who make their lives miserable by playing harmless pranks on them--pranks that will embarass them before their admirers, and give the second-besters their just due. <BR/><BR/>Except revenge, as revenge always seems to do, comes back to bite you in the butt. Pranks start getting out of control, even though they're not being comitted by the Shadow Club members. Someone's out to sabotage their club, and one of the "unbeatables" could wind up getting seriously hurt--even killed. As the Club seeks to get the biggest loser in school, Tyson McGaw, to confess to the pranks, the Shadow Club comes to realize that they might not be the all-around good kids that they thought they were. <BR/><BR/>What started out as fun is turning into something darker, and no one seems to know how to make it stop. <BR/><BR/>THE SHADOW CLUB is a great read by Neal Shusterman. Dealing with human nature, the fact that kids can traumatize each other more than anyone else can, and the fact that we all have anger inside of us is forefront in the story. A great read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 24, 2007

    Sick of being 'second' best

    Wow, this book was amazing. He (author) just came to my schoo on friday and was telling us all about his books. I loved this book of his. I think how he writes and the voice is amazing. I loved this book because it was all about the people who always get the awards, and all the glory and how the second best people should have. This book took me one day to finish and I re read it that same day because it was s good! read it, you'll like it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 19, 2006

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    Meet the second-bests: a group of kids who, although they have one thing they're best at, still get beat daily by the 'unbeatables.' Although these kids are good kids, well-behaved, smart, athletic, interesting, their lives are being ruined by those who always seem to be one step ahead, stealing the limelight and rubbing it in until you just wish they'd never been born. Thus is the basis for THE SHADOW CLUB, a secret group of seven kids who decided to get back at those who make their lives miserable by playing harmless pranks on them--pranks that will embarass them before their admirers, and give the second-besters their just due. Except revenge, as revenge always seems to do, comes back to bite you in the butt. Pranks start getting out of control, even though they're not being comitted by the Shadow Club members. Someone's out to sabotage their club, and one of the 'unbeatables' could wind up getting seriously hurt--even killed. As the Club seeks to get the biggest loser in school, Tyson McGaw, to confess to the pranks, the Shadow Club comes to realize that they might not be the all-around good kids that they thought they were. What started out as fun is turning into something darker, and no one seems to know how to make it stop. THE SHADOW CLUB is a great read by Neal Shusterman. Dealing with human nature, the fact that kids can traumatize each other more than anyone else can, and the fact that we all have anger inside of us is forefront in the story. A great read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted August 1, 2005

    ** !Awesome! **

    Wow! This book was great! It was a little slow in the beginning but at the middle to the end I couldn't put it down! I did a book report on it and got a 100%! It was such a great book...I recommend it to EVERYONE! I can't wait to read the second one...the Shadow Clud Rising! Well everyone who looked this book up don't read anymore books untill u read this!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted November 12, 2004

    It's the best book

    it is the best book i have ever read in my school. it is outstanding for kids to read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted October 25, 2003

    The Shadow Club

    Before I read The Shadow Club I never really liked mysteries. When I started to read it I couldn't stop. It usually takes me two weeks to read a book. With The Shadow Club it took me two days. This is definitely one of the best books ever written.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2002

    Eye Popping

    A slow start just to get you warmed up a bit. As the book progresses it begans to build until the end where you can not stop reading until the end.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2002

    Shusterman at his best.

    To start off this book is great.... It's Shusterman at his best. I haven't came across a bad Shusterman book yet. Anyways here¿s the story in a Nutshell. A 14-year-old boy named Jared and his friend Cheryl are sick of being second best at the things that they do best. These two people gather more and more people that are second best, hey decide to form a club.... The Shadow Club. This club has a goal, the goal is to make the people who are best pay, to make there lives a living hell, and play practical jokes and pranks on them. At first the club seems like a joke, they have meetings to plot there next practical jokes, they hang out etc., but.... one day a prank goes to far and people start getting seriously hurt, by the end of the book you find out that. Wait now If I gave it away it would be pointless to read, wouldn't it? Anyways to find out what goes wrong and how the book end go buy it, borrow it, I don't care as long as you read it I'll be happy. (*****(5) out of *****(5) stars)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Revenge sometimes takes the form of exploding fish tanks.

    I'm no stranger to Neal Shusterman, so when I saw this book with his name on it at the library, I had to pick it up. Once I read the back, I convinced myself that it would be interesting.

    When fourteen year old Jared and his friends decide to form a club of "second-bests" and play anonymous tricks on each other's arch rivals, the harmless pranks escalate until they become life-threatening.

    This book had more potential than it did worth. It was all right. Very quick, I read it in less than a day. But it could have been more, ya know? If only Shusterman could have went deeper and really explored his characters then it would have been fantastic. I felt the characters were nothing more than a name on a page, instead of well-developed individuals. The story was kind of disturbing and a tad unrealistic. Like these guys were in a life-threatening situation and are making jokes about piss. Anyway, I would say the writing is for middle-schoolers, but the material might just satisfy older readers too.

    I don't particularly recommend it, but if you like Neal Shusterman, give it a shot. I don't think I'll seek the sequel, but if I come across it, I might read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2004

    Shadow

    The shadow Club was a joy to read.I think that eveyone sometimes feels they're living in a 'shadow' of another.But this book really puts in perspective what can happen when you try to get revenge.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    I was great

    This book is strange but the meaning to the story makes the book great. And i think it should be read by everyone because there is always someone greater and better then you and this story takes that to the extrem but it dose share a vauble lesson and that what makes you what to read to the end.And i hope the second book The Shadow Club rising makes this whole story complete.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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