The Shadow Place

The Shadow Place

5.0 1
by Carol M. Tanzman

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The Shadow Place brings together school violence, Instant Messaging, and the loyalty of old friends — in a suspensful page-turner. Lissa's neighbor and best friend, Rodney, has always been strange, but now he's buyihg guns over the Internet. If Rodney acts on his threats of violence, who will be the victim; his abusive father or one of his taunting


The Shadow Place brings together school violence, Instant Messaging, and the loyalty of old friends — in a suspensful page-turner. Lissa's neighbor and best friend, Rodney, has always been strange, but now he's buyihg guns over the Internet. If Rodney acts on his threats of violence, who will be the victim; his abusive father or one of his taunting classmates.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lissa, the 14-year-old heroine of this issue-driven first novel, faces a dilemma: what should she do when she suspects that her neighbor and childhood friend, Rodney, is planning a horrible crime? For years Lissa has sympathized with Rodney, even before his alcoholic but gentle mother left him in the care of his bullying father, but the teen's compassion for Rodney competes with her desire to fit in with her friends at school, who ostracize him. Now Rodney appears to be becoming violent could he be the one who tampered with the showers in the boys' locker room, scalding his tormentors? When his mother returns briefly only to abandon him again, Rodney snaps, and only Lissa knows Rodney well enough to observe the dangerous combination of his rage and his growing obsession with weapons. Lissa's attempts to voice her concerns about him are invariably silenced by obtuse adults ("That's nonsense," her mother says when Lissa complains about Rodney's father's cruelty. "Rodney loves his father. All Bob's yelling goes in one ear and right out the other"). "Transcripts" of computer chats (replete with argot like "I gg 2, cya L8r") lend some authenticity to the voices of the teens, but slow the pace, already burdened by an overlong set-up. While Lissa's many doubts and tentative measures are realistic, they also interfere with the development of suspense. Ages 11-14. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Lissa and Rodney have always been friends as well as next-door neighbors, but now that they are in eighth grade Lissa is beginning to worry about him. Bullied by his father, obsessed with guns, Rodney is alienated and angry. He thinks his estranged mother is coming to take him away, but when she shows up it's to say that she's moving to Saudi Arabia�without him. Devastated, Rodney runs away, and takes some of his father's guns with him. It's up to Lissa to find him, and to prevent a tragedy. This first novel by a drama teacher and director features strong dialogue, as you would expect, and the suspense builds nicely. Lissa bravely defies her friends and family to come to Rodney's aid, and middle-school readers will easily be able to relate to the relationship issues here. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: J�Recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Millbrook Press, Roaring Brook Press, 180p.,
— Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT
For fourteen-year-old Rodney, "The Shadow Place" represents an escape from reality: it is an escape from an abusive father; an escape from the pain of his mother's leaving; and an escape from the growing alienation from his classmates. However, as he grows more and more angry, Rodney's secret world begins to revolve around guns, bombs, and thoughts of violence towards others. When Lissa, his friend and neighbor, suspects that Rodney is behind a school prank that has severely burned fellow classmates, she decides to spy on him to see what he is up to. Yet, once she discovers the magnitude of his violent side, she is torn between keeping his secret, or telling his parents. Lissa's actions save not only her life, and her classmates', but Rodney's life as well. In her very first book, author Carol M. Tanzman successfully incorporates suspense, a good story, and the language and interests of teenagers to create a true page turner. 2002, Roaring Brook Press, 178 pp.,
— Lisa Scherff
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Lissa's lifelong friend and next-door neighbor, Rodney, has been acting stranger than usual lately. His anger toward his verbally abusive father has increased, his lack of patience for Lissa's other friends has become a nuisance, and his obsession with guns has her frightened. Even her attempts to lure him into their secret "Shadow Place" game fail miserably. Rodney's mother, who left the family two years earlier, comes back into the picture just long enough to tell him that she has remarried and is moving to Saudi Arabia. This is the last straw for him. He disappears with some of his father's guns, and Lissa is forced to follow the clues he leaves behind to figure out where he has gone and what he is planning. The story unfolds through e-mail, chat-room dialogue, and narrative but the characters are never developed beyond their surface personas. Rodney's problems with his overbearing father are, unfortunately, all too realistic, and some young teens will easily put themselves into his shoes. Lissa's hesitance in deciding whether or not to stand by her friend is a true picture of what peer pressure can do. Readers seeking a gritty, dramatic story will be disappointed, but others content not to seek out deeper meaning will be satisfied with this quick if somewhat predictable read.-Kimberly L. Paone, Elizabeth Public Library, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Don't worry, Lis. In the Shadow Place, we have more power than him. That's the real magic, Mom says. Nothing bad can happen to us here." A childhood game of shadows on the wall and made-up stories about them-all with happy endings-provides the title and, ultimately, the hopeful message for this accomplished debut. It is a story that could have turned formulaic and didactic-an abused boy becomes an outcast and goes to school with a loaded gun-but the author keeps it a story of Lissa and Rodney, friends and next-door neighbors since childhood. Their friendship is tested by Rodney's increasingly violent behavior and Lissa's attraction to the right group of friends at school, a group that excludes Rodney. Lissa's wavering allegiances and her pledge to keep secrets ring true. The use of Instant Messages as a narrative device, along with interior monologue in italics and extensive dialogue, adds to the lively and suspenseful pace. By story's end, Rodney is a mess, and he wishes his life were a shadow story for which he could write a happy ending. But Lissa never abandons him, and together they seek power over the circumstances of their lives. It's the power of friendship and of staying involved in a friend's life, even in the most difficult of times, that will resonate with teen readers. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
Single Titles Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.88(d)
520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Carol M. Tanzman was awarded a SCBWI/Judy Blume Work-in-Progress Grant for a Contemporary Novel, for The Shadow Place, her first book. She lives in Los Angeles, California

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The Shadow Place 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK, well by the looks of the cover I wasn't interested, I know 'never judge a book by it's cover' but it's just so blah. Then as soon as I picked it up it felt like it said something to me, something like, 'give me a chance'. (and no I'm not physco). Finally I got it and was amazed by it, i didn't want to put it down, So there you are, my review of this AMAZING book.