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In the Shadows

In the Shadows

by Kiersten White, Jim Di Bartolo

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 From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their


 From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

Arthur is also new to the boarding house. His fate is tied to that of Cora, Minnie, Thomas, and Charles. He knows what darkness circles them, but can’t say why, and doesn’t even know if they can be saved.  

Sinister forces are working in the shadows, manipulating fates and crafting conspiracies. The closer Cora, Minnie, Arthur, Thomas, and Charles get to the truth, the closer they get to harm. But the threat is much bigger than they can see. It is strangling the world.  

Until one of the boys decides he wants to save it.  

Told in an astonishing mix of art and words, IN THE SHADOWS collides past against future, love against evil, and hope against fear.  The result is both a mystery and a masterpiece.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Di Bartolo follows Lips Touch: Three Times—his acclaimed 2009 collaboration with his wife, Laini Taylor—with a project that gives him more scope for story. The creators are, in the main, handling separate narratives, with the possibility that some readers won’t recognize any connection until the end. Di Bartolo provides a horror-tinged adventure and White (Paranormalcy) a horror-tinged romance centering on Arthur, a mysterious young man who, in 1899, fetches up at the Johnson Boarding House with a heavy suitcase and heavier heart. He stays longer than planned, charmed by sisters Minnie and Cora Johnson. The arrival of two summer visitors precipitates a crisis that sends Arthur on a quest to lift the curse haunting him. Di Bartolo’s images are silent stills, occasionally suffering from a lack of pacing that dialogue would have provided. Likewise, the finely detailed, single-scene development of White’s text can be overshadowed by the instant impact of the pictures. For readers who can find their own balance between the two, it’s an intriguing, many-faceted tale. Ages 12–up. Agent: (for White) Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary Agency; (for Di Bartolo) Jane Putch, Eyebait Management. (Apr.)
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Karen Jensen
In The Shadows is told in both prose and wordless illustrations. Arthur arrives at a home with a cursed case; it is now his burden. Here, he is charmed by sisters Minnie and Cora, who have recently lost their father after an incident at the house of a witch. Arthur is cursed and cannot die so he must go on a quest to lift the curse so he can be with his love, Minnie. Arthur’s quest is told in the illustrations while the story of Minnie and Cora is told primarily in the prose. It is not clear how the two elements of the story interact until you get closer to the end. This format is very popular right now and should appeal to its fans. The wordless illustrations can be difficult to follow and integrate into the overall story given the way that the picture sections alternate with the prose. The prose sections are short, usually four to five pages at a time, and are haunted by a melancholy tone of longing and waiting. It is a challenging read for novices to the format, but the popularity of the format and the presence of demons will appeal to many. This haunting love story spans a century, visits various locations, and is punctuated by some beautiful illustrations. This is recommended for libraries where this format is popular. Reviewer: Karen Jensen; Ages 15 to 18.
Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
Bartolo and White redefine the illustrated novel in this genre transcendent story of the devil’s disciples. A little bit gothic, a little bit sci-fi and a whole lot fantasy, this layered story of romance, adventure and time travel covers a century in two slip-streams, one delivered in eloquent prose and the other in boldly drawn and painted images of fear, flight, combat and pursuit. In the beginning of the twentieth century, the lives of four teenagers converge at an inn in Maine. Two of them, Cora and Minnie, are the daughters of the innkeeper, a widow. The other two, Thom and his younger brother Charles, who is slowly dying, arrive in flight from an unnamed danger, sent by their father under the pretense of seeking respite from city life for the summer. Their story is told in prose chapters, beginning with their witness of a hanging and the disappearance of the body, which then reappears, unable to die. The fifth voyager is Arthur, kingpin and secret-keeper, who understands the danger that pursues them all. His story unfolds in the illustrations, comprising chapters that alternate with the prose ones. Much of the plot unfolds in predictable ways: parents disappear, bodies come back to life, a secret society of immortals called the Ladon Vitae is revealed. These immortals have appropriated power from an imprisoned devil-child and use it to control people and events, always for evil ends. The two stories converge at the conclusion where the patience of true love is rewarded. This is not a novel for readers who prefer their stories in strictly linear form. But for those willing to read “outside the box,” it offers an intriguing and imaginative variation on the usual formula. This book would be a good addition to a high school library or school curriculum designed to study young adult science fiction and fantasy literature in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Reviewer: Hazel Buys; Ages 14 up.
Kirkus Reviews
Teens square off against sinister immortals in an overstuffed muddle presented, Hugo Cabret–style, through an alternating mix of prose and wordless visuals. White's prose, created in collaboration with Di Bartolo, puts generic elements and character types together for a slow-moving tale featuring a set of bored undying. They have gathered in a small Maine town in 1900 to move the caged demon that keeps them alive to a new hidden location, in the process menacing a clutch of teenage residents. The creators offer no historical background or specific agenda for the bad guys, aside from just continuing to live. They are pursued across the decades by Arthur, dedicated to their destruction. Di Bartolo's wordless graphic panels chronicle that quest, which takes Arthur over continents and through the 20th century into the 21st. Readers are likely to find themselves more confused than enthralled. The graphic panels are interspersed in short, episodic sections from the very beginning so that readers will have no idea how they are connected to the text until links are supplied many pages later. Moreover, the art is drawn and colored in a loose, blurry way that makes recurring figures hard to recognize (Arthur has a facial scar, but that's no help since he doesn't acquire it until late in the prose story), and many discrete incidents are often so compressed that the graphic portion frequently feels more like a sketchy storyboard than a story. Ambitious but a failure both as a whole and in its parts. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 12-14)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In an inspired collaboration, White, author of urban fantasies and all things paranormal, pairs up with artist Di Bartolo to create a dark, moody, and mysterious hybrid novel. The story consists of alternating narratives, one in prose and one in vividly colored, sometimes horrific wordless graphic novel panels. It isn't immediately apparent if or how the two narrative threads are related. That fact alone might keep readers turning pages. White's story is about two sisters, Cora and Minnie, who live with their mother in a boardinghouse in Maine. After spying on the town witch and getting caught, Cora blames herself for the death of her father the next day. When a mysterious stranger, Arthur, comes to board, along with two brothers from New York, Minnie involves them in the folklore of their sleepy Maine resort town, only to discover that they are in an evil place, surrounded by watchers, and in more danger than she could have ever thought possible. What do you do when the web you weave ensnares not only the people you love, but the people and things you should fear the most? Di Bartolo's stunning artwork takes readers across the globe and spans from the turn of the 20th century to the present. While not for strictly linear thinkers, this absorbing tale will reward patient readers with a thrill of an adventure. Upon completion, teens will find themselves thumbing through it all over again, if only to put together the pieces of the puzzle that Di Bartolo keeps in the shadows throughout this eerie volume.—Meg Allison, The Moretown School, VT

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kiersten White is the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of numerous novels for young adults. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego. While she spends most of her time in the sun, she still courts the occasional shadow. Visit her online at www.kierstenwhite.com.

Jim Di Bartolo is a mixed media illustrator, painter, and visual storyteller. In his freelance career he has illustrated novels, comic books, and role-playing games. He and his wife, the author Laini Taylor, have collaborated on several books, and their most recent joint effort, LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES, was a National Book Award finalist. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and their daughter, and can be found online at www.jimdibartolo.com. Chances are, he probably could use more sleep.

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