Book Reviews: In The Shadows & Fangirl

Title: In the Shadows
Series: none
Author: Kiersten White (text story) & Jim Di Bartolo (art story)
Genre: YA, mystery, paranormal, graphic novel, historical fiction
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

In the Shadows is a gorgeous, gothic, paranormal tale that follows five children in a small mysterious sea-side town as they uncover a conspiracy, the breadth of which constantly astounded me. The book tells two parallel stories – one written and one graphic – that are connected in a way you will never guess until the end, when it will blow your mind.  The characters are so unique and different from each other, and even though the story was quite short, I was invested in them and genuinely concerned about how they would get themselves out of trouble.  It was a captivating tale that I couldn’t put down.

As soon as In the Shadows arrived in the mail I knew it would be my favourite book on the shelf.  It’s a beautiful, cloth-bound hardback with magical artwork on the jacket. The story is printed on glossy paper, in sepia ink with ornamental borders. As if the book was beautifully illustrated enough, Jim Di Bartolo’s art story is breath-taking. Although the first time I read it, I had more questions than answers about what was happening (all becomes clear in the end), I couldn’t help but stop and admire the gorgeous illustrations he had created.

I recommend In the Shadows to everybody. If you have never read a graphic novel, this is the perfect way to start. You won’t be able to help falling in love with Kiersten’s beautiful children or Jim’s stunning artwork.

Title: Fangirl
Series: none
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA, contemporary, realistic, romance
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

As a self-proclaimed fangirl, I was very cautious of reading this book. It sounded perfect, but it could so easily slip into a clichéd mess.  A few positive reviews gave me the confidence to pick it up and I devoured it in two sittings.  Fangirl is the most relatable book I’ve ever read.  Cath is a socially awkward writer of Simon Snow fanfiction.  When  her outgoing twin sister decides they need to live in separate rooms at college, Cath is forced out if her comfort zone.

This book had me flying through the whole spectrum of emotions – laughing, fangirl-squealing, crying, yelling “don’t do it!”, cringing… There is not one page of this novel I didn’t enjoy or that I didn’t relate to. Having said that, I don’t think everyone will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Cath suffers from social anxiety, and it affects most of the choices she makes.  If you are not a person who has ever felt anxiety about an unfamiliar social situation, or if you’ve never chosen to stay home because you were too scared of going out, you will find yourself frustrated with Cath.  You will be yelling “just go!” to her and you won’t understand why she keep choosing to stay home.  What you need to understand is that she’s yelling the same things to herself, much louder, but it’s not convincing enough to beat the fear.  So she makes the safe choices.

Apart from this aspect, Fangirl is a great read for everybody.  It’s a fun, entertaining contemporary novel with friendships, romance and fanfiction which also touches on more serious issues of mental health and family.

I read these books as part of the Bout of Books read-a-thon. Reviews for the two other books I read can be found here.

What books have you read this week? Let me know what you thought in the comments or leave me a link to your own reviews!


10 thoughts on “Book Reviews: In The Shadows & Fangirl

  1. Brandie says:

    Great reviews! I loved Fangirl and agree with you about the social anxiety aspect of the book. It’ll be hard for some people to understand, and fortunately I could relate to Cath and it made me really enjoy the book that much more. The first book in your review intrigues me – I have been curious about trying graphic novels more.

  2. Fangirl is one of the most real books I’ve ever read, but I never considered the way readers who haven’t experienced social anxiety might view Cath. I suppose you’re right, although for me she was spot on. In fact, she gets out a lot more than I ever did in my freshman year of college.

    • Cath was definitely like looking in a mirror for me, but you’re right that she was still quite social. She got out more than me, too. I was prompted to think how others would view her when I read someone else’s review on how frustrated they got with her character. It sort of reminded me of how frustrated I can sometimes get with myself, and I think that could be difficult for some people to relate to. But it’s not a major part of the story, so not worth not-reading over. It’s great, because it’s an insight into people who share Cath’s mind 🙂

  3. Great review! I recently reviewed Fangirl as well and I totally get what you mean about being able to relate to her. In the shadows sounds fascinating – now going to be another graphic novel to add to my to-read list. 🙂 well done!

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