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The Shadows [PDF] ✩ The Shadows By Jacqueline West – Die Katze stand auf und reckte sich «Nur weil deine Eltern dieses Haus gekauft haben bedeutet das noch lange nicht dass ihr hier bleiben werdet» sagte sie «Was meinst du damit» fragte Olive «Ich Die Katze stand auf und reckte sich «Nur weil deine Eltern dieses Haus gekauft haben bedeutet das noch lange nicht dass ihr hier bleiben werdet» sagte sie «Was meinst du damit» fragte Olive «Ich meine dass dieses Haus jemand anderem gehört Und dass dieser Jemand euch hier vielleicht nicht haben will» Olive spürt gleich dass mit ihrem neuen Haus etwas nicht stimmt Und dabei sind drei sprechende Katzen noch das wenigste Was hat es zum Beispiel mit den Bildern auf sich die sich nicht von der Wand nehmen lassen Und mit der Brille mit deren Hilfe man die Bilderwelten betreten kann Als Olive nach und nach hinter das Geheimnis der Villa kommt gerät sie selbst in große Gefahr Denn eine unheimliche Macht droht aus den Bildern herauszukommen und das Haus in Besitz zu nehmen Wird es Olive und ihren Katzenfreunden gelingen die Schatten zu vertreiben.

10 thoughts on “The Shadows

  1. Adam Adam says:

    Rarely do I as a male identify with female characters However in the case of Olive I was able to lose myself in the story completely Elements of Roald Dahl Neil Gaiman and a touch of Madeleine L'Engle combine flawlessly to create a story that is both fascinating and engrossing However it is truly unfair to compare West to other authors without highlighting the fact that while her style and prose are reminiscent of the aforementioned others it is still uniue and refreshing Her worldbuilding and character development are done with the panache of a poet Truly a delight to read

  2. Robert Kent Robert Kent says:

    FIRST PARAGRAPH MS MCMARTIN WAS definitely dead It had taken some time for the neighbors to grow suspicious since no one ever went in or came out of the old stone house on Linden Street anyway However there were several notable clues that things in the McMartin house were not as they should have been The rusty mailbox began to bulge with odd and exotic mail order catalogs which eventually overflowed the gaping aluminum door and spilled out into the street The gigantic jungle fern that hung from the porch ceiling keeled over for lack of water Ms McMartin’s three cats somewhere inside the house began the most terrible yowling ever heard on uiet old Linden Street After a few days of listening to that the neighbors had had enoughEsteemed Reader Friedrich Nietzch once wrote if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you Or maybe it was his sister Either way I'm still not entirely sure what it means But it inspired Hitler who was a painter In The Books of Elsewhere if you stare into a painting the painting stares into you And that ought to be worth an email from author Jacueline West asking why I used Hitler to segue to her book for children What is it about paintings that so captures the imagination of writers? Certainly enchanted paintings have played a central role in the works of Rowling King Wilde Dahl and many many others Perhaps it's that the frame of a painting sometimes looks less like the boarder of a picture and like the edge of a window to another world An Elsewhere TM where the viewer could tour alien landscapes meet interesting characters and maybe even get in an adventure For most viewers this will never happen because they don't have the magic old fashioned glasses Meet eleven year old Olive Dunwoody She has the glasses West didn't just kill off poor Ms McMartin in paragraph one for no reason She's left that old stone house on Linden Street vacant so Olive and her family can move inIt wasn’t long before someone heard about the old stone house for sale at an astonishingly low price and decided to buy it These someones were a Mr Alec and Mrs Alice Dunwoody a pair of than slightly dippy mathematicians The Dunwoodys had a daughter named Olive—but she had nothing to do with the house buying decision Olive was eleven and was generally not given much credit Her persistently lackluster grades in math had led her parents to believe that she was some kind of genetic aberration—they talked to her patiently as if she were a foreign exchange student from a country no one had ever heard ofObserve how West identifies conflict between her characters in their introduction which is a writer's trick worth making note of After all the whole point of crafting characters is to get them in conflict with each other and as many other conflicts as can be had Conflict keeps pages turning Olive's parents are nerds of the highest order to such an extreme degree as to make Elissa Brent Weissman blush For this reason it's hard not to be fond of them but seriously“We met in the library at Princeton” answered Mrs Dunwoody her eyes glowing with the memory “We were both reading the same journal—The Absolutely Unrelenting Seriousness of Mathematics for the New Generation —” “Or ‘Ausom’—get it?” interjected Mr Dunwoody “‘Awesome’ Very clever”NerdsI suspect Olive will grow up to be a nerd of a very different sort an English nerd which is a nerd just as awkward as a math nerd though usually possessing a greater fondness for alcohol Olive is aloof and introspective She doesn't appear to have friends but that's an unfair judgement as she just moved Still if there weren't fantastical figures about for her to get in an adventure with I'm certain she would invent them Olive's mind is uite a bit like a writer's mind and I suspect writer's everywhere will identify with this passage which might have been taken from my own youthIn her bedroom Olive dug through the closet looking for a pair of slippers to wear for protection against the chilly stone floor But there were no slippers to be found Olive owned six pairs of slippers but none of them were ever where they belonged This was because Olive's body often did things without consulting Olive's brain which was usually busy with something much interesting than putting things away in the right placeIn any case West puts Olive at odds with her parents from the start and keeps them at odds for much of the novel There are many plot conveniences derived from this device but it creates conflict which keeps pages turning Olive's issues with her parents are not the main conflict though I might argue that a girl who feels out of place in her family might be prone toward seeking out fantastical worlds of escape than one who doesn't West has a whole adventure planned for us rooted in a greater conflict that will stretch over the series but that doesn't diminish the brilliance of Olive's smaller conflict with her parents Every scene she has with her parents is made interesting and readable because of the conflict and is there such a thing as a book that is too interesting or readable?Eventually Olive puts on the magic old fashioned glasses and is able to travel to a wonderland inside the houses paintings complete with talking cats who never seem to have good news“Keep your eyes open Be on your guard There is something that doesn’t want you here and it will do its best to get rid of you” “Get rid of me?” “Of all of you As far as this house is concerned you are intruders” Horatio paused “But don’t get too anxious There’s very little you can do about it either wayAnd so begins an adventure that will suck the reader into West's world as Olive is sucked into a painting The Shadows is an exciting first novel in what promises to be a wonderful series and you should add it to your reading list That's where I'll leave my review and my description of the plot as to avoid spoilersBut I do have two passages to share and one last point to make about craft First read thisAnd the painting at the top of the stairs still seemed to be keeping a secret Olive stood in front of it for almost half an hour that first night until her eyes crossed and bits of the trees popped out at her Nothing Nothing but the feeling that there was something not uite right about this painting And it wasn’t the only one There were paintings all over the house that gave her the same funny feeling Right outside her bedroom door there was a painting of a rolling field with a row of little houses in the distance It was evening in the painting and all the windows in the houses were dark But the houses didn’t look like they were sleeping comfortably just waiting for sunrise to come and start another day The houses looked like they were holding their breath They crouched among the trees and blew out their lights trying not to be seen Seen by what? Olive wonderedOne of the things that had attracted me to read The Shadows in the first place was the promise by other readers that it was a scary book And I was not disappointed There are some definite moments of unease and creepiness I'm admittedly not a parent but I think most children will enjoy the book and few will have nightmares Some will thoughMy second point about craft is to note how West chooses to reveal the magical properties of the paintings surrounding the Dunwoody family She doesn't bluntly state that a person can travel through them or even that the paintings gaze into the Dunwoodys in a most Nietzchian fashion Instead she draws out the suspense by slowly revealing there's maybe something going on with those paintingsThe shadows suddenly rippled and bent and within the shadows a pale splotch darted out of the undergrowth Olive froze staring at the white path She blinked rubbed her eyelids with her fingertips and looked again Yes—there it was Something was moving inside the painting a tiny white shape flitting between the silhouettes of the wiry trees Olive held perfectly still She didn't even breathe The tiny white shape made one uick plunge toward the path then dove back into the thorny black forest And then the painting too was perfectly stillWhen writing middle grade writers are too often tempted to cut corners as the text must be as sparse as possible there are acceptable word counts to strive for Pacing is worth considering and shorter is almost always better but some effects are worth slowing down for By drawing out the reveal of a magical object a writer can heighten suspense and work the reader into a vulnerable frenzy of wanting to know which is a perfect state in which to terrify themAs always I'll leave you with some of my favorite passages from The ShadowsMr Hambert on the other hand was sweating like a mug of root beer in the sunIn the big old house their belongings looked small and out of place like tiny visitors from outer space trying to blend in at a Victorian ballHer parents had warned her not to let her imagination run away with her ever since she was three and had woken them night after night wailing about the sharks hiding under her bed “Olive honey” her father had patiently explained “when a shark is out of the water it is crushed by the weight of its own body A shark couldn’t survive under your bed” Three year old Olive had nodded and went on to imagine sharks slowly suffocating among the dust bunnies Half of Olive’s brain said That cat just talked The other half of Olive’s brain said stubbornly No it didn't All Olive’s mouth said was “What?”In the distance she heard her father knocking his toothbrush on the sink The house creaked A twig of the ash tree tapped softly against her window again and again like a small patient hand

  3. Tatiana Tatiana says:

    Brilliant debut novel by Jacueline West I receive plenty of ARC's every year but very few that leave me satisfied and excited for the follow up SPOILER ALERT This Victorian esue mystery novel has a brilliant and strong heroine in Olive Dunwoody She is an average girl with genius mathematical parents and she feels her ordinary existence as she moves from school to school for her parents career Olive's parents finally decide to put down some roots and they choose the most uniue spooky and creepy house to move in to with Olive having no say in the matter in her parents eagerness to snatch up a house where lonely Miss McMartin died at the age of 104 Olive soon learns that the house is not normal as she begins to sift through Miss McMartin's belongings coming across an old pair of spectacles that she soon discovers has magical powers namely to see old portraits and paintings come to life Olive uses the spectacles to enter the paintings and soon thereafter excitement and danger lurks in every corner She befriends sweet Morton a boy who is a part of a painting a boy who remembers a hazy past but Olive dismisses him as just a painted figure who wishes for Joining their friendship are the wonderful talking cats Horatio Leopold and Harvey Together they fight the forces that are trying to take over the house and trying to snuff Olive's existence by making her a part of the spooky paintingsThis is the kind of book you should put in the hands of children who are looking for an excellent mystery novel and are fans of Harry Potter Coraline Molly Moon and books and characters steeped in the mysterious supernatural and magical I would recommend this book children in grades 4 through 8 although it would be an enjoyable read for any age

  4. Melki Melki says:

    Well this one had great potential Eleven year old Olive and her parents move to an old house that comes furnished with all the previous occupant's possessions When Olive stumbles upon a pair of glasses that allow her to crawl inside paintings things take a turn for the mysterious Great idea eh? And it could have led to some fantastic adventures but the author just didn't go there Perhaps if the book had been longer there could have been some whimsical bits with the paintings before we got down to the main plot which is an attempt to reanimate an evil old manOlive herself is a rather blah and not a very endearing character Even the three talking cats failed to enchant me Perhaps the author stretches her imagination a bit further in the next few books but I won't be continuing on with the series

  5. Brenda Brenda says:

    I initially had this book in audio format but felt like I was missing something A uick trip to the bookstore solved that one Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the narrator I just felt like I was missing out on flipping the pages looking at the illustrations and reading the words I fell in love with the wonderfully detailed pictures of the McMartin home and Olive trying on long gloves and combs in her hair I was instantly lured into the book by the author’s style of descriptive writing and poetic word choices that kept enticing me to continue reading right until the very end I felt that I was able to empathize with Olive and was drawn into her desire to save Morton It was Mrs West’s specific word choices that really painted detailed images that brought the photographs in the book of lakes trees and dark shadows to life and sent the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end at times This book is eual parts spooky suspenseful and has some wonderful poetic imagery I am really looking forward to going back and finish the audiobook and for the next book in her series ETA Starting a re read 12112

  6. DarkKnuWayve DarkKnuWayve says:

    If you like The Book Jumper you might like this instead of jumping in books the main character can jump into paintings The plot was simple and at times it was slow but it was enjoyable I could tell you the plot but you can look it up on here There were some good and some bad The good being able to jump into paintings The bad I didn't really like the ending And there are three talking cats if you're into that It's the first of a series and I'll give the rest a chance Hopefully the series get better

  7. Leah Leah says:

    This volume by Jacueline West The Shadows is first in the series of Elsewhere Right away loved the cover If you see it in person the cover actually reflects light and looks like it's glowing The drawing is a perfect likeness to Olive the main character Each illustration is a mix of creepiness and adorabilityI am amazed by Jaculine West and her ability to pack in multiple story lines adventure and several twists with a few heapfuls of angst in 241 pages She tells the tale of Olive Dunwoody moving into her family's first home the McMartin mansion This is no ordinary creepy old house it's a keeper of secret portals disguised as paintings Olive discovers a pair of enchanted spectacles that allow the paintings to come to life when she looks through them and even enters them Olive meets a distraught boy Morton in a painting of her own street and works to free him Olive battles the evil that lurks in the paintings in a way that parallels Christianity In order to explain that comparison I'd have to spoil the story so I'll just leave the ending for you to discoverI loved Olive's spunkiness in this story When she battles evil old Aldous McMartin she stubbornly tells him I am not afraid of you and later Is that supposed to be scary? Because it isn't Even when he induces the feeling of spiders covering her body causing her stomach to lurch she simply tells herself This isn't real this isn't real this isn't real In today's world of catastrophes and powers that be who wouldn't want to be like Olive?The best part of the story was how she threw in twists early into the story line as well as in the middle and end The story never sagged and was full of surprises Olive's predicament is resolved but not the entire big picture leaving the door wide open for a seuel but not to the extreme that it weakens the book The only thing I didn't care and took my by surprise was the dark elements of witches discussed by the cats The seuel gives a hint to potions and such I may decide not to read the seuel if it's based on dark arts but will be anxious to check out any works by Jacueline WestI would recommend this book for upper middle grade because of the scary elementsI give this book 5 stars

  8. Book Hunter Book Hunter says:

    Olive and her family move into a big creepy house and as she explores she finds that the paintings come to life and the cats talk to her The storyline was nice but halfway through the book the pacing started to drag some things didn't make sense And I just felt it could've been less predictable and mysterious An entertaining choice for kids who want a story that's a little scary but not too much I'm not sure I'll be continuing the series as I'm not totally entranced by this world

  9. Barb Middleton Barb Middleton says:

    I have a favorite pen The ink seeps out of it so I hardly have to press the felt tip to the paper Bliss no callouses no hand cramps just my handy dandy pen and a cup of tea when I sit down to write So imagine the irony when I come across this paragraph that I absolutely have to write in my journal and I can't find my blasted pen In her bedroom Olive dug through the closet looking for a pair of slippers to wear for protection against the chilly stone floor But there were no slippers to be found Olive owned six pairs of slippers but none of them were ever where they belonged This was because Olive's body often did things without consulting Olive's brain which was usually busy with something much interesting than putting things away in the right place A second pair of socks would have to do Olive I mutter grabbing a ball point pen I know will leave my hand cramped I know exactly how you feel  The reader immediately gets a feel for Olive's creative random nature contrasted with her nerdy brilliant mathematical parents At dinner Olive asks for a small helping of lima beans and her mother says Twenty four for you then  And while you might not be able to relate to Olive like myself you will definitely laughOlive has just moved into a creepy Victorian stone house with a scary basement talking cats and paintings where the objects move She's kind of lonely in the big old house but has a blast exploring its nooks and crannies When she finds a pair of spectacles she realizes she can climb into the paintings and of course jumps in the painting that is creepy She's also intrigued because she can see a boy running through it Meet Morton His skin looks like a painting or porcelain but he wants out of the painting He explains that a bad man brought him there and when a dark shadow chases them she impulsively yanks Morton out of the painting with the help of one of the cats and puts him in another one that is less threateningHer next painting adventure involves meeting a women in a painting and having tea with her making her first friend She also breaks the tea cup puts 10 cubes of sugar in her tea and thwacks her head on the picture frame when exiting but she's having a hey ho time until she starts to find out things from people in other paintings about the bad man that put them there The man who has now targeted Olive because she lives in his house The man who wants to kill herThe pacing is fast the humor keeps the story from being too frightening for young readers and the characters are kooky and fun The writing is very descriptive and the author creates a setting that is easy to get lost in Mrs Dewey she describes as looking as if she had been stacked on top of each other like a snowman The cats are like the Three Musketeers with one cat being the thespian He switches his voice using a pirate voice or a Shakespearean voice to name a few He reminded me of my sister who used to do that except she was either a Looney Tune character or the lion in the Wizard of OzThere were some nice plot twists and I was kept guessing as to what would happen next When all looks lost Olive recognizes that the mess they are in is really because of her actions and it was refreshing to see her take responsibility for them Only a couple of times did I wonder why the cats do not give Olive necessary information The ploy is to keep the reader guessing as to whether or not the cats are helping or hindering Olive and the author gives the reason that they are serving the McMartins but I thought it was weak I thought they should have had a curse on them similar to the necklaceMorton changes from a frightened mean boy to one willing to stand up to evil It was funny when he was hiding under the bed and then crawls out to explain how he had decided to fight the bad man and says he's strong flexing his spaghetti arm Morton and Olive become friends in the story and Olive has to apologize for not believing in him Morton is younger than Olive and their friendship reuires Olive to be kind and not be the know it all older brat She is a good person who learns from her mistakesThis book reminded me of Breadcrumbs with how the author describes cold weather It is like another character in the story the way it pervades the pages with images of snowmen ice daggers and crystals West does such a good job getting the senses involved that I was left with a frosty nose a few times A fun fantasy readReading Level 51

  10. Robyn Robyn says:

    “Ms McMartin was definitely dead” WHO wouldn't like a book that opens with that line? But what kid would want their parents to buy a house actually a huge mansion old old old where someone died? NOT ME nope Poor Olive her parents did parents who are brilliant and see her normal intelligence as less than but they still love her Having mathematically inclined parents must be a common theme in middle school books THE TREEHOUSE WARS included this as well Olive finds the three house cats that are AMAZING I am coming around to wishing I lived there her cats talk As Olive explores the house she discovers she finds and strange things painting that move old spectacles that allow her to see the paintings come alive and everyone is moving Grecian girls dancing men mortaring a stone wall a woman serving tea—and a scared child ducking for cover in the sinister forest Not ONLY can she SEE the movement if she pushes against the painting but she can also push her way into the scene There she meets Morton a little boy one of my favorite characters in the bookI enjoyed the book though it was cute I found Olive a great role model as she was brave calm and critically thought her way out of issues She didn't panic when she thought spiders were all over her that has to be the bravest girl alive 4 starsHappy Reading

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