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Shadow Girl by Patricia Morrison
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Shadow Girl (edition 2013)

by Patricia Morrison

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2616415,071 (3.93)5
Member:TammyPhillips
Title:Shadow Girl
Authors:Patricia Morrison
Info:Tundra Books (2013), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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Shadow Girl by Patricia Morrison

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
NOTE: There are spoliers in the second to last paragraph, so please don't read that paragraph if you have not yet read the book! I am mentioning spoilers only because I received an advanced copy of the book, so feel I should mention certain points as part of my review.

Over the years, I have read many books about children who have been neglected and/or abused who have either just entered the foster care system, or who have been shuffled from home to home. Patricia Morrison did a good job of describing the reality of it from the angle of how it impacts the children who are in it, as well as the ineptitude of many foster parents who, instead of nurturing those in their care, end up neglecting and abusing those in their care. The title, as such, is apt since Jules was neglected by the Chapmans and mistreated by Mrs. Chapman rather than nurtured - the same type of treatment she was subjected to by her father with the exception of having enough food to eat and people around her to make sure her physical needs were met. In both homes, she was made to feel unloved and worthless.

Another reality that was relayed well by Patricia Morrison was the switch in social workers. Despite how long it takes to earn a bachelor's degree, social workers typically remain in their position for three months. A year is considered long compared to most. Caseloads can be vast, so although social workers may have entered the profession to help children in need, they are often balancing too heavy a workload, so they may not recognize the signs of neglect in foster homes, or have time to regularly visit foster children. As such, foster children like Jules often end up in situations that are more harmful than good.

The lack of reaction by the school to Jules consistent absences from class and her absence from the music production may also be a reality with many schools. While they should be following up, some may not, which encourages truancy.

A few things which did not quite gel for me. First, if Patsy could not reach Jules by phone, surely she would have gone to Jules house since she lived so close by. Second was the length of time it took for Mrs. Adamson to alert the authorities despite Jules' consistent visits to the store by herself when she was only 11 and the amount of time Jules spent there. Third is the lack of reaction of Mrs. Adamson and her children following Jules' visit to Mrs. Adamson's house. Jules was warmly received in their home, but there was no mention of warmness from the Adamson children towards Jules at school, even from Katie who loved Jules from the start. Mention of them following Jules' visit seemed flat in comparison. Mrs. Adamson's reaction to why Jules was not visiting anymore, especially with all she knew about Jules' background, would also more likely have spurred her to follow up with Jules' social worker.

Despite what did not quite gel, I loved the story, mostly because the author added Jules' feelings throughout in italics so that I felt like I was in Jules' skin. This method gave me a stronger sense of what it may feel like for children in Jules' situation, so adhered me to Jules' character from the start. I am looking forward to more books by this author and hope that the author uses this method again. It gave it a unique twist that set it apart from other books I have read. ( )
1 vote Hermee | Jul 1, 2013 |
This is a wonderful book. It is written for middle school age or young adult, but it is also an excellent read for adults. It is about a young girl who has been abandoned by those who should be loving and caring for her. Her experiences with the foster care system are not much better. But there is ONE person who truly sees her, and understands and cares. Who ultimately makes a difference.

It is an emotionally tough read, and it does not candy coat the harsh realities of life that I suspect too many children share. But it also has hope, and does not talk down to its audience. And it does show that individuals can make a difference, and that people, even in dreadful circumstances can find resiliency.

This is a book well worth reading. Highly recommended. ( )
  wosewoman | Jun 29, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As someone who has a lot of contact with children in the foster care system, I feel like this book has done the best job of any work of fiction I have read of realistically portraying that experience. Yes, it is dark, and painful, and at times hopeless. This is a story that ultimately brings a degree of redemption, but I also think it offers a profound insight into an experience that many children face. It is clear that the author has had significant experience with the foster care system as well as many children who have experienced that first-hand. A challenging read emotionally, but well worth your time. ( )
  sstaheli | May 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book was very interesting, but I must admit it wasn't for me. For a younger audience I believe this is a great read! I hope many other people get the chance to read it too. It deserves an audience.
  ldh5522 | May 14, 2013 |
Reviewed by Avery, age 9, for City Book Review

This book was so sad that it almost made me cry while reading it. Jules is an eleven year old whose father drinks too much and she is left to care for herself most of the time. She doesn’t have any money and goes without food a lot of the time as well as often not having any heat, so Jules spends a lot of her time down at the Six Points Plaza where she pretends she is in a better place.

*You can view the rest of this review at http://citybookreview.com/2013/04/shadow-girl/ ( )
  crayolakym | Apr 14, 2013 |
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Left to fend for herself for days at a time, the daughter of an alcoholic father and absentee mother is placed in foster care, where she endures a painful relationship with her foster mother before being taken into a supportive family.

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