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Shadows in the Twilight by Henning Mankell
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Shadows in the Twilight (1991)

by Henning Mankell

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Reviewed by Christina Tsichlis for TeensReadToo.com

SHADOWS IN THE TWILIGHT by Henning Mankell is written using the distinctive voice of the main character, Joel. This is a companion book to A BRIDGE TO THE STARS.

This is a story that asks philosophical questions and does it in a way everyone can understand. Best known for his crime novels for adults, Mankell will win the young adult reader over, as well. As the author is Swedish, it has a decidedly European flare in style as well as setting that the reader will find refreshing and honest.

Some of the questions addressed are faith, miracles, gender, and when to make the choice of staying silent or telling the truth. Told in the first person, the reader gets to see inside Joel's head and understand the questions and the changes in his life from the boy's perspective. It is a shrewdly told tale of a boy who thinks that he might have experienced divine intervention, and what happens when he tries to prove that he deserved said intervention through an elaborate scheme to do good.

Through the eyes of Joel we see a world created with magic, imagination, reality, and possible divinity. The reader becomes sucked into Joel's world to the point where nothing he says seems improbable, only interesting and special. It is a book that asks the big questions and does it creatively, beautifully, and interestingly. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
[Shadows in the Twilight] by Henning Mankell is the next in series in a young adult coming of age set of short novels. Joel Gustafson lives with his father, has a lively imagination, and wants desperately to be 15. When he is saved “by a miracle,” he decides he needs to return the favor for someone. Needless to say, his ideas and plans to “help” his adult friends are more difficult than he has thought they would be—and there is where the story has, once again, the heart of a young boy trying to grow up. I like Mankell’s writing in the three genres I’ve tried (mystery with Kurt Wallender; memory with his Africa books; and children’s with the Gustafson books), and, while this story is not a typical tweener type, it is recommended. ( )
  Prop2gether | May 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385734964, Hardcover)

JOEL WILL SOON be 12, and he thinks nothing is going on in the small community where he lives. But he’s wrong. One day, an incident that could easily have been a catastrophe turns into a miracle. Now Joel believes he owes the world a good deed, to prove that he deserved what might have been divine intervention. He thinks up an elaborate scheme, but it doesn’t go as anticipated. Even though his heart is in the right place, feelings are hurt. If he confesses what he’s done and why, will things be put right again?
Readers who met Joel Gustafson, his father, and their friends in A Bridge to the Stars will follow, with appreciation, Henning Mankell’s shrewd depiction, in this companion novel, of the surprising changes in Joel’s existence. Mankell deftly explores Joel’s self-discovery, his realization that lives can be altered in a single moment, and his new understanding that a choice between telling the truth and keeping silent can make all the difference.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Continues the story of Joel, now nearly twelve and living with his father in a small town in 1957 Sweden, as he is run over by a bus and survives without a scratch, then sets out to do a good deed in gratitude for this miracle.

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