Author: Older, Daniel Jose
[Book 1] When the murals painted on the walls of her Brooklyn neighborhood start to change and fade in front of her, Sierra Santiago realizes that something strange is going on--then she discovers her Puerto Rican family are shadowshapers and finds herself in a battle with an evil anthropologist for the lives of her family and friends.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 174530
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 66024
Kirkus Reviews (+) (03/15/15)
School Library Journal (02/01/17)
Booklist (+) (05/15/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2015 Gr 7 Up—Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them. Robbie is a clear love interest, but he isn't there to rescue Sierra. Sierra is a tough, confident, body-positive female protagonist of Puerto Rican descent, proud of her 'fro and curves. The fact that she and Robbie seem to be connecting romantically is portrayed as more of a happy coincidence than the culmination of a lifelong dream of romance. Dialogue is fast paced and authentic to Sierra's Brooklyn neighborhood, which is vividly described. Readers will find someone to whom they can relate in her diverse group of friends. VERDICT Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/15/2015 *Starred Review* When Sierra’s grandfather warns her to finish her mural because “the paintings are fading,” she is puzzled, but the only person willing to help her find answers is talented artist Robbie, and even he is reticent. Determined, Sierra finally learns the truth: her grandfather was a powerful shadowshaper, able to animate art with the spirit of a departed soul, and now an interloper, anthropologist Dr. Wick, is trying to steal these powers for himself. As Sierra investigates the shadowshapers, she discovers her own shockingly powerful role in the disappearing community. Apart from being an awesome power, shadowshaping becomes a resonant metaphor for the importance of cultural heritage, as Puerto Rican Sierra and Haitian Robbie draw on and amplify their ancestors’ spirits, and their primary concern is keeping their honorable tradition alive in their community. Older’s world building echoes that, too, weaving in timely commentary on gentrification, cultural appropriation, and even the shifting social mores of immigrant communities (especially evident in Sierra chafing against her grandfather’s machismo). Even if readers don’t recognize Older’s crafty commentary, they will find plenty to like in the unique fantasy elements, entertainingly well-wrought characters, and cinematic pacing. Smart writing with a powerful message that never overwhelms the terrific storytelling. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2017 Gr 7 Up—The 2015 SLJ Best Book follows Afro-Latina Sierra Santiago as she discovers that she's part of a long line of shadowshapers, people with the ability to infuse magic into their art in order to fight off demons. The Brooklyn teen embraces her Blackness and defends it against the critique of her family members—a powerful statement in YA lit. Fresh dialogue and exceptional world-building will have readers anticipating further adventures in the upcoming Shadowhouse Fall slated for September 2017. - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.