Shimmer by Alyson Noel
publisher: Square Fish
release date: March 15, 2011
paperback, 187 pages
intended audience: Middle Grade
other books in the series: Radiance (review)
source: from publisher for review
description: Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?
Review: This was an enjoyable read, although I like the first book in the Riley Bloom series just a bit better. After Riley's big success at her first assignment to get lost souls to cross the bridge in to the Here & Now, her, her mentor, Bodhi, and her dog, Buttercup, have decided to celebrate with a little vacation down to St. John in the Virgin Islands so she can see where her parents honeymooned. While they are there, they come across some very dark, very lost souls. One in particular, Rebecca, is full of anger at the way her life ended and likes to trap other souls in memories of their own pain and anger. Riley insists on trying to stop her, but she has to be careful not to get trapped herself!
The historical aspect of the story was fascinating, but also very sad. It seemed well researched, but I felt a little more telling than showing---I had a hard time really immersing into this story, Still, the author does a terrific job keeping Riley's actions and attitudes true to her age (12 years). She is just as snarky and stubborn as ever, and rightfully, sometimes it works for her, and sometimes it gets her into deeper trouble.
The direction that the story took in the end was really good, but I was a bit unsatisfied with where the story was cut off. For me, I would have liked to see it end either a little earlier (very vague spoiler, highlight to read: where the main part of the story gets resolved) or a little later (again, very vague spoiler:after our fearless hero takes her lumps for her disobedience---or possibly gets commended for it, who knows?). The cliffhanger is so abrupt that it felt almost like a ploy to get the reader to read the next book rather than a satisfying ending that leaves you wanting more because you love it.
If you enjoy middle grade fiction with a bit of a dark side, definitely give this one a go!
Visit Alyson Noel's site here.
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