Shadowland: Appealing YA fantasy

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsShadowland by Meg Cabot fantasy book reviews Young AdultShadowland by Meg Cabot

Suze is a mediator — she can see the ghosts of people whose souls have not been able to move on. She helps them resolve their earthly issues so they can go wherever they’re supposed to go. She doesn’t know what happens to them after they go — just that it’s her job to facilitate their departure.

Because of her weird ability, Suze is not a normal teenager. People find her a little strange and she has trouble making friends and fitting in. Now she’s moving away from New York, where she grew up. Her father died several years ago and her mother has married a man in California. She will have a new family, a new school, and a new life. Her mother, who doesn’t believe in the ghosts, hopes the changes will be beneficial for Suze.

As soon as Suze enters her new bedroom overlooking the ocean, she realizes that her “problems” have not gone away. There’s the ghost of a hot guy named Jesse in her room and she’s having trouble dislodging him. Then, on her first day of school at a Catholic mission, the ghost of a girl who recently committed suicide is haunting her locker. So, right away, Suze has two new “clients” to take care of. Fortunately, she also discovers that she’s not the only person who can see ghosts — the priest who runs the school can also see them and he says there are other mediators besides the two of them. He promises to be a helpful resource.

Shadowland is the first book in Meg Cabot’s MEDIATOR series. I enjoyed spending a few hours with Suze. She’s a pleasant protagonist who’s brave, tender-hearted, confident and interesting. There were a few other admirable characters in her story, though some were also stock YA characters (e.g., the beauty queen). Perhaps the most interesting character is Jesse, the ghost in Suze’s room. He’s a young man from the 19th century. We don’t know much about him yet, but I think his storyline, which takes place in the past, will give this series more depth.

I think the best thing I can say about Shadowland is that even though it’s a little shallow and predictable, it didn’t annoy me like most other YA paranormal fantasies do. Maybe that doesn’t seem like much of a commendation, but coming from someone who hasn’t been a teenager in over a couple of decades and who thought teenage girls were annoying even back then, that’s something. Shadowland should be quite appealing to teenage girls (or even boys) and it features a likeable heroine who, so far, is fun to hang out with and makes a respectable role model.

I read the audiobook version of Shadowland which was produced by Recorded Books and narrated by Johanna Parker who I liked quite well. I picked it up on sale at Audible and liked it well enough that I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of the series in future Audible sales.

Young Adult. Publisher: Suze is a mediator — a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations. But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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