Shadow Girl by Sally Nicholls

Shadow Girl book cover
Rating 9.0/10
Another gem from Barrington Stoke.

A Recommended Book of the Month

After taking a Master’s Degree in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa Sally Nicholls wrote Ways to Live Forever and after that she penned Season of the Secrets and All Fall Down. She became shortlisted for the Independent Booksellers Week Award and since then nothing has kept her back.

In Shadow Girl, Clare finds it hard to make friends and has to avoid doing so as the hurt of making them, then losing them is too great a pain to bear. Being a child from a foster home, she can never settle down in one place. She knows she will always be on the move to another town or city and doesn't look forward to trying to make do with being in a new school. She has no friends and even if she did, there would be the problem of having to move again and say goodbye to classmates she might have liked. One morning she gets kicked off the school bus for standing up to the school bullies who harass her daily, but now that she is on her own, she finds herself lost. She isn't lost for long, though when a girl calling herself Maddy helps her out. Maddy's in a similar school to her and gets her where she needs to be - and more than anything wants to be her friend. This is great for Clare as everyone at school hates her, so when Maddy wants to truly befriend her, she wonders why.

In any school, there are girls who find it hard to make friends. They wish for friends just as girls wish to meet their favourite boy band members. We hear a lot about Clare's new foster mother, Lyn and how hard it had been for her to accept her into her home. Lyn has a responsible job that takes her all around the country as a journalist, but as we see in this novel, she always makes valuable time for Clare. As Clare has been in and out of foster care, she finds it hard to settle in and trust the parent or parents who take her in, but with the added help of Maddy becoming her friend, she is able to appreciate that she has both a mother and a friend. Two things she never had before.

Shadow Girl, rather than being about a girl who finds a new foster mother and friend has a very interesting twist you don't expect. When Clare discovers more about her friend, Maddy, she wonders if she is from another time as she likes bands from the 1980s while Clare is more interested in more modern bands. She wants to know who Maddy really is and where she is from, but when she does, it might shock her. From the author of Ways to Live Forever and Close Your Pretty Eyes comes another gem from Barrington Stoke.

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