Bookscoops

The Scoop on Children & Adolescent Literature

A Shadow in the Dark by Ronica Stromberg

Posted by hollybookscoops on February 16, 2010

I have to admit, I was intrigued from the start when the author, Ronica Stromberg, contacted me about sending a review copy of this book. If you know anything about me and my sister, it’s that we grew up on mysteries, so a girl with a shadow for a neighbor, was definitely tantalizing. I was excited to get the book soon after in the mail, and actually read it a few weeks ago, but I’ve been busy, and backloaded by all the reviews I need to get done, not to mention getting ready for a new baby who could actually make an appearance any day now. Nothing like a fire under your seat to get you moving!

Kirsten is new to her country ‘neighborhood’ if you can call it that. Having just moved from the country I could identify with the struggles of living far from friends, and unable/unwilling to make enough long-distance trips frequently to be able to keep up the neighbor-next-door relationship that comes from living close to friends. In the search for a new friend, Kirsten hears about a mysterious girl at a nearby farmhouse. But, since she heard it originally from a four year old, no one wants to take her seriously. Poor kids, sometimes we adults are so busy wrapped up in the day-to-day tasks of living, we don’t take time to notice the unusual things around us.

A Shadow in the Dark deals well with issues common to teens such as divorce, prejudice, and moving. Kirsten and her new found summer-friend, Gail, also deal with another common teen issue: religion and God. Gail is a Christian and attempts multiple times to convert Kirsten. Ultimately, Kirsten makes her own decision about God and religion.

When I first finished this book, I have to say, I really enjoyed the plot and thought it was well designed. I was a little put off by some of the dialogue because I thought the language wasn’t what typical teenagers use, and might be unappealing to that crowd. Then, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment. I’d forgotten that the book is published by Royal Fireworks Press, a publisher that specifically targets the gifted and talented crowd. I quickly got on the phone with my sister, Cari, to check a few things out. For those of you who don’t know, Cari taught gifted and talented middle school students for several years. It didn’t take long to find out that, “Yes, GT students do converse differently from the rest of the world on a fairly frequent basis.”

Just yesterday, I heard a teenager give a speech. Her command of the English language was impressive to say the least. I’m pretty sure she might be a GT student. So, since I’ve obviously just admitted that I wasn’t part of the GT crowd in high school, I can’t say that I know how the target audience will respond to this book. However, I enjoyed the story and think that there are lots of teaching opportunities to use this book as part of a curriculum or just for pleasure reading. Now I’m really curious to see what some GT students or former GT students think about this story. Thanks, Ronica, for the opportunity to review your book. I look forward to reading the sequel, Living it Up to Live it Down.

2 Responses to “A Shadow in the Dark by Ronica Stromberg”

  1. Holly,

    You’re welcome for the book, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Now the truth comes out: I was a gifted and talented kid placed in classes with other gifted and talented kids in a large, public middle school and high school. This probably influences what I write as dialogue for teenagers. I’m in a couple of critique groups in which other writers have been suggesting vocabulary and wording more expected of “typical” teenagers, so my future writing outside this series may reflect that. I’m working on it. :) For this series, though, Royal Fireworks Press said the language is fine for the audience and they don’t “dumb down” vocabulary.

    I hope you do get the chance to read Living It Up to Live It Down. It’s a really funny book with a peek into the lives of some gifted kids, although I think it’d be accessible to any young teen.

    Thanks for reviewing A Shadow in the Dark! And best wishes with that new baby. :)

  2. Ronica- Thanks for stopping by. Boy am I glad to know that it’s a GT thing… My extent of that was just a few honors classes, but I don’t think that’s the same. Good luck with figuring out the ‘typical’ teenager speak. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>