When I Cast Your Shadow
Author: Sarah Porter
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: A teenage girl calls her beloved older brother back from the grave with disastrous consequences.
Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead….
After her troubled older brother, Dashiell, dies of an overdose, sixteen-year-old Ruby is overcome by grief and longing. What she doesn’t know is that Dashiell’s ghost is using her nightly dreams of him as a way to possess her body and to persuade her twin brother, Everett, to submit to possession as well.
Dashiell tells Everett that he’s returned from the Land of the Dead to tie up loose ends, but he’s actually on the run from forces crueler and more powerful than anything the Bohnacker twins have ever imagined….
“Tragic and engrossing, filled with nightmarish dreamscapes and menacing villains, it also treads the tender terrain of family, and the strange and sometimes dysfunctional ties between siblings. Highly recommended!” ―Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns
“You’ll never think of your nightmares the same way again. Darkly seductive. Sarah Porter’s writing glitters and her storytelling stuns in this twisted tale of siblings, love, and death.” ―Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
“Porter offers a poignant consideration of how far we will go for the people we love.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“A wildly innovative, whip-smart, and utterly spellbinding testament to family, memory, and love―and the messes and miracles of each―poised to possess legions of readers.” ―Booklist, starred review
“A haunting tale of possession that explores the ghostly landscape of dreams and nightmares―but more importantly, the particular dynamics among siblings, both oppressive and redemptive.” ―Kirkus Reviews
Last year Sarah Porter’s novel, Vassa in the Night was released, and everyone was talking about. I hadn’t gotten the chance to read it, but I knew that when I read the synopsis for When I Cast Your Shadow, it was going to be a book that I really, really loved. It sounded like so much fun and so unique that I had a huge feeling that it was going to land on my list of books that I’ll want to reread right after finishing, and I definitely did want to!
I love that the whole story is wrapped up in a darkly spun tale that has plenty of interesting and supernatural aspects going on – I find these kinds of dark tales to be some of my favorites, especially when they are written with twists, turns, and the kind of writing that draws you in and really makes you appreciate a book. In a way, this book kind of reminds me of a much darker What Dreams May Come kind of story, and it’s incredibly unique in terms of being like nothing else I’ve read.
The relationship between Dashiell and Ruby is sweet, and you can really tell that Ruby loves her brother. I love books with highly involved families and the main characters, because I think that in young adult literature, they are so far and few in between, and can be so important. In the case of When I Cast Your Shadow, the whole family dynamic is pretty much the basis for the story, so it is essential here.
This book does deal with the heavy issue of drug overdose. When this is involved in any book, especially YA, you can’t really expect the overall tone of the novel to be light and fluffy, so please don’t go into When I Cast Your Shadow expecting that. It’s hard to read at times because it’s emotional, but it’s super important and it really leaves its mark on the reader long after they’ve finished reading.
Love and family are two of the main ideas of this book, and the entire story is rooted in both of these. If you like darkly atmospheric books that have these two key elements as a part of the story, then the chances of you really enjoying When I Cast Your Shadow are high – there is a lot going on, and the story itself is perfectly paced. I didn’t experience an ounce of boredom while reading, and I also didn’t feel that it was moving along too fast, either.
The characters are easy to connect to – I loved Ruby’s character and the deep love that she had for her brother. The whole family connection thing in this book is beautiful, even though the moments when drugs and other issues come into play that turn things a bit darker.
After reading this book, there is no doubt that I’m going to go back and read Vassa in the Night, because I’ve heard amazing things about it and I really want to read more from this author. Her writing and characters in this book are simply spellbinding and I couldn’t get enough. I definitely recommend this one!
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review – Thank you!
SARAH PORTER is the author of the Lost Voices Trilogy (Lost Voices, Waking Storms, The Twice Lost) in addition to Vassa in the Night—all for the teen audience. For over ten years she has taught creative writing workshops in New York City public schools to students in grades K-10. Porter also works as a VJ, both solo and with the art collective Fort/Da; she has played venues including Roseland, Galapagos, Tonic, Joe’s Pub, The Hammerstein Ballroom, The Nokia Theater, and the Burning Man festival. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats.
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