May 28, 2017

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The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn | SLJ Review

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ShadowHAHN, Rebecca. The Shadow Behind the Stars. 256p. S. & S. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481435710.

Gr 7 Up–Chloe is the youngest of the three sisters who spin the world. Her fingers choose the wool, spin the thread, and begin each life. Motherly Serena guides the thread and marks the end. Xinot, the oldest, slices each thread with a snap of her shears. When a girl appears at their door asking to understand her disastrous fate, the sisters have nothing to say. Serena casts a spell meant to ease the girl’s pain before sending her away. Instead, the spell begins a series of events that will bring about the end of the world. This sophomore novel from Hahn takes readers on a strange and wondrous course through questions of fate and free will as the narrator and her sisters embark on a journey with the potential to change the very foundation of existence. Written in second person as Chloe tells her story to us mere mortals, this evocative and descriptive novel is timeless beyond the assumed ancient Greek setting. A unique voice and mythology-tinged writing give this quiet book some punch and offer a few surprising revelations for the three sisters. Hahn expertly tackles the power of belief and choice in this thoughtful and introspective work. Strong characters and intricate prose help to mitigate a plot that is often slow and narrowly focused with insights about the human condition that may seem obvious to older readers. VERDICT This unique and often literary yarn will appeal to those interested in mythology, fate, and philosophy.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s July 2015 issue.

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