March 19, 2018

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When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter | SLJ Review

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redstarPORTER, Sarah. When I Cast Your Shadow. 384p. Forge/Tor Teen. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765380562.

Gr 9 Up –Teen twins Ruby and Everett have very different feelings about their older brother’s overdose. Closer to Dashiell and often oblivious to his dramatics and manipulations, Ruby is devastated while awed by and jealous of Dash. Everett understands the strain their brother created within the family. Though Dash is dead, he won’t leave. Visiting Ruby in her nightly dreams, Dash wheedles her into consenting to ghostly possession. But unsatisfied, the ghost sets his sights on Everett as well. Dash says he’s back to tie up loose ends, but is he actually running from something? Flowery language and unusual descriptions pair a gritty, drug- and anxiety-filled reality with a bizarre dreamscape. The story is a cycle of unhappy emotions. Characters experience grief and loss while trying to navigate one warped situation after another, both in the real world and in the Land of the Dead. Dash, the connection among all the characters, is wildly unreliable, and this central trait drives the plot, shaping relationships among, and decisions made by, others both dead and alive. But despite the often unhealthy bonds among characters, Porter offers a poignant consideration of how far we will go for the people we love. Heartache, possession, strong language, sex, murder, and just a hint of incest, all with a supernatural twist—readers searching for something different will certainly find it here. VERDICT An excellent selection for libraries serving teens.–Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2017 issue.

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