The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released: August 27, 2013
Summary: Olivia wants a new life—and it might take ghosts to get it. A heartfelt, gently Gothic novel from Claire Legrand.
Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.
Her mother’s left, her neglectful father—the maestro of a failing orchestra—has moved her and her grandmother into the city’s dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.
Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help—if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.
Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: Save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living…and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.
This was such a wonderful middle grade novel. I loved each character of this story! They are each written with depth and complexity.
What also made this book so great was the powerful friendships Olivia made along the way. Henry and Joan were the support that Olivia needed! With all she was going through, she was not eager to make friends, but as the story progressed she learned just how important they were to her.
The plot was wonderful!
The ghosts of the hall needed to remember and find their “anchors” to be able to move on. To do so, they needed Olivia’s help.
When she accepts the task with Henry and Joan, she also learns to accept people in her life again and cope with the absence of her mother.
With her father’s orchestra hall failing, the ghosts later help to keep the hall running.
Another important aspect of this book was the hall itself. It symbolized so much in this story. I found it symbolized Olivia’s growth as a person! When the hall slowly but surely made more revenue, Olivia herself became more open to others and was able to cope with events of her past.
I did take away a star because at times the book’s pacing was a little bit too slow for me. But, other than that I really loved this book!
Overall this was a great middle grade novel! This story has so much heart and is truly a captivating read!
If you are a fan of middle grade, enjoy fantasy/paranormal, and love stories with strong friendships and bonds, you would really enjoy this book 🙂