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Chasing Shadows (Junior Library Guild Selection)by Swati Avasthi
Synopses & Reviews
Corey, Holly, and Savitri are freerunners. They climb buildings, leap between rooftops, and throw moves that would make superheroes jealous. They are fast and strong and invulnerable.
Then a random act of violence shatters their world. A gunman shoots at their car, leaving Corey dead, Holly in a coma, and Savitri the sole witness to the crime.
Savitri just wants Holly to live. To come back to her so they can grieve for Corey together. But when Holly wakes, she's not interested in mourning. She wants to track down Corey's killer. She wants Corey back. And she thinks she knows how to get him.
In this intense and gripping novel, Swati Avasthi is looking at the impact of violence on our lives, and also at the boundaries and elasticity of friendship—how far will we walk with a friend, even when we know they are going down a bad road. She tells the story from two points of view. Savitri—a girl struggling to understand why her friend keeps pushing her away. And Holly—a girl so overcome by the loss of her twin that she invents an alternate reality where she has superheroic powers and can rescue her brother from a shadowy land of the dead.
As Holly slips into madness, her story is told in comic-book panels that show the world as she sees it. It's a brilliant way to let the format reflect the character's state of mind, and marks this book as something special and new.
"Avasthi (Split) delivers a superb novel about grief, friendship, and mental illness, mixing in graphic-novel elements and themes from Hindu mythology. When Holly's twin brother, Corey, is murdered after a free-running session, Holly and her best friend Savitri (Corey's girlfriend) are shattered. Savitri reconsiders her plans to leave Chicago to attend Princeton, while Holly, who was also wounded in the attack, has visions of a snake god named Kortha holding her brother hostage in the afterlife. The investigation into the murders is also wreaking havoc on Holly's parents (especially her police officer father), and a subplot about the friendship between Savitri and Holly's ex Josh adds depth to the story. Holly's visions, as well as some real-world action, are told in striking illustrated sequences from Phillips, reflecting Holly's diehard love of comics and her increasingly uncertain grip on reality. More significantly, Avasthi avoids any pretense of easy, happy answers or shortcuts, offering a painful and realistic vision of the aftershocks of a horrific moment of violence. Ages 14 — up. Author's agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. Illustrator's agent: Shannon Associates. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A superb novel about grief, friendship, and mental illness, mixing in graphic-novel elements and themes from Hindu mythology.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
Corey, Holly, and Savitri are closer than family until a random act of violence shatters their world. A gunman shoots at their car, leaving Corey dead, Holly in a coma, and Savitri the sole witness to the crime.
When Holly wakes up, she is changed—determined to hunt down Corey’s killer, whatever the cost. Savitri fears that Holly is running wild, losing her grip on reality. Friends should stand by each other in times of crisis. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?
Swati Avasthi delivers a riveting novel that will appeal to fans of Laini Taylor and Laurie Halse Anderson.
“Haunting, mesmerizing and intense.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“[A] visceral story of love, grief, and madness that is both action-packed and psychologically acute.” —The Horn Book
About the Author
SWATI AVASTHI received her MFA from the University of Minnesota. When she isn't writing, she works as a creative writing instructor.
CRAIG PHILIPS is a successful comics artist, cartoonist and illustrator. He lives in New Zealand.
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