Published on August 15th, 2014 | by Bradley Myles1
In the Shadows
In the Shadows is a story unlike any you’ve seen before, a collaborative graphic novel by author Kiersten White and illustrator Jim di Bartolo it is a story in two parts: one storyline is told in text chapters by White while the other is illustrated in a series of images by di Bartolo.
White’s chapters tell the story of five children in Maine in the early 20th century. Sisters Cora and Minnie are helping their mother run a boardinghouse for the summer when two brothers, Thomas and Charles, are sent from England to stay from the summer. As the two sets of siblings get to know one another and their mysterious fellow boarder Arthur, they come into conflict with dark forces and dangerous people that threaten them and the world around them.
As White’s story unfolds, Bartolo’s wordless illustrations show a scarred young man on a chase that spans decades and continents. He’s chasing a boy in a cage—but more importantly, he’s chasing the boy’s captors.
Bartolo’s illustrations are powerful enough to keep the story moving forward until the link between the two stories is made clear. White and Bartolo only slowly reveal the link between the two stories, but the reveal is ultimately worth the wait. In the end, In the Shadows is a well-crafted adventure.
Why You’ll Love It
White’s chapters are short and punchy, to keep the story moving forward while it switches back and forth between story lines and forms. Bartolo (husband of YA novelist Laini Taylor) creates a compelling narrative without writing a word of narration or dialogue.
Choice Quote: “Cora slowly turned her head. She’d come level with the second story of the house, where a single round window looked out like a dark eye. The witch was standing behind it, staring right at her. Before she realized she was falling, everything went black.”
More Books by Kiersten White:
More Books by Jim di Bartolo:
In the Shadows is published by Scholastic Canada.