Friday, March 28, 2014

Chasing Shadows

Avasthi, Swanti. 2013. CHASING SHADOWS. Ill. Craig Phillips. New York: Knopf. ISBN 9780375863424. [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

Holly, her brother, and her best friend are “freerunners” who use Chicago as their personal gym. When Holly's twin brother is murdered and she is severely injured by an unknown gunman, after her initial recovery, she begins to spiral into mental illness. Believing that she is the human incarnation of a graphic novel heroine the Leopardess, Holly wants to rescue her brother from the Shadowlands. Her friend and Corey's girlfriend Savitri, who also grieves Corey’s death, tries to save Holly and puts her own life in danger. The book is a powerful read that blends of alternating narrative text and graphic novel.

Beyond that, the novel is poignant picture of mental illness and the power—and lack of power—of friendship. The blending of the two formats—traditional novel format and graphic novel, with Phillips’ darkly detailed illustrations—adds to the intensity of the read.

This would be a good book to use with teens to discuss grief and/or mental illness. Use the book as a way to explore genre and format. Have artistic students take a chapter of a favorite books and add graphic novel type illustrations to the book or pair students to write a short story that is a blend of narrative and graphic format.

Rosen, Michael. THE SAD BOOK. ISBN 0763625973.
Wesselhoeft, Conrad. ADIOS NIRVANA. ISBN 9783551311221

Kuehn, Stephanie. CHARM AND STRANGE. ISBN 9781250021946
Walton, K.M. CRACKED. ISBN 978442429161

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