Book Reviews, Mystery Element, Paranormal

A little girl + A ghost + A HS graduate / An Island * A rich power family = Shadow Girl

I really loved the sound of this contemporary ghost story… My initial comment @ 6% said it could be one of my favorite books of the year… BUT was it…?! Come see…


Shadow Girl

by Liana Liu
Published December 19th 2017
by HarperTeen

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Mei is an academic tutor saving for college. She takes the job helping Ella as she gets to meet her father, Mr. Morison a powerful man in the financial industry and as a bonus she gets to spend the summer out at their vacation home on Arrow Island. But things are not as easy going as they appear. She is annoyed by Henry, her charge’s brother, she is taken advantage of by Nessa, her boss and then there are the unexplained noises she hears at night—the howling and thumping and cries.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My opinion Splat Logo

This book could have been one of my favorite books of the year…

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What I liked!

-MEI! I really liked the main character and how she put a lot of effort into getting out of her poor situation and how she worked out how to work with these rich women and the kids she helps. This could be any kid in America today trying to find their way out of poverty.

-The Chinese heritage. Mei is American but her mom is wholly Chinese and talks to her daughter in her native language. I loved this part of their mother/daughter relationship BUT I wish that more was incorporated having to do with her heritage!

-The contrast of rich family to poor circumstances was startlingly brutal. It really made you sympathize with Mei and see why she wants to make it big time in the financial sector. The

-The ghost! This was a great idea even though it was rather easy for Mei to learn all about who the ghost was… actually Ella and Henry both knew more than her and it was super easy for them to get the information. I still enjoyed her struggle to believe the ghost existed and to give credence to what the ghost said was going to happen…

-The mystery of her boss’s husband was obvious but i enjoyed the pressures it put on Mei… The story could have been terribly boring but what she wanted warred with what she thought she should do and I enjoyed that!

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Why it wasn’t my favorite book of the year…

This book was meant to be a fusion genre. Fusion is one of my ALL TIME favorite genres… I like to mix it up and keep the story different with elements from other genres. The author did a good job working other genres into the story… the problem is the pay off for each genre MUST BE PRESENT! And that is unfortunately lacking in this book. The ending was fine for Mei but all the other elements were left hanging…

Also the romance had little to do with anything and smacked of instalove. I didn’t hate it but it just felt out of place and shoe-horned in. Then to have that limp ending on it.

I wish the cover and title better reflected a graduate’s muddled journey and how helping Ella let go of the ghost helped her too…

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As a Reader…

I didn’t hate this book… it was a great read as far as a REAL high school graduate who is quite uncertain what to do next. She doesn’t quite trust the adults in her life to lead her to the right decision. The fusion fell flat but the journey wasn’t totally lost. There is an ending to everything and Mei is well on her way to any future she imagines for herself!

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You May Enjoy This if you go Gaga over Banner

Contemporary! Ghosts! Diversity! Paranormal! Rich vs. Poor! HS going into college!

My thoughts as a writer Typewriter Pink Purple Logo

Each one of these aspects of the fusion genre had its own ending but they were all limp… Only one had a proper strong ending and while I liked her choice on that one I wanted more to do with the mystery! With a little more development and some stronger plot I felt like the premise could have been realizes better.

-Mystery: From who the ghost is and why she wanted revenge on the Morison family.
-Thriller: What does the ghost have to do with her charge, Ella? Why is she pestering the girl and now Mei?
-Contemporary: Mei has to decide what she is going to do with her knowledge about Mr. Morison… will she take the internship?
-Coming of Age: Mei must decide which school she will be attending… her first choice or one for her mother?!
-Romance: Will she or won’t she fall for Henry Morison?


⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Relationships
⋆ ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐ Feelings

Star Rating wordsRating Star 6Rating Star 17Rating Star 9

Bottom Line words

Not quite the thrilling ghost story advertised but a lovely HS graduate muddling along…

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Do you enjoy modern ghost stories?

Are you a fan of fusion genres?

Do you want more books about girls after HS?

Thanks for reading XOXO

Dani Signature


10 thoughts on “A little girl + A ghost + A HS graduate / An Island * A rich power family = Shadow Girl”

  1. Gotta say, you completely gripped me at the start of this review!! It makes a lot of sense that this didn’t end up being your favourite book of the year though- cos yes, there has to be a payoff for each genre in a mashup and of course the instalove is offputting. It sounds quite good, it’s just a shame it wasn’t as well developed as it could have been. Great review!!

  2. Great review, Dani! I’m sorry to hear this one didn’t quite met your expectations, it seemed to have so many potential, with this mix of genres, I have to say that you made me quite curious about this book overall 🙂 I’ll have to think about reading it someday or at least adding it to my TBR 🙂

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