My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Keeper, published by Misty Mount in 2019, is the first book in her “Underground Defenders” series. I’ve read another book by Mount in the past, and I will be reading more in the future. I enjoy her slow-build, tension-filled climaxes and the depth of detail she goes into describing her characters and settings. With a focus more on the paranormal / other-worldly / ghostly genres, it’s not quite fantasy or science-fiction, but it’s definitely not total reality; I like that middle ground and would recommend this book for almost all reader types and ages, especially if you have a bit of an open mind.
At first, we get to know a young couple who have moved to the husband’s family’s home under interesting auspices. There are some financial and medical issues with the couple, but the husband’s grandmother has also taken ill. She raised her grandson (and his siblings) when their parents weren’t around. I say it that way purposely because all is not what it seems and I don’t want to spoil the book for you. That said, when the couple and their young daughter arrive, something is obviously amiss. Not only do we learn the wife has had a bit of a breakdown, we see her very ‘clingy’ focus on her daughter–fearful when others hold the infant, unable to leave the room without her, et al. Are there legitimate reasons, or has her breakdown not been fully uncovered and healed? Mount handles these questions well because I often couldn’t be sure where the exact problem stemmed from in the couple’s relationship. At times, it was his fault, yet at others, it was clearly hers. Excellent way to keep readers attuned to the story but excited to find out the conclusion.
As the tale unfolds, we meet the mystery guest that the grandmother says has been helping her recover before her grandson returned. Even the live-in staff and visiting nurse are aware of this supposed other person. Is she real or a ghost? Just when you get to know her, the main story completely pauses and switches to the past where we learn about a nearby neighbor who also seems to know the same house guest. We learn all the history leading up to the current time, including some connections with the young couple’s grandmother and extended family. Some shocking stuff regarding healing and medicinal treatments swing to the forefront, but very powerful relationships unfold at the same time. Mount is great at taking readers into a moment of eerie and confusing situations, letting us decide for ourselves what’s real and what’s imaginary. Great stuff!
For me, this is a non-typical read, but it’s very easy to digest and connect with, so I find myself quite intrigued to learn more about the hospital, the house guest, and the missing and yet-to-be-revealed parts of this larger plot. What I can say without any spoilers… the book ends with a resolution to the main story. We know what’s going on with the grandmother and young couple. We understand who the house guest is and what’s truly going on in her own world. But… we get a sort of open-ended cliffhanger about what will happen next. Just because you know the answer to your question doesn’t mean you know how it’ll turn out… that’s the way to end a story and make your reader wait for the next one. This reader is looking forward to book two… and I hope we get it before year-end.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
Today you’re in for an extra treat as not only do I have a book review, but I’m part of a fantastic blog tour to support this wonderful writer. To top it off, Misty Mount is also today’s featured Author Alert! To see the companion post to this one, check out her Author Alert or continue below to learn more about the various stops on the blog tour and read my 5-star review of The Shadow Girl.
*** BOOK REVIEW ***
Why This Book
The concept of a shadow has always been a fascinating subject, and when I saw it in the title of a book, I wanted to learn more. I chatted with the author on Goodreads a few times about her life as a writer, quickly finding myself even more intrigued. I got a copy of the book and then saw she was having a blog tour – by the virtue of luck, I got myself included as part of the team (which I’m incredibly grateful for) and dove head first into reading the book. And I’m so glad I did… what a strong and solid young adult, mystery, and coming-of-age novel to spend a few days with!
Approach & Style
I read this ~300-page novel in early January via Kindle Reader on my iPad. It contains twenty-eight chapters and took about six hours to read over three days. The story is told with a first-person point-of-view and a perspective focusing on the main character, Zylia, a 13-year-old girl who feels like no one can see her. There’s a fine line in the story that will make you wonder if there are any magical elements going on in the background, but it truly makes for a breathtaking transformation as you live through everything Zylia experiences.
The story is simple, but it is captivating. It’s a psychological character study, and Mount has done a tremendously wonderful job to keep us interested with only small, simple, and ordinary events happening to her family. Kudos for making something truly introspective feel so warm and other worldly as the same time.
Mount completely captured the life of a 13-year-old girl (not that I would truly know what that is, but that it’s definitely what I imagined it to be). Readers see everything from her point of view in a way that makes you feel like part of the action. Whenever I wanted to be angry with Zylia’s siblings or parents, they do something to re-balance the equation, so I adore them again. The family dynamics in this book are extraordinary.
The tone is perfectly set. It is somewhat ominous, but not in a dark way. It’s written with a light touch that makes you keep thinking… what’s gonna happen here? I need to know, and I hope she’s gonna be okay. Don’t hurt my Zylia! Since this is spoiler-free, I will not tell you what happens… you have to go read it for yourself. Just trust me!
One of the strongest areas is Mount’s use of language, narrative, and dialogue to tell the story. The words she’s chosen make you think deeply. The book gives you an understanding of the questions we all ask ourselves at different ages, and what we choose to see or not see when we interpret other people’s actions.
I definitely see Zylia as becoming a beloved character by readers: 95% adored and maybe 5% frustrated when she slinks too far into the “no one sees me” depths which is completely the way a young teenager would feel — it’s absolutely necessary to draw the emotions out us, so it belonged. Zylia reminds me a lot of Leisl from The Book Thief! All the different things she encounters really show a day in the life of a young girl learning how to find her voice, which will absolutely pull readers in, and allow them to compare situations to their own lives or worry whether they’ve done the same things to others… exactly what a great book is supposed to do!
This is a book you want to take a chance on, especially if you’re a young adult reader or love when books take you on a psychological journey.
Genre: YA/ Fantasy/ Coming of Age
Publication Date: December 28, 2017
Blackness. Nothingness. It was in the shape of a giant, hazy shadow, enveloping me, swallowing me, and digesting me into the unknown. It was my biggest fear and my ultimate fate.
Shy, thirteen-year-old Zylia has always known she was different. Most teenagers feel unnoticed and unseen, but for Zylia, it’s something much worse. She’s disappearing from this world and doesn’t know how to stop it. At times, she’s not sure she wants to. Until she stumbles across a family mystery surrounding the disappearance of her great-aunt Angelica years earlier. During her quest to unravel the mystery, Zylia discovers she’s able to cross the boundary and enter the “in between” world. Now, it’s up to Zylia to save herself before she’s trapped “in between” forever.
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How about reading a brief excerpt to get you even more interested?
I did my best to fight and claw my way back to the life I once knew, but panic had taken over and colors were swirling and fading all around me. It was all turning into a great cloud of blackness, just like the one I had seen in my dream. The looming cloud of nothingness I had feared for so long was finally grabbing me, wiping my world dark and blank.
The darkness was thick and intense, an inky void that stretched to eternity in every direction. Eventually my panic burnt itself out and I simply stayed there in the dark, feeling as if someone had drained my adrenal glands. I was no longer responding to the dark with fear, but acceptance. In fact, curiosity was beginning to take over.
The longer I let myself stare into it, the less dark it appeared. After some time, I realized that it was all different shades of murky black and foggy gray overlapping and undulating, just out of focus. I blinked mentally and suddenly she was there, standing above me with concern etched in sooty-colored lines on her monochromatic face.”
About the Author
Misty Mount has written since age five and was first published at fourteen. By day she’s a caregiver, wife, and mother to a young son but during the quiet hours of night she becomes a novelist. She resides in Wichita, Kansas.
If you want to take a chance on winning a copy, there’s an amazing giveaway where 1 print* and 2 digital copies of The Shadow Girl by Misty Mount are available:
*Print copy is available to North American residents only.
This amazing Blog Tour was organized by:
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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