Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

I've been dying to read this book for so long. First, because I adore Claire so much. She's just amazing. Second, because her other middle grade book, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, is my most favorite middle grade book. She just writes so perfect. At first I got declined two times. But then today I got accepted for it after all, on Edelweiss. It gave me the happiest feeling. I had to start it right away. And once I started reading The Year of Shadows I could not stop until I had finished it.

And it was even better than I had thought it would be. The Year of the Shadows is a perfect book. It is written so well. Claire just have this way with words. So beautiful and amazing. And oh. The characters. I fell in love with every one of them. The story is just so amazing as well. Everything about this book is perfect. It is an amazing middle grade book, but also a whole lot better than other books I have read. It's full of feelings. Heartbreak. Love. Friendship. It has it all. It made me cry.

Since I loved Claire's first book so much, I knew I would love this one as well. I was worried that I wouldn't love it as much as I loved Cavendish. I shouldn't have worried though. Because I loved it just as much. Maybe even a tiny bit more. Maybe. But I do love them both so much, and they have a special place in my heart. One of the things I love about her books are the amazing book covers. Like this one. It is perfect. Really, truly perfect. The cat is gorgeous. And a bit evil looking. He's amazing. And Olivia looks beautiful! Sigh. So perfect. And the four ghosts. Everything has a big part in the book. The sketch book. The background. This cover is beyond gorgeous.

I don't know how to describe my feelings for this book. I really don't. I just know that I am full of love. And a bit of heartbreak. But so full of love and amazement. I couldn't have loved this book any less. The story is just so amazing. And it made me cry from the first few pages. It is heartbreaking and sad at times, but it is also full of wonder and beautiful friendships. Maybe even a small romance. The Year of Shadows is just every kind of perfect. And I will try my best to talk about the amazing characters :)

This book is about Olivia. An amazing twelve year old girl. She lives with her dad, the Maestro, and her grandma, Nonnie. Her mother left them over a year ago. Olivia is still heartbroken because of it. And it changed so many things in her life. She has no friends anymore. She sketches all the time. I loved that, though. But they are also kind of poor. Her dad is a musician; a Maestro. They don't have enough money to keep their house, so they have to move to his work, the close to falling down concert hall.

Olivia hates it there. And I don't blame her. It's pretty awful and sad and just heartbreaking. It doesn't look nice there, either. And it's dirty. It isn't a home. She also hates her dad, and she only calls him the Maestro. I don't blame her for hating her father. I would have too. But it is sad, because he is just as heartbroken, I think. But at least she have her Nonnie, and I adored her :) Didn't truly like her dad much, didn't feel like he cared enough. But I also couldn't truly hate him, because I think he was hurting a lot.

I loved reading about Olivia. Because she is awesome. She's cute and funny and sweet. Well, okay, she might seem a bit mean at first. But she's just trying to protect herself. And I adored her so much. I loved reading about her life at the concert hall. The things she did and saw. Like when she found that amazing black cat, Igor. He becomes her best friend. And oh. I just loved reading about him. Sweetest cat. I loved how he and Olivia where kind of talking to each other :) It was sweet, weird and perfect.

While Olivia is my favorite character in this book, the close second that I love just as much is Henry. He is just perfect. At first I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hate him or not, because Olivia seemed to hate him, calling him Mr. Perfect and everything. But she doesn't really hate him. And I loved that. We get to know Henry so well in this book. He is there for Olivia. And I loved him so much. There is also a tiny bit of romance between them! Love. Makes me wish for a sequel with them, years later. <3 Hih. I really do.

We also get to see Olivia going to school. Where she meets this girl called Joan. I adored her. I think they get to be amazing friends. A bit slow start, though, but they have a real friendship. And Joan sticks up for her, when people are bothering Olivia. And I just adored her for it. Olivia do have a few school problems, but that is because of the ghosts and such, since she hasn't been sleeping enough. It was a bit sad to read about, but I did love it, because it is real and honest and I just loved everything. Sigh.

I really should talk a bit about the ghosts now, shouldn't I? ;) The Year of Shadows is a book about ghosts. And it is so amazing. We get to learn so much. And read a whole lot about ghosts and shadows and shades. As you can read in the summary, Olivia meets four ghosts at the concert hall. She meets them with Henry for the first time, which I loved. And the ghosts need their help. Because they are sort of trapped. And I won't say more than that :D Because it is so much to know, and it's amazing.

We get to know a lot of the ghosts. The four main ones are Frederick and Mr. Worthington and Tillie and Jax. They are all amazing. And we get to know their stories, how they died. And it is so awful and heartbreaking and perfect and I just couldn't help but cry. I loved reading their stories. It was all so perfect. Thank you, Claire, for creating this perfect book. I loved everything about it. And I cannot wait to read it again. <3 It's a bit of fantasy, and I loved that. It's haunting. And all kinds of perfect.

The ending of this book is bittersweet. I loved it. It is sad and happy and just all kinds of perfect. I would love a sequel, but there doesn't have to be. This book is perfect on it's own. And I think you all need to read it. If you have Edelweiss, go request it right away! If you don't, then you need to buy it when it comes out in August. It will be worth the wait. The Year of Shadows is a perfect middle grade book, and I think everyone will love it. Because I loved it really, really much. And it's just perfect.

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, and to Edelweiss for the chance to read and review this book early. <3 Pretty sure I will read it again before it publishes in late August :) And then I will buy two hardcovers. <3 Really want the print arc as well, though :)


  1. I'm happy that you got the chance to read it in the end! :D It does sound like a good book. I think I will like Olivia.


  2. This sounds great, I love MG books. And I absolutely love the cover! :)

  3. I am so happy for you that you got to read this one! I love MG books and have been wanting to read the first one in the series since I first saw it. This one sounds fabulous, too! Great cover. :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. <3 thank you sweetie :) But, uhm, it isn't a series :) It is two very different books ;p They are both amazing, though.

  4. Yay! I'm glad you got accepted to read this one after all. :) This is why I hate that NG only lets you request once now. Sometimes requesting again (e.g after updating profile info etc) can do the trick!

    Anyway! I'm really glad you enjoyed this. :) Olivia and Henry sound like fantastic characters, and I'm happy to hear that there is a little romance in this. Also, a cat named Igor?! What a brilliant name. ;)

    Fantastic review, Carina! It's great that you ended up loving this one as much as Cavendish.

  5. This looks sooo good!! i'm adding it to my never ending to read list!


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