Book Thirty-One of 2013: THE YEAR OF SHADOWS by Claire Legrand

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Olivia Stellatella is having a rough year.
Her mother left, her neglectful father — the maestro of a failing orchestra — has moved her and her grandmother into his dark, broken-down concert hall to save money, and her only friend is Igor, an ornery stray cat.
Just when she thinks life couldn’t get any weirder, she meets four ghosts who haunt the hall. They need Olivia’s help — if the hall is torn down, they’ll be stuck as ghosts forever, never able to move on.
Olivia has to do the impossible for her shadowy new friends: Save the concert hall. But helping the dead has powerful consequences for the living . . . and soon it’s not just the concert hall that needs saving.

I received this First Reads Goodreads Giveaway book for an honest review.

This book is amazing. It’s a book that I think my little sister, now in the 7th grade and hates reading, would be stuck inside. Olivia is a strong character in the midst of great adversity. I was a dark little thing myself when I was her age so I could really relate to her. Despite being on the brink of poverty, having no real friends, and living in a single parent household, Olivia does her best to make her life better. She doesn’t expect any help and when it comes, she’s surprised that someone would want to help her.

The worlds Legrand constructs is beautiful and haunting. I felt like I was sitting with Olivia watching the orchestra mess up and trying to stop the shades alongside her. I rooted for her and couldn’t put the book down because I wanted so much happiness to go her way.

It does, but it’s still a bit bitter. That’s one thing I love about this book. It shows a child trying her best to keep her life as good as it could be. Even if the ending isn’t as wonderful as rainbows and bunnies, it is an amazing ending. A hopeful ending.

When I was Olivia’s age, so many bad things were happening in my life. Though I didn’t lose my home, I almost lost a brother. My mother was constantly working, my stepfather was a mean man, and I was made fun of at school. Instead of drawing dark things, I was writing dark things.

Like Olivia, I was able to make the best of it, but I think if I had this book back then I would be able to see that other children had the same ordeals. I would have been able to know that I wasn’t alone. And even if the author was an adult, Olivia’s pain and reactions to it are so real I’d have no doubt that the author would understand me. And being a little writer, I would have cherished that the most.

This book should be read by every person. It isn’t an age oriented book, but it is geared for the little boy or girl who fight to make their lives better. If you’re debating on getting this for someone like that, don’t worry. This book is perfectly reading and it isn’t overly painful. There’s more good than sadness in this book, though sadness is in it.

I honestly love this book and I’m glad I entered and won the giveaway. It is beautiful.

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