Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa, 224 pp, RL 4
Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa is a marvelous ghost story about loss, memories, anger and life in the small town of Lancaster where Greg Shepard was born without a shadow.
Being born without a shadow is strange but it doesn't make Greg too much of an outsider in the quirky town of Lancaster. In fact, Mayor Anders has just acquired the World's Largest Hairball, which was preceded by the World's Largest Ketchup Bottle, the World's Largest Wardrobe and the World's Largest Paperclip. Lancaster is also home to Miss Star, a feisty old psychic who looks bit like she stepped out of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, and the mayor's son, Jake Anders, a handsome jock who is also, according to Greg, is a "professional buffoon and arrogant jerk extraordinaire." Greg is already sullen and angry at the world after his mother, the former mayor, died three years ago and his father has found a new love. When Greg's best friend, Layla, starts dating Jake, Greg can't contain his disdain.
While visiting a supposedly haunted house on the outskirts of town, Greg realizes that he can see Eleanor, the ghost of a girl his age, who is haunting the house. As Greg secretly spends time with Eleanor, enjoying her company and learning about her life, his shadow emerges, proving to be Greg's alter-ego with a taste for destruction. When he can't avoid the havoc his shadow is wreaking any longer, Greg turns to Miss Star for help understanding what it means to be separated from his shadow and how to ultimately defeat it. Cast No Shadow ends with a phenomenal house party at the old Turner mansion that includes the first (successful) psychic-sing-along with Miss Star. A one-year-later epilogue gives readers excellent closure on the state of Lancaster, the Turner mansion, Greg and his friends and family. The world building and logic of Cast No Shadow is occasionally shaky, but the characters and quirks and compelling story make that easy to overlook.
Source: Review Copy