Seventeen-year-old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them.
Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.
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This book had some of the most realistic YA fantasy characters that I have ever read. I am used to YA characters either acting a lot younger or a lot older than their age because of adult authors writing them. Crabtree gets the seventeen-year-old lifestyle just right! Once I started relating to the characters on a deeper level, I knew I would love this book. And love it I did.
Iris had been seeing shadows for years, but she wasn’t some sort of instant hero. She wasn’t trying to take on the shadows by herself, she just wanted to be able to make them go away again. Nevertheless, she kept trying to live her life. She had a crush and started dating Josh, and she went on group dates with her friends. The shadows kept trying to bother her and her family, and Iris slowly starts to see everything around her crumble. Either Iris is going to have to start fighting back, or the shadows will win.
I hate to keep using the same word, but I have to say that Iris’ relationship with her boyfriend Josh was so relatable! She was with him and she liked him, but sometimes he would just go too far. She never wanted to speak up for herself, but something would always happen to allow her to get out of the uncomfortable situation. Now I’m not saying that all teenage boys are like this, but like every single girl I know who has had a boyfriend has one of these “uncomfortable but just waiting it out until I can leave” stories to tell. Heck, even I have a few! It just seems like a teen girl’s relationship rite of passage. Of course, if she said something, Josh would always back off. But he would get upset about having to back off at the moment, and only apologize later. My gosh, if only all YA boyfriends were written like this. It would definitely tell girls that no, all boys aren’t the perfect beach boys who can never do any wrong like most YA guys. Josh was a generally good guy, but he could get pushy, and Iris just didn’t know how to deal with that. I could go on and on about those few scenes, but they just stuck with me. I hope that this relatable-ness continues in whatever relationships Iris is in in the future novels.
Iris family situation was different but in a good way. One of her sisters was older and was struggling to have children with her husband. Iris thought that the shadows must have been messing with her. Her other sister lives with Iris and her mother and tries to keep things light in the house when Iris or her mother is depressed. And her mother was divorced, finally trying to look for love again. Definitely a modern family situation, but it was more realistic for a girl born in the 2000s. I liked seeing Iris and her sisters make a family with her mom whether or not a new boyfriend was in the picture. They each had their own demons to fight, demons that had truly come out after Iris’ fourteenth birthday, and they leaned on each other to fight them.
The only thing that I didn’t quite like in this book was the assault scene. I thought that it was kinda strange how it played out. I didn’t know exactly what the person did to Iris, and it was never quite explained. Iris just forgave this person, and I think that she forgave the person too quickly. But things were explained at the end of the novel, so maybe they will be revisited and explained in the second book of the series. I’m not saying that Iris shouldn’t have forgiven this person, but I still don’t know why the person tried to attack her. We will see in the next few books!
Overall, this was an amazing read. I can’t even mention everything that I loved about it because it contains too many spoilers, but I will definitely revisit some more things in my review of book 2. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an actually relatable and realistic YA fantasy read.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars