Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

Posted April 21, 2014 by Liza in Reviews / 6 Comments

Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

In the Shadows

by Jim Di Bartolo, Kiersten White
Published on April 29th, 2014
by Scholastic
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: ALAMW
Amazon | Goodreads

Also by this author: Illusions of Fate, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures. 

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch. 

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

4 Stars

I think the way to best describe In the Shadows is creepy-stastic.  This book is very different, both because of the combination of narrative and illustration, and for the way it was put together with a big span of years.

The text story component by author Kiersten White is perfection.  I found the story riveting, interesting, mysterious, but easy to understand.  There is an underlying feeling of confusion, but it’s the same feeling that the characters in the book experience.

The main characters are similar in the future they share and the circumstances that brought them together.  Cora and Minnie are sisters, very close in age and they live with their mother in boarding house in Maine.  It is here where they meet first Arthur, and later Charles and Thom.  The latter two are also siblings, send from New York by their father supposedly to help improve Charles health.  This group becomes very close and unite against a common enemy and in the search for answers.

The “bad guys” are a group of people that grant favors to others in exchange for certain sacrifices.  I really can’t say too much without giving the story away, let me just say that they are awful, persistent, scary, and evil.

Jim Di Bartolo is the artist, illustrator and author of a “parallel” story that doesn’t make a lot of sense until almost the ending.  When it did, I went back to look at them and to say “Oh, that’s what this is”.  It is brilliantly done and executed.  The illustrations (and accompanying story) are dark, moody, broody, and sometimes creepy and even a bit scar; as I said, brilliant. (**Check out some of the illustrations in the trailer below**)

The plot is outstanding. The ending is surprising and I’m glad that it was a happy one.  After everything that happened and everything that Arthur had to endure, he deserved it.  If I were in his shoes, I’m telling you right now that I would have given up in the first year *just keeping it real*

I really enjoyed the uniqueness that In the Shadows turned out to be.  It comes to show what two great minds can accomplish when they work together in the medium that they master best.  

Some quotes (from the ARC):

“By the time Cora and Thomas caught up to him, Arthur was already crouched in front of the door, working the lock. Thought they could not see it, he was angry, too, his swift, sure fingers shaking as they worked the lock. He could taste his rage; it was hard and metallic and no amount of swallowing rid him of it.”

“Charles sat next to Thom, on the banks of the stream hidden behind the town in a tall corpse of trees. It was a cold clear singing dream of a creek, and he did not miss New York a bit.  Cora and Minnie were here, they were his for the summer, and he took that gift very seriously.”

“It was just a kiss, Cora. Kisses are like candy. Everyone should be able to enjoy them. And no one should take them seriously.”


About Jim Di Bartolo

Jim Di Bartolo is a mixed media illustrator, a painter, and a visual storyteller. In his freelance career he has illustrated novels, comic books, and role-playing games. His upcoming collaborative novel with Kiersten White entitled IN THE SHADOWS will be released from Scholastic on April 29th, 2014. He and his wife, the author Laini Taylor, have also collaborated on several books, and their most recent joint-effort, Lips Touch: Three Times, was a National Book Award finalist. He lives in Portland, Oregon with Laini and their daughter and can be found online at Chances are, he should be getting more sleep.

About Kiersten White

Kiersten White is the NYT bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy and the Mind Games series, as well as several standalone novels. She has one tall husband and three small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. Visit her at


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6 responses to “Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

    • Liza

      The graphic piece just adds to the story, you can really read the whole piece in ‘text’ and then go back and read the graphic portion.

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