- The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow by Emily Ilett
Ilett, Emily The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow. Kelpies/Floris, 2020 219p Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-78250-607-2 $9.95 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-78250-621-8 $4.99 R Gr. 4-6
On the morning of Gail's twelfth birthday, her shadow disappears, quickly followed by that of her depressed older sister, Kay. In a bid to exert some control over her world, which seems to be falling apart between Kay's depression and their father's desertion, Gail vows to bring her sister's shadow back. The journey takes her to the secret corners of their Scottish island, where Gail befriends an orphaned younger girl named Mhirran, an artistic fellow animal enthusiast named Femi, and Jake, a personified storm. She contends, too, with Mhirran's sinister older brother as they both, for their own reasons, seek out errant shadows. There's a pleasing lyricism to this Scottish import, its quietly lovely prose and magical realist elements supporting Gail's emotional journey as she rediscovers and honors the bond between sisters. The girls share a special love of the ocean and its creatures, lending a strong conservationist edge to the novel, and Gail helps Femi catch illegal pearl fishers (thereby exerting, if only in a small local way, a positive influence on the world). The characters' love and care for the precious natural world around them highlights the synergy between environmental and familial ecologies, making this a good choice for fans of Hawkins' Journey's End (BCCB 11/16).