Yes, yes—I already mentioned that Jacqueline West’s THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE: THE SHADOWS garnered a second starred review in this post yesterday, but I then realized there were a few other pieces of ELSEWHERE news I wanted to share. One thing led to another and before I knew it, there was too much information to shoehorn into the previous post. So here we are, with a second post chock full of great Jacqueline West-related info!
First—and well worth repeating—is how thrilled all of us were to see THE SHADOWS hit the New York Times Bestseller list. We then received more great news when we learned the fine folks at Penguin were interested in extending the series. Now there will be three additional installments after next summer’s SPELLBOUND, the second in the series, bringing the total number of books in the series to five. Five times the books for five times the goodness!
But wait, there’s more!
In relatively minor but still very cool news, there’s the completely super dope website for THE SHADOWS, where you can solve puzzles, hear an audio excerpt, and wander around the scary McMartin household. And with the music, it’s seriously a little creepy. Not pee-your-paints creepy, but definitely make-sure-there’s-a-light-on creepy. Check it out!
And for all of you Germans out there wondering to yourself, “When can I enjoy the wonder that is THE SHADOWS?” or, perhaps more accurately, “Wo ist das pie ich am Dienstag verloren?” fear not! The long wait for the arrival of OLIVE UND DAS HAUS DER SCHATTEN is finally over! Check out the crazy old-school-yet-weirdly-awesome cover you guys have! One day I’ll post the covers from all the different countries that will be enjoying Olive’s adventures so we can compare and contrast, but for now, Genießen Sie diesen Hut von Würsten, dass ich für dich gemacht hat!
Finally, below you can read the complete second starred review for THE SHADOWS from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. They wrote:
The atmospheric old house is a new home for eleven-year-old Olive, and though she finds it fascinating, with its colorful contents that include a collection of arresting paintings, she also finds it creepy. Her instincts prove to be accurate: the vivid paintings are actually portals into other realms, accessible to her if she’s wearing the spectacles found in the house. Advised, albeit cryptically, by Horatio, a talking cat secretly still resident in the house, Olive dabbles in exploration of those realms, but she also unwittingly comes ever closer to enabling the evil trapped inside the house to break free. West creates a delightful concoction of quirky humor blended with a rumbling ominous undertone (“This house belongs to someone else,” Horatio warns Olive, “And that someone may not want you here”); venerable fantasy tropes such as talking cats, animated paintings, the sinister and secret old house, and conveniently distracted parents parade out in enduring and endearing form. The plot is so nicely wrapped up in this volume that readers will wonder where subsequent entries in the planned series might go even as they’re grateful for the rare satisfaction of single-title closure. Sneaking into a hitherto-unsuspected niche between Umansky’s Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage (BCCB 10/09) and Gaiman’s Coraline (BCCB 11/02), this will be a hit with young fantasists ready for a measured helping of menace. Occasional full-page black-and-white illustrations have a touch of Mary GrandPré to their charcoal-edged texture and slightly skewed perspectives, and that’s no bad thing either.
So congrats to Jacqueline from all of us here at Upstart Crow. You really are the cat’s meow.