Book Review: Shimmer (Riley Bloom #2) by Alyson Noel

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

Release Date:  March 15, 2011
Publisher:  Square Fish
Age Group:  Middle Grade
Pages:  192
Source:  Review copy from publisher

This was a great middle-grade read! I enjoyed it even more than Radiance.  Riley is just as spunky and sassy as ever.  She is a fearless little thing, and I really enjoy her unique voice.  Riley is just the right mix of self-confidence and self-doubt for a middle grade heroine.

Shimmer was a little gritter than Radiance.  I was worried, when I read the description of the ghost girl Rebecca, that I wouldn't be able to get through this book.  Rebecca brought back memories of Wait 'Til Helen Comes, which is the reason behind my "no ghost" policy.  But, in thinking of Rebecca as a spirit instead of a ghost, I was able to read this book without getting freaked out.

To tell you the truth, I was a little surprised at some of the content.  While I think it's great to educate a middle grade audience about the horrors involved in slavery, I was surprised at the flashbacks to graphic scenes from the past.  I think that they definitely enhanced the story and served a purpose, but I would recommend parents read this book first so they can discuss it with their children. 

Just One Gripe: 
This book is short---as is custom for middle grade fiction.  It took me just over an hour to read it, and I was left wanting more.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The characters are growing and developing in their skills.  I love reading about character development!

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
Most likely.  Parents read it first so you can discuss it with your children.

Middle Grade Score:


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