The Shadow Club Rising – Book Description
The new kid, Alec Smartz, is so talented-at everything-he makes the entire school population feel inferior. When Alec falls victim to a series of nasty pranks, everyone assumes that Jared, the former leader of the Shadow Club, is to blame. Finding it impossible to shake his false reputation, Jared assumes the role of “bad kid” in order to flush out the real culprit. Readers will be left breathless by the dramatic climax and the twist ending that offers an alternative to revenge.
Awards & Honors
From School Library Journal
Grades 7-10–Murky introspection by Jared, 15, gradually reveals that he had formed a secret club of kids who were always second best during the previous year (The Shadow Club [Little, Brown, 1988; o.p., Dutton, 2002]). The members tormented their betters in small, harmless ways that then escalated out of control, culminating in a terrible fire that Jared and a boy named Tyson barely survived. The club disbanded. Now Alec, a new kid, arrives at school acting as if he owns the place. He seems to excel at everything and soon becomes a target of just the kind of pranks the Shadow Club might have pulled-a hairball in his soft drink, a skunk tossed in his family’s van, glue substituted for his hair gel. Jared knows he’s not responsible, but isn’t sure about the rest of the crew. His attempts to ferret out the truth climax in another life-and-death struggle in which the culprits are discovered and the tide is turned in favor of good deeds instead of harmful ones. Although the theme that people can make horrible mistakes and change for the better is worthwhile, the book is marred by shallow characterization and a screenplay-styled plot that includes several incidents that strain credibility to the breaking point. In what way is Tyson “creepy” and what makes him an expert coach for Jared in how to be unwholesome? What motivates one teen to be so mean and nasty? Readers won’t know much about the answers to these questions if this book is read alone. Rereading the first one sheds a feeble light, but still may leave readers languishing too much in the dark.
Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
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