Thirteen-year-old Zylia feels nearly invisible in her life. She blends into the background, is shy, and has always known that she's nearly invisible, even before real invisibility began to overcome her. The surreal spills into reality as Zylia's initial feeling of being 'unnoticed' seven years earlier begins to translate to true invisibility.
Zylia has always had mixed feelings about her condition, both relishing anonymity and chafing against its increasing power ("... the very curse that plagued me was also my protection.").
Only one thing can keep her in the world: investigating an old family mystery surrounding a great-aunt's disappearance long ago. If she can uncover the truth, perhaps she can prevent the same thing from happening to her.
As Zylia explores the circumstances surrounding her great-aunt's vanishing, she gains clues from an old journal, makes some unexpected friends, draws some surprising connections between her familiar world and other dimensions, and slowly begins to learn the truth about her relative's fate and her own future.
With her very survival linked to her ability to move beyond her familiar world, Zylia faces the 'in-between' and her possible role as a Shadow Girl who is brave and visible: everything that she is not, in the world she's always moved through.
Young adults will find The Shadow Girl a powerful fantasy that combines a coming of age theme with insights into changing family relationships, the impact of past worlds on present lives, and a shy girl's unexpected changes. Zylia's character is nicely drawn and realistic, her dilemmas are compelling and vivid, and her strange adventure becomes the start of building a new persona and purpose in her life.
Teens who enjoy compelling plots and a protagonist whose dilemmas weave into bigger issues of character and life purpose will find The Shadow Girl an involving read, filled with astute observations and surprises right up to the end. The Shadow Girl is especially recommended for readers who enjoy fantasies that incorporate real-world elements of change and growth.