Shadow shaper by Daniel Jose Older (2015)

“See, shadowshapers, we work in tandem with spirits. We unify our purposes with theirs, and it’s like a give-and-take, a relationship. When we’re creating we attract spirits that are like-minded. And then when we shadow shape: They align with us” (p 129).

shadowshaperA teen girl living in a vibrant, multifarious neighborhood of Brooklyn enjoys painting and drawing until her art takes on new meaning as the secret world of shadowshapers opens up before her and as its members are plunged into a crisis.

Sierra’s grandfather, mostly paralyzed after suffering a stroke, experiences moments of lucidity when he urges Sierra to complete a huge mural she is painting on the side of a half-finished, abandoned tower. Unaware of her family’s involvement with shadow shapers, she begins to learn only when another teen, Robbie, clues her in after the two are attacked by a corpse.

Sierra soon learns someone is targeting shadowshapers, hoping to harness the ancient power of connectivity between artist and the deceased. With help from wide-ranging friends, Sierra begins to comprehend the power of her people and herself.

Older’s prose melds Puerto Rican culture within the environs of a transitioning Brooklyn to create a vibrant atmosphere that pulses with musical beats and the words of a strong, smart young woman. Don’t miss it!




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