July 23, 2023

REVIEW The Shadow Sister by Lily Meade

The Shadow Sister by Lily Meade
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: June 27, 2023
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire 

Lily Meade’s debut young adult novel, The Shadow Sister, is an exciting and captivating new book. Mixing the genres of thrillers and mysteries, readers are kept on the edge of their seats as they follow Casey and Sutton in a quest to determine what’s been going on in their community. I particularly enjoyed Tamika Katon-Donegal’s audiobook performance, and how she brought the action to life through her narration. 

There’s so much the author explores throughout the book. First of all, the fractured sibling relationship between Sutton and Casey. Readers get a glimpse into what their relationship used to be like with the alternating point-of-view, and the various flashback moments. It was also nice to have the point of view switch between Sutton and Casey; switching between past flashbacks from Sutton and the present from Casey’s point of view, really put an emphasis on their fractured sibling relationship, what the overall family environment was, and what the relationships used to be like. 

In addition to sibling relationships and the bonds of family, there’s also an exploration of generational trauma and the impact of racism on the black community. After Sutton’s disappearance, their parents note how they have to get on TV and beg for help every day to just get a modicum of the attention a white girl’s disappearance would get. While the book does emphasize some of the challenges the black community faces on a day-to-day basis, it also highlights the importance of the cultural traditions they value (largely introduced thanks to the girl's grandmother, who is my favorite side character in the book). 

The mystery surrounding the events of the story was impressive. Unlike many other books, I did not piece together the truth of the mystery early on (which is always exciting). With the big reveal at the end of the story, so many things began to click into place and I always love it when an ending feels earned. The supernatural or magical realism aspect of the book just made the story better, and I thought the book wrapped up very well. 

Overall, this was a very entertaining read and a great debut novel! I’m excited to see more of what Lily Meade writes in the future. 


About the Book
Sutton going missing is the worst thing to happen to Casey, to their family. She’s trying to help find her sister, but Casey is furious. And she can’t tell anyone about their argument before Sutton disappeared. Everyone paints a picture of Sutton’s perfection: the popular cheerleader with an entourage of friends, a doting boyfriend, and a limitless future. But Sutton manipulated everyone around her, even stole an heirloom bracelet from Casey. People don’t look for missing Black girls--or half-Black girls--without believing there is an angel to be saved.

When Sutton reappears, Casey knows she should be relieved. Except Sutton isn’t the same. She remembers nothing about while she was gone—or anything from her old life, including how she made Casey miserable. There’s something unsettling about the way she wants to spend time with Casey, the way she hums and watches her goldfish swim for hours.

What happened to Sutton? The more Casey starts uncovering her sister’s secrets, the more questions she has. Did she really know her sister? Why is no one talking about the other girls who have gone missing in their area? And what will it take to uncover the truth?

About the Author

Lily Meade is a young adult novelist of speculative fiction, represented by Elana Roth Parker of Laura Dail Literary. She has a Certificate in Editing from the University of Washington. Her work has been published in Bustle and Teen Vogue and she has been featured in Romper, Buzzfeed, and Rolling Stone. Her YouTube channel on writing advice and inspiration has over 3,700 subscribers.

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