Book Review: The Shadow of Loss by Josefina Gutierrez

Book proofTitle: The Shadow of Loss
Author: Josefina Gutierrez
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more?  Has she lost her soul?  Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world.  The world of teenage angst and Calculus.  But can she trust people again?  Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school.  Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.

In The Shadow of Loss, Evelyn Gonzales meets up again with her sister Olive after having been institutionalized in a psychiatric institution after experiencing a terrible loss. When Evelyn is released, Olive decides to take care of her. She’s moved both of them into a new house, enrolls Evelyn into a new school, and basically sets up everything for a brand new start. But Evelyn still struggles, and slowly the truth behind what happened is revealed. Will Evelyn’s wounds ever heal? Can she trust people again?

Evelyn is an intriguing character. She went through so much turmoil, and yet, with the help of others, most of all her sister, she continues to stand strong. Olive is everyone’s dream sister. She barely has any flaws, but it seems more like she’s just good at hiding them, and making sure Evelyn doesn’t see so she doesn’t have anything else on her plate to deal with.

The story is realistic, as the genre suggests, and it shows the aftermath of traumatizing experiences, of how someone can suffer although appearing all right on the outside. As such it’s quite a thought-provoking story, and makes one wonder how often we ignored people who could use our emotional support, or how quick we’ll assume everything’s all right with someone, even though they just went through something terrible.

While the book has a minor romance storyline, the focus is mostly on Evelyn dealing with trauma and finding herself again, and on the relationship betwene Evelyn and Olive. A very enjoyable read, and certainly different from the majority of YA novels out there.


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