Shadow People

Shadow People

Dela­corte, 1999

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Please check your local library or used book­seller for a print copy of this book.


Gabriel, Lydia, Alec, and Hollis–four seem­ing­ly dif­fer­ent teenagers. They are thrown togeth­er by a chance meet­ing in a desert­ed camp. Or maybe it was­n’t chance. For there are bonds that tie them to each oth­er, bonds of lone­li­ness, of frus­tra­tion — and of anger. Apart they are ordi­nary enough, unre­mark­able and not much noticed. Togeth­er, in the dark of night, they are drawn to vio­lence like moths to a flame.

Gem is a class­mate whose path cross­es theirs when she falls in love with Gabriel. Well-ground­ed, with a sol­id sense of her­self, will she offer a way out for Gabriel? Or will the whirlpool of destruc­tion swal­low her, too?

These five voic­es com­bine to tell the chill­ing tale of what hap­pens in a small town when teenage fury is unleashed. And these five voic­es also tell some painful truths about the roots of that vio­lence. Joyce McDon­ald’s superbly craft­ed nov­el is both grip­ping and deeply dis­turb­ing. It is a riv­et­ing read and a haunt­ing look at shad­owy fig­ures who sud­den­ly assume the shape of the boy or girl next door.


  • A New York Pub­lic Library Book for the Teen Age, 2001
  • TAYSHAS High School Read­ing List, 2002–2003
  • The Book Report, starred review (high­ly recommended)


“Fast-paced and instant­ly absorb­ing … ” (Kirkus Review)

“The dark, brood­ing sto­ry line builds to a hor­ri­fy­ing cli­max … throws the read­er into a swarm of angry ten­sions as it con­veys the emo­tion­al ties that trans­form a gang into a fam­i­ly.’ ”  (Book­list)

“In this chill­ing sto­ry … The char­ac­ters are well-drawn and the sur­prise end­ing is true to our jus­tice sys­tem today … a top­ic for dis­cus­sion.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“McDon­ald’s chill­ing premise and cred­i­ble depic­tion of the gang dynam­ic … will keep the pages turn­ing.” (Pub­lish­ers Week­ly)

” … a com­plex and ambi­tious nov­el.” (VOYA)

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