Shadow Girl by Sally Nicholls

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Shadow Girl by Sally Nicholls

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A stunning story about friendship with a paranormal twist - and it's dyslexia friendly too. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good story and particularly for reluctant readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 978-1781123133

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One of the disadvantages of the foster care system is that some children get moved around rather a lot and usually it's not down to them. But because of this it's easy to see making friends as being a wasted effort and this was certainly Clare's opinion. By the age of fourteen she was at her third secondary school - and after being there for two months she hated it. Everyone else had been there for years and they all had friends: Clare had no one. A very bad day saw her being evicted from the school bus and then getting lost as she tried to find her way home. The good thing was that she met Maddy.

Maddy showed her the way back to the park near where Clare lived and they got talking. Maddy was in a children's home, so she understood what Clare was going through. She knew all about the bullying and the casual cruelties and the whole not having a family or anyone who belonged to you bit. For the first time Clare could open her heart and she and Maddy met each day after school. Maddy seemed a little strange though - not quite current with what was in. She wasn't entirely certain who One Direction were, or even about Harry Potter. Then one day, Maddy wasn't there...

I loved this book. There's a paranormal twist which would normally put me off, but it was perfectly done and totally in keeping with the story. The characters are brilliant too: Clare, Maddy and Lynn (Clare's foster mother) come off the page and hug you. But there's a bonus with this book. It's dyslexia friendly. The paper on which the story is printed is thick so that there's no chance of whatever's on the reverse showing through, which can be a distraction. For the same reason the paper has a matt finish - shiny paper can make reading more difficult - and it has a creamy-yellow colouring which is easier on the eye. The font - one specifically designed by Barrington Stoke - is double spaced. Even people who are not dyslexic - and particularly reluctant readers - will find that all these factors make reading easier.

This book is written to have a reading age of eight but an interest age in the teens. Personally I'd think that it would also appeal to the thoughtful older tween too. But are teens and tweens going to want to be seen reading the book? Well, there's a 'dyslexia friendly' sticker on the cover which peels off easily and there is then nothing to distinguish this from a book published by a mass-market publisher. The cover is stunning and the author is well known and respected by teens. What's not to like? I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Tweens looking for further reading will enjoy Sweetness and Lies by Karen McCombie and Jessica Secheret, whilst teens will appreciate Tilly's Promise by Linda Newbery.

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Buy Shadow Girl by Sally Nicholls at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shadow Girl by Sally Nicholls at


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