Source: Random House Kids – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Edition: Hardcover, 320 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon/ Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Before: Corey, Holly, and Savitri are one unit—fast, strong, inseparable. Together they turn Chicago concrete and asphalt into a freerunner’s jungle gym, ricocheting off walls, scaling buildings, leaping from rooftops to rooftop.
But acting like a superhero doesn’t make you bulletproof…
After: Holly and Savitri are coming unglued. Holly says she’s chasing Corey’s killer, chasing revenge. Savitri fears Holly’s just running wild—and leaving her behind. Friends should stand by each other in times of crisis. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?
In this intense novel, Swati Avasthi creates a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity. Two girls who will find out just how many ways there are to lose a friend…and how many ways to be lost.
Chasing Shadows really surprised me with how enveloping the story turned out to be and left me with chills. Centering around two high school seniors who must deal with the aftermath of the death of someone very near and dear to them, Chasing Shadows spins a fast paced and unique story of loss, recovery, and mental illness.
The backdrop of Chasing Shadows is Chicago which Holly, Corey, and Savitri have turned into their freerunning haven. This is the first book I have read with freerunning incorporated and now I need more. The passages where Savitri and Holly are sprinting and leaping are so much fun to read, even when it’s in the middle of something heavy. When I first started this novel I had no idea that it was going to have graphic novel type sections, and I must say I loved it’s incorporation. It is used during Holly’s chapters and sort of marks her slow decent into mental illness, but I think being able to see what she was seeing made her pov seem more ‘real’ even though it’s clearly unreliable. The whole journey that Avasthi takes us on is full of emotion, ranging from exhilaration and love to panic and fear.
The friendship between Holly and Savitri is at the forefront of this novel. It focuses on how close they were, how the death of Corey begins to tear them apart and glue them back together into something else entirely. It touches on how sometimes friendships become bad for you, and how even though it hurts letting go might be for the best.
Overall Chasing Shadows was a pleasant surprise that left me wanting more from this author. I loved the setting, the incorporation of mental illness, and even though parts of this tore my heart out I enjoyed seeing how Savitri and Holly dealt with their grief.