What the critics say
What readers say
Jamie knows what to expect if he doesn't win: his father is obsessed with the idea that Jamie will become a world squash champion and succeed where he himself had not. But Jamie doesn't share his father's single-minded ambition and is desperate to escape from the verbal and physical abuse that will follow when he fails.
Then he finds the girl hiding in his shed, and in helping her to escape from her past and the danger that is pursuing her, he is able to put his own problems into perspective. He realises that he can't run away for ever - he must come out of the Shadows and face up to his father, however, painful the process might be.
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Shadows is a gritty love story based on the effects of overbearing parental influence in the arena of top-level teenage squash. Tim is a very keen squash player and had always felt that it would be a good topic to cover in a novel. He also likes the gladiatorial quality of one-against-one sport.
The characters are based to some extent on people he has actually known. He started off writing only about a young boy and his relationship with his father, who is desperate for his son to become a champion squash player and succeed where he himself had not. But before Tim knew what was happening, a young girl had appeared in the story, a pregnant girl sleeping rough and in terrible danger – and suddenly he was writing a completely different story which turned into a tough, fast-moving thriller.
Winner of the Angus Book Award, 2000
Winner of the Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award, 2000
'Tim Bowler scores again...a real page turner.' The Bookseller
'Lots of pace, action and a couple of shocking twists!' The Young Telegraph
'Had me turning pages at a rate of knots. It is exciting and sensational. It is moving and caring.' Books for Keeps
'The writing is tight and sharp throughout, and Tim Bowler skillfully uses the context of squash-playing to explore family relationships, friendships and the need to face up to our fears.' School Library Association
'A tenderly gripping and intensely frightening story...one of our more darkly interesting writers for the young.' Michael Thorn, Literary Review
'The story zips along.' Observer
'Fast-paced narrative and dramatic tension.' School Librarian
'I just finished reading Shadows
and I thought it was one of the best books I've ever read!! I just don't like the ending ..... Makes me want to cry. (It's still a great ending!)' Tommy
'In my English class we just read Shadows
and I loved it!!! We all did actually. Even some boys in my class who never read anything thought it was amazing. Our teacher would only let us read like one or two chapters a week, because he thought it would be too difficult for us to read an English book and he wanted us to work through each chapter with so many assignments. But half of my class kept reading anyway (even though a lot of them are not good in English), because we couldn't stop. We desperately wanted to know what will happen next. My teacher kept asking me if I already read the next chapter at home and of course I lied and said no, but I'm a terrible liar. And each time I had to promise him not to read any further yet. Once I could resist, but it was so hard. I tried to distract myself with all kinds of other stuff. And now I just finished the book and I'm a little sad it's over.' Anja
'I nearly cried when I read Shadows
. It was so moving and you felt so sympathetic for the characters.' Daniel
'I am over 40 so perhaps not in your target audience! However, I have just finished reading Shadows
, borrowed from my son, which I finished late last night as I could not put it down. I thought it was simply brilliant and I am delighted that today's teenagers have access to such wonderful thought-provoking material. I am quite sure that anybody reading this can not fail to be touched and moved by the issues raised. I think that parents would get great benefits from reading this book.' Anthony
'I finished reading Shadows
at 00.30 last night and found it difficult to sleep all night! It is an immensely powerful read which has stayed with me over the hours. The final reconciliation between Jamie and his Dad made me cry. You have told a story which comes over with truth and reality and captures the enormity of the immplications of what happened. I didn't foresee the revelation about Abby's family until I read the actual sentence. Thanks for a great experience.' Fin
1. Write about Jamie's father's early life in Australia. How did he become the way he is now?
2. Write a newspaper article (either tabloid or broadsheet) in which you speculate on the reasons for Jamie's disappearance during the story.
3. Write the story of Jamie's mother (in the first person).
4. Script an imaginary phone call between Abby and Jamie a few months after the events in the novel have taken place. Where is she? What has happened to her since? What has happened to him and his father?
5. Carry out an internet search for sites on squash or other racket sports in which you are interested.
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