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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Publisher: HarperTeen, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2008
Summary: Winter, a snow-capped mountain town, hosts a luxury resort that puts this otherwise sleepy town on the map. It is also harbors a sinister, forgotten secret. The box is at Justin's house, and carries explicit instructions: don't touch! Justin isn't overly concerned about the box and while his parents are away, he hosts a party. Tess Ward, one of his guests, opens the box. Pandora's Box. The result is a chilling storm of shimmering particles that sends Winter into the darkest, coldest winter in history. Within 24 hours, a zombie apocalypse has blanketed Winter. Of Winter’s inhabitants, only Kit, Russ, Justin, Emma, and Betina are left to protect the box and Winter. The good news: no one can get out, including the infected, because of an icy blockade. The bad news: the kids are stranded on the wrong side of the blockade. Is there any hope they can discover how the myth ends? This YA fantasy combines zombies and mythology. This is a High Interest / Low Readability option. Older teens who don't like to read or who struggle with reading will find the plot plenty sophisticated.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 14 and Up; 15 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Shimmer is a retelling of the Greek myth of Pandora's box. Reed builds upon the myth in creating a cast of characters diverse in their motivations, background, and voices. The divisions are prominent: the school cliques, stratified social classes, animosity between original inhabitants and newcomers. As interesting as the plot is, the language and characters bothered me at times. The boys seem superficial and immature toward Emma in ways that don't fit with the plot. Slang and bursts of crude language seemed to be jammed into the dialogue. They come across as forced, superfluous and misused.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: There is plenty of action to keep readers turning the page as Kit, Russ, Justin, Emma, and Betina try to find the answers to this ancient secret.
Cons: There is some gore and violence, but, according to multiple reviewers, it is not over-the-top.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow or skip. There are stronger books out there that embody the same idea of retelling Greek myths.
Educational Themes: The book offers plenty of conflict. With those elements, there are opportunities to pause in specific places to ask "what do you think will happen next?" A number of reviewers talked about how different characters acted "out of character." That could make for interesting discussions about the story itself, as well as writing and character development.
Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from their local library.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, science fiction, mythology, school
Date(s) Reviewed: October 2015
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.