Book Review: Falls the Shadow

Falls the Shadow
By: Stefanie Gaither 
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 16, 2014
Genre: YA dystopian
352 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

What a pleasant surprise! This cover is pretty enigmatic, and I couldn't remember much about the summary when I picked this up to finally read, so I really didn't know what I was getting into. I was so pleased to find a great story inside.

This book is smart, action-packed sci fi that explores some horrific concepts. The story focuses on a future in which the characters live in a war-torn country that has been all but destroyed. Some of the strategies used in the war created genetic abnormalities in the survivors. Artificial "replacements" are created by those who can afford them, so that their families won't have to bear the pain of losing a loved one ever again.

The story is told by Cate, one of two daughters in a politically prominent family. For them, appearances are crucial- so when her sister Violet died, Cate had little choice but to accept the replacement Violet as her own sister. This new Violet, however, is very different from her origin.

There is a Romeo/Juliet-like plotline; the boy Cate is crushing on is someone she can't see herself actually winning over at all. The tension in that story is so very realistic for a first love, and made me a die-hard fan of Jaxon.

One of my favorite themes of this book has absolutely nothing to do with the dystopia; it's about Cate's exploration of who she really is, behind the characters she plays on stage and the perfect daughter she plays when her family is in the political spotlight. That theme is absolutely universal for YA readers, and I think will earn the book an even wider audience.


When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?


  1. Oh, I haven't heard of this one but it sounds right up my alley!

    Thanks for the review Paula, I like the more disturbing dystopias with an emphasis on character development!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Amber Elise! I hope you get to this one and love it.


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