You might have noticed that most of the horror I read tends to be on the graphic and extreme side of the genre, but every now and then I like something lighter with a focus on creepy instead of gratuitous gore. If you read my last blog post on The Bedwetter by Lee Allen Howard, you’ll fully appreciate why now is the perfect time for me to enjoy something a little less splattery! This is one of those books.
When I was growing up, there wasn’t a huge selection of horror aimed at a younger audience. I missed out on series like Goosebumps and even books by Christopher Pike by just a few years, so I’m absolutely delighted to see the variety of works available these days for budding horror fans. Not having been exposed to a lot of middle-grade (MG) stories when I was the right age, I do find myself occasionally checking out titles I wished had been around in my pre-teen years, and The Last Shimmer by Sage Hyatt captured my full attention.
Imagine waking up to find your friends and family have disappeared. The only trace of other people are blurry shadows that move before you get a good look at them. That’s exactly what happens to Tiger Lily Dander before she manages to find her best friend, Stacy. Together the two girls hope to find everyone and avoid the menacing shadow people who threaten to extinguish every ounce of joy the friends have left.
This short book packs a lot of punch – plenty of tension, interesting plotline, and the shadow people genuinely creeped me out. In a way, the story reminded me of a kid-friendly version of Jordan Peele’s Us.
Tiger Lily is a wonderful character to cheer on as she tries to hold onto her joy, or shimmer, which is the only thing keeping shadows from taking over her. There are also a surprising number of themes throughout the book, like standing up for what you believe in, being a beacon of hope for others, and knowing that light is always the best defense against the dark. As Tiger Lily says, “You either have a shadow, or you are a shadow” – powerful stuff!
My only quibble is that I wished the story had been slightly expanded. The length falls somewhere between a short story and a MG novel. With Hyatt’s lean writing, there’s not anything that could be cut out, however there were a few sequences that could have been extended. Part of my opinion, I’m sure, is because I’m not used to reading chapter books aimed for kids, but it could also be that I just wanted to spend a little more time with Tiger Lily.
Pulling off such an impressive story would be a feat for any writer, but I was absolutely stunned to learn this author, Sage Hyatt, is only a middle-grader herself! Her imagination and talent at this young age is phenomenal, and she’s an author I will definitely be following as her career continues.
Whether you’re looking for a book to give to your own horror fan in training, or even as an adult want a quick and creepy read, I would highly recommend checking out The Last Shimmer by Sage Hyatt.
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
About the Author:
Sage Hyatt loves to sing, make arts and crafts, and is a connoisseur of desserts and cute cat memes. She is the author of The Last Shimmer, and her story “Psychopath Strawberry” was published in the June issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk. More of her tales can be found at the blog Not Your Father’s Bedtime Stories (https://notyourfathersbedtimestories.com/)
Media links (of her dad):
If you want to learn more about this father-daughter team, they wrote a terrific article for Pipeline Artists you can read too: https://pipelineartists.com/bedtime-stories-and-beyond-how-imagination-plays-a-part-in-family-duo/