Author: Shannon Delany
Rating: 4.5 of 5
St. Martin's Press / February 15, 2011 / Trade Paperback
After the success of her first novel, debut author Shannon Delany is back with Secrets and Shadows, the second book in the 13 to Life series. Only a short time has lapsed since the end of the first novel as Secrets and Shadows picks up right in the aftermath of the first book. Jess is still struggling to comprehend everything that has happened and is bombarded with new information daily. The town of Junction is getting stranger everyday as the people in Jess' life start to reveal their true selves. Delany has embraced the supernatural in this book and has created a web of dynamic characters. The Rusakovas might be the only werewolves in town but this doesn't mean that there is nothing else lurking in the shadows.
As you might have guessed, the Rusakova's are all back but this time they have been given much more weight within the pages. In particular, Cat and Max both have interesting storylines within this book that aim to reveal the other side of them. Ekaterina Rusakova, Cat, is the embodiment of Catherine the Great. She has a power and confidence about her that seems to come easy. When we do see her vulnerable side though it helps us to recognize the humanity that lives within her strong exterior. Then there is Max who has been labeled as a ladies man for quite some time. It is in this book though that Max's priorities in life are revealed, and that the depth of his loyalty, to his family and to Jess, can be seen. Cat and Max both seem to live in a way the Pietr finds challenging; they both seem to live in the moment.
With the short lifespan of a werewolf, it is no wonder how important the theme of time has become within this series. The Rusakovas are all impacted by time, but it seems to impact Pietr the most as his constant clock watching becomes an obsession. It is infuriating to watch him waste so much time away from Jess and yet have him so concerned with her well being. Delany has written the love between these two so very well. She has emphasized their desire to make the other person happy, even if that means being apart. It is not everyday that a YA novel really looks at love in such a way.
If you loved 13 to Life then you will most definitely feel the same about Secrets and Shadows. In fact, it is a wonderful second book in this three part series that brings together both action and romance. The cliffhanger at the end definitely takes the storyline in a new and unexpected direction, but exposes a number of new obstacles. The third book in the series, Bargains and Betrayals, is out in August of 2011 which seems so close yet so far away. Until such time I will be trying to live by Delany`s words of advice: Live fiercely. Love courageously.