book review, young adult

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter (Review)

33414246Title: When I Cast Your Shadow
Author: Sarah Porter
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Imprint: TOR Teen
Publisher: TOR Books
Date published: September 12, 2017
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 384
Source: Publisher


A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

SynopsisDashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it’s even worse now that he’s dead…

Ruby. Haunted by her dead brother, unable to let him go, Ruby must figure out whether his nightly appearances in her dreams are the answer to her prayers—or a nightmare come true…

Everett. He’s always been jealous of his dashing older brother. Now Everett must do everything he can to save his twin sister Ruby from Dashiell’s clutches.

Dashiell. Charming, handsome, and manipulative, Dash has run afoul of some very powerful forces in the Land of the Dead. His only bargaining chips are Ruby and Everett. At stake is the very survival of the Bohnacker family, bodies and souls…

witch foxes separator


Raphy transparent super smallcroppedRaphy transparent super smallcroppedRaphy transparent super smallcroppedraphy-transparent-super-smallcroppedhalf

This book review is going to be one of the most difficult ones for me to write, and that is because I am not too sure what to make of this book! Fellow bloggers who I’ve mentioned this to, have reassured me that this is a normal feeling to have toward a Sarah Porter book, so I’m not too worried…but that will not make this any easier to write. The rating itself was also something that I had difficulty with; constantly weighing my pros and cons regarding this book. Always adjusting, leaning one way and then the other. So, please keep this in mind while you read my review. And I apologize in advance if anything that I say may sound confusing (please know that I myself am confused while writing this, haha).

wicys 2My first impression of When I Cast Your Shadow was that the setting feels very surreal (whether the setting is someone’s dream world, or the physical house of Ruby and her twin brother Everett). I really enjoy Porter’s writing style, and her turns of phrase. There were very many sections of text that I wanted to sticky note and quote out of this book! I also found Porter’s writing to be very addictive, because I tried to switch between reading 2-3 books, but ended up reading a lot more from this one in each session than I’d planned! Porter’s writing makes me think of something raw…in the sense that the protective layers of something have been removed to reveal its vulnerable centre, and I felt almost honoured to be given the opportunity to access this unprotected, inner thing.

There are some triggers in this book, such as drug abuse, addiction, drug overdose, and death, and I just wanted to put that out there before I get to the next part. I found it really interesting how Porter tackled all of those issues, as well as the matter of the spirit/ghost, what comes after death, as well as possession.

unnamed (15)While not particularly liking any of the the Bohnaker family members, I found that they felt very real, and that Porter effectively brought a very dysfunctional group of people to life with her writing. While I did not feel close to any of the characters, I could simultaneously appreciate their depth, as well as how the interactions between said characters was portrayed. I found Ruby’s feelings toward her deceased older brother to be particularly interesting and disturbing, because to me it felt as if she was jealous of Dashiell, while also harbouring a sort of a crush on him. It intrigued me and made me feel uncomfortable all at once! I also liked that Porter discussed toxic relationships between characters, and how she tackled them. And experiencing the twins from each other’s perspectives was also very interesting and intriguing for me.

unnamed (16)That being said, I am not too sure how I feel about the plot as a whole. Let me explain. I liked all of these bits and pieces of this book that I discussed above, but perhaps did not like how they were made to fit together? I am not sure what alternative way to suggest though, which brings me to my dilemma regarding the review for this book, as well as my overall rating. Perhaps I simply did not understand the overall, or was close to grasping it, but didn’t quite get there? I definitely think that this is a book that I will have to re-read just to see if my perspective changes, or if anything I’ve missed pops out at me in the next round.

I do recommend this book to those who like experimental fiction (I hope that I am using that term correctly), books about dysfunctional families, books about family relations in general, those who enjoy books that quest through the unknowns of the soul/spirit and what comes after death. And I for one will definitely re-read this book, will read Porter’s Vassa in the Night, and will keep an eye out for any other books that she might write in the future!

separator crystal blue purple



From Goodreads: I write stories that seem to me to be quite true enough for all practical purposes. Among them are VASSA IN THE NIGHT, THE LOST VOICES TRILOGY, and the forthcoming WHEN I CAST YOUR SHADOW and TENTACLE AND WING. Realism makes little sense to me and I experience more truth in the fantastic. I always have new novels underway, both Young Adult and Grownup/ Literary/ Speculative. When not writing my own weird stuff, I can often be found leading creative writing workshops with amazing young NYC public-school writers via Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Or I might be drawing, or gardening, or wandering wraithlike through the streets. I live in Brooklyn, land of mystery, with my awesome husband Todd and our two cats, Jub Jub and Delphine. 

bats separator


amazon-canada amazon-usa amazon-uk

chapters-indigo  amazon-australia  book-depository

separator green leaves pumpkin


flavia signature october

1 thought on “When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter (Review)

Leave a Comment