Title: Shadow Girls
Author: Carol Birch
Genre: Suspense, Fiction
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication Date: 14th April 2022
Manchester, 1960s. Sally, a cynical fifteen-year-old schoolgirl, is much too clever for her own good. When partnered with her best friend, Pamela – a mouthy girl who no-one else much likes – Sally finds herself unable to resist the temptation of rebellion. The pair play truant, explore forbidden areas of the old school and – their favourite – torment posh Sylvia Rose, with her pristine uniform and her beautiful voice that wins every singing prize.
One day, Sally ventures (unauthorised, of course) up to the greenhouse on the roof alone. Or at least she thinks she’s alone, until she sees Sylvia on the roof too. Sally hurries downstairs, afraid of Sylvia snitching, but Sylvia appears to be there as well.
Amidst the resurgence of ghost stories and superstition among the girls, a tragedy is about to occur, one that will send Sally further and further down an uncanny rabbit hole…
I love a book with a creepy or sinister atmosphere so Shadow Girls really appealed to me and it definitely delivered on that! The setting is expertly done – an old girls school in 1960’s Manchester is brought to life with serious effect and a school is the perfect place for supernatural goings on. This is a slow burn of a novel – it slowly builds suspense with an unnerving unfolding of events. There is a quiet yet chilling feeling to the writing which hints at a ghostly presence but doesn’t overdo it. Sally is not a particularly likeable character but she is certainly an intriguing one and I found the whole idea of malevolent shadows extremely effective. Overall an intense and compelling read which will appeal to those who enjoy a more understated suspense novel.
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.