Friday, October 31, 2014

Casting Shadows Everywhere by L.T. Vargus

Release Date: May 12, 2013
Publisher: Smarmy Press

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Life as a teen is hell, especially for 15 year-old Jake who sees himself as weak and at the bottom of the high school food chain. He can't find the courage to stand up to the daily torment he receives from bullies, can't make a move on the girl of his dreams, and definitely can't find his place in the world. Sensing that he needs to change, he turns to his older, world-wise cousin, Nick, for the answers.

At Nick's side Jake learns the cold, hard truth about the world at large. He begins to channel his anger into confidence and leans more to Nick's lessons until he discovers a terrible secret that throws everything he knew into chaos. Does anything he knew before or after these lessons still hold water? Or has it all been a lie - one that could cost Jake everything?

This book came onto my radar as I spent time on Twitter one day. I honestly cannot remember exactly who had shared the tweet, but I went to the author's page to follow the link to the book's page at Amazon. Since I found the description of the book intriguing, I added the title to my Kindle and the ever-growing TBR list. I truly didn't know what to expect from this book as I began reading. It took reading until the very end to figure out everything.

Jake's coming-of-age story was written from his point-of-view in a journalistic style. He gave the reader a sense of what it was like to be in high school, conjuring up a view that many in this day and age could remember from their early years. Things began to take a different path right away when he wrote about his cousin, Nick, and the lessons about life that Nick taught him. As these lessons became harder and more intense, Jake's view of the world around him changed. It wasn't always for the better. The one bright spot in his otherwise invisible existence was Beth, the girl who paid more attention to him than anyone else. But even this positive relationship was tarnished by the darkness welling inside Jake as he struggled to find himself.

The story began with an action-packed scene, but remained a little slow on take-off for me. I think it was shifting gears into journal-reading mode on my behalf. Not more than a page or two after the opening scene, events began happening in rapid succession. Both Jake and the reader became stuck in Nick's web of lies and philosophy without realizing it until the final lesson was taught. To be honest, I was surprised by some of the later chapters (no, I'm not going to give spoilers) because I was too busy thinking about Jake figuring out his life to notice that someone around him wasn't all he/she presented to be. When I reached the turning point, I was both puzzled and excited, wondering what was going to happen next.

All in all, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I anticipated. Because the author eased the entry into Jake's world, it was easy to get caught up in the little things that Jake thought important and miss the huge red flags that something was going on in the background. I really liked how honest Jake was in his journal. The confusion he was feeling came through the words, especially when he wrote about his dreams and struggled to find meaning in them. Kernels of truth about the world and society at large were woven into the fabric of the story. I think that's why it was easy to become snared by Jake's dilemma. If you're a fan of mysteries or simply love a good story where the boogey-man is quite real, then this is the book you should have on your TBR list!

Casting Shadows Everywhere by L.T. Vargus is currently available in both paperback and digital formats such as Kindle from various online retailers. The link provided below will bring up the book's page at Amazon.
Casting Shadows Everywhere by L.T. Vargus

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