The Hills Are Shadows

Resource Links, June 2014

This book is the second in the A Girl Called Tennyson Series. It follows the continuing adventures of Anne Tennyson Miller (Tenn) and her new friend, Una, as they navigate their way to safety due to a rapidly changing physical environment. The novel is divided into three sections, with multiple chapters within each section. Besides Tenn and Una, the other main characters are two foreign students whom the girls meet when seeking shelter at Tenn’s former school. The boys, Zumi and Wen, are somewhat mysterious and talk in stilted English (“We very frighten. Hide here.” p 71). Together, these four young people make their trek to safety at a mountain that is some distance away. Along the way, they meet various people and end up repeatedly captured or in some type of harm’s way. This fantasy novel felt somewhat plodding, with adventures feeling unrealistic for the age group. The ever-rising waters didn’t really feel that dangerous. People had fled, but there wasn’t a feeling of urgency. Tenn doesn’t seem to reflect on the impact of this catastrophe. For example, her grandmother would have drowned, yet Tenn doesn’t think of this, even though she had just stayed with her. Character development was also minimal. Una seems stuck in a world of play acting and little affected by the fact she has left her home and the land of Greensward, Tenn gets exasperated often and the two boys are surrounded by a mystery that is never explained. Readers who enjoy adventure stories with a strong female character may like this novel. The ending of the novel definitely leads to a sequel, which will be the third in this trilogy.

Thematic Links: Environmental Catastrophe; Plays; Friendship; Self-reliance — Sarah Nelson