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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Shadow Kid: Based on Real Life Events by Jennifer Vaughn is a biography that follows the life of eight-year-old Gavin Scott as he grows up in very painful circumstances, finding himself pulled away from a familiar and happy environment in New York and to a challenging life in New Hampshire. He will learn to live with bullies and to outsmart them. The narrative weaves on, taking the protagonist through painful experiences, getting punished for a crime he never committed, earning respect in the cockpit, becoming part of biker gangs and knowing depression from close quarters, to Hollywood and starting a family. But when he believes to have found the one thing that can give him fulfillment, his past begins to haunt him.
Shadow Kid: Based on Real Life Events is beautifully written and the opening captures the stream of consciousness of observant thoughts that are at the heart of this story. “Sure, secrets on their own merit won't kill you and they're powerless to bother anyone else either, so long as they stay where you left them: In their own room inside their own house. It's only when the other occupants you’ve allowed in have rummaged through the rooms and kicked over the furniture, that our darkest secrets find a sliver of light, and the pain—that atrocious rot that ate away at your core—is released again.” The character development is deft, the plot ingeniously imagined, and the conflict real. I was mostly interested in the internal conflict and the author allows readers to experience it by putting them into the mind of the protagonist. This is a story that features grit, adventure, and the struggle to make sense of life against the odds. Jennifer Vaughn infuses the writing with realism and humanity, crafting characters that belong here.