Monday, September 18, 2017

Blog Tour: When I Cast Your Shadow - Sarah Porter

When I Cast Your Shadow
Sarah Porter
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
A teenage girl calls her beloved older brother back from the grave with disastrous consequences.

Dashiell Bohnacker was hell on his family while he was alive. But it's even worse now that he's dead....

After her troubled older brother, Dashiell, dies of an overdose, sixteen-year-old Ruby is overcome by grief and longing. What she doesn't know is that Dashiell's ghost is using her nightly dreams of him as a way to possess her body and to persuade her twin brother, Everett, to submit to possession as well.

Dashiell tells Everett that he's returned from the Land of the Dead to tie up loose ends, but he's actually on the run from forces crueler and more powerful than anything the Bohnacker twins have ever imagined....

"Tragic and engrossing, filled with nightmarish dreamscapes and menacing villains, it also treads the tender terrain of family, and the strange and sometimes dysfunctional ties between siblings. Highly recommended!" ―Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns

"You'll never think of your nightmares the same way again. Darkly seductive. Sarah Porter’s writing glitters and her storytelling stuns in this twisted tale of siblings, love, and death." ―Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

"Porter offers a poignant consideration of how far we will go for the people we love." ―School Library Journal, starred review

"A wildly innovative, whip-smart, and utterly spellbinding testament to family, memory, and love―and the messes and miracles of each―poised to possess legions of readers." ―Booklist, starred review

"A haunting tale of possession that explores the ghostly landscape of dreams and nightmares―but more importantly, the particular dynamics among siblings, both oppressive and redemptive." ―Kirkus Reviews


I was a fan of Porter's debut, Vassa in the Night, and immediately knew I wanted to read this book. I found her writing to be quite captivating, and although her style leaned darker than my norm, I found that I enjoyed her storytelling and wanted more. When I Cast Your Shadow is a ghost story that involves possession, but it is also a story about a family that is grieving, about family dynamics, about trust, about penance.
"it's up to me to remember him the way he really was. To fight for his memory."
The supernatural aspects of the story were quite intriguing and also quite macabre. The descriptions of the dead lands and how the possessions were accomplished made my mouth both cringe and form an "O". Porter's writing really flourished in these parts, and there were definitely a few times that I got a little spine tingle.
"Dashiell is all over this house: the walls are made of his laughter, he permeates our skin, and the breath inside my lungs has the same wave as his hair."
I thought Porter did a great job exploring this family from all sides. First there was the relationship between Dash and each member of the family. In life, Dashiell was a difficult son and brother to love. He was an addict, who exhibited many of the standard addict behaviors. The lies and the manipulations left his brother and father with quite an unfavorable opinion of him, but Ruby was always and remained enchanted by him. There was also the relationship between Ruby and Everette. Everette was the brother who loved Ruby with no strings. He was willing to do anything to protect her, but I could not say the same for Dash. The entire family was under a cloud of grief over Dash's untimely death, while kind of still dealing with their abandonment issues, and this created some very complicated emotions within their home.
"Reality exists somewhere, maybe, but it's not where everybody thinks it is. Not in this kitchen. Not in my bowl of yogurt and granola. Not in this family."
I liked seeing how each character changed and grew over the course of this book. The changes were not immediate, but everyone experienced positive growth -- even Dash. The very last chapter of the book was from Dash's POV, and it took us into the future. I was really happy that Porter included this chapter, because it showed the outcome of all of this for Ruby, Everett, their dad, and even Dash's girlfriend. You could even say it told us how this entire incident changed Dash, and I always need that closure that it provided.
"And you'll be going home, to find out who you are without me, and who you can love instead. I think you'll know both those things soon."
After finishing my second Porter book, I can say that she has a dark and twisted style, which may not be for everyone. However, I loved how her books were a break from my norm and challenged me as a reader.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.


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SARAH PORTER is the author of the Lost Voices Trilogy (Lost Voices, Waking Storms, The Twice Lost) in addition to Vassa in the Night—all for the teen audience. For over ten years she has taught creative writing workshops in New York City public schools to students in grades K-10. Porter also works as a VJ, both solo and with the art collective Fort/Da; she has played venues including Roseland, Galapagos, Tonic, Joe’s Pub, The Hammerstein Ballroom, The Nokia Theater, and the Burning Man festival. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two cats.


Photo Content from Sarah Porter


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I love when authors hide "easter eggs" in their books. I found one in this book (a Vassa reference)

Do like when authors put "easter eggs" in their books?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. This book sound interesting! I also really enjoyed VASSA. I may check out this one in the future?! I'm glad you liked it, Sam.

    Have a great day. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. This has all Porter's signature dark-weirdness, but there was this idea of family at its core. I think the more I talk about it, I realize I liked it a lot.

  2. I have not read anything by this author, but I've heard good things about Vassa. I'm intrigued by your description of her writing being dark and twisty. I'll check out something by her soon!
    Great review! :)

    1. Quite dark and twisty, and this one was near sinister, but it had these really beautiful and warm moments, and I a stellar ending.

  3. Really enjoyed the sound of this one. Sounds intiguing andits a new author to me.

    Dawn Roberto

    1. I never realized how many books Porter has written. I had never heard of her before Vassa, but I sort of really dig her style for a change of pace.

  4. This sounds really interesting. I love all the different dynamics going on. Also, I like that everything seemed to grow positive towards the end. I love when a book is sort of wrapped up nicely in the end. Great review!

    1. I am such a sucker for character growth, and I like that even ghosts can grow. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, it was one (long) strange trip.

  5. I never read Vassa, but this book sounds more up my alley! I like that the characters grow a lot throughout. Thanks for sharing!


    1. It definitely had a dark and odd aesthetic, but then it had this story of a family trying to heal and move on. There was a lot of love and emotion mixed in there, and I really enjoyed that aspect the most.

  6. Oh, that book sounds so intriguing. I haven't read Vassa in the night, but I read some mixed reviews about it. I'm more curious about that one though - I really like the quotes you included, they make me so curious about the writing style and atmosphere of the book overall. Also, YAY for growth, I love seeing characters grow and change during a story. :)

    1. If you like stories that are a little strange and dark, but interesting, you could enjoy Porter's writing. Both Vassa and Shadow had these lovely family elements that I really enjoyed. And Porter definitely creates the mood in her books.

  7. This definitely sounds like it's on the darker side of YA. The last time I remember reading something dark like this was Another Little Piece by Kate Quinn. Holy cow, that was one weird story. It creeped me out and I'm still not sure I understood it all. LOL I'll have to keep this one in mind the next time I'm wanting something darker.

    1. I usually stay away from darker tales, because they leave me sad, but this is my second journey with Porter, and I enjoyed it, because her tales had this hopeful feel. I heard McGinnis is quite dark. I think I have 3 or 4 of her books, but have yet to read them because of how dark I heard they are.

  8. You are tempting to read this. Vassa in the Night was so weird for me. I loved the uniqueness but the ending was disappointing. I have read two books by Porter so far and they are hit and miss for me. I will keep this on my maybe list.

    1. This is weird too, with the possession and the dead lands and all that good stuff, but Porter wove in some great and emotional family drama, and it ended with a lot of hope.

  9. I've heard good things about Vassa in the Night, although apparently it was quite an oddball read. But I like good-strange books, so I'm thinking this one would be fun -- there's something about a ghost story that always piques my interest!

    1. I really liked Vassa. It even inspired me to check out the original folk tale it is based on. Porter is a definite fan if the dark and twisty aesthetic

  10. The family aspect of this story really interests me. I have to admit I've not read Vassa in the Night yet because I came across so many mixed reviews for it. You've got me curious about both books now though. Great review!

    1. Porter is definitely an acquired taste, because the stories are pretty dark and odd, but I surprisingly enough, they worked for me. The thing is, you have to let the story play out to get the payout. It will be a odd trip, but at the end, I always get the warm fuzzies.

  11. Wow! Sounds like this story was executed perfectly! Fantastic review!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

    1. I definitely feel like Porter nailed the atmosphere and the ending