Evelyn Gonzales is a teenage girl who is placed in a psychiatric institution by her sister Olive after experiencing the loss of June, whose story is slowly revealed. After six months, Evelyn is released into the care of Olive, who has moved them into a new apartment in a new town and has enrolled Evelyn in a new school. On her first day of school, Evelyn meets Matt, who quickly becomes her best friend. She also keeps running into Brody, the mysterious boy who happens to live in the same apartment building. With the help of her sister, her counselor, her employer, and her two new friends, will Evelyn eventually become whole again?
Evelyn's mixed German and Mexican heritage provides for some interesting cultural references throughout the book. There is a handy glossary of Spanish and German terms at the end; it would be more helpful if the words were hyperlinked to the definitions, although using the "search in book" function works adequately. I would also prefer the non-English words to be italicized, even though the author explains her reasons for not doing so at the end of the book.
There are a number of issues with plot and characterization. Evelyn presents as a strong young woman and doesn't seem the type to need institutionalizing for six months. Her sister Olive doesn't come across as realistic and is, in fact, too good to be true. The relationships between Evelyn and Matt and Brody are not believable. Everything seems to happen too quickly, with not enough conflict, and with all of the issues being resolved too easily. There are also numerous editing errors throughout, including incorrect word usage and punctuation errors.
While the story kept me reading, and the underlying message in the book is positive, I was left wanting more.
I received this book in return for an honest review.
Full blog post: http://booksdirectonline.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/the-shadow-of-loss-by-josefina-gutierrez.html