Thursday, 24 May 2012

Shadow Web - N.M.Browne

I've read this book about 3/4 times now. Everytime I read it, I notice something different, it just shows how well crafted this book is. It's a book I read every year, I cannot get bored of this book because of the way I see something different, and I love reading about Jess and Johnny,

Synopsis: After searching herself on the internet during a break from a history essay, sixteen-year-old Jess Allendon from Shene, London finds another Jessica Allendon, from Shene, that is sixteen-years-old. She agrees to meet up with her at Waterloo. One minute she is approaching her doppelgänger, the next she is being shooed away from the 'first-class entrance' because of her skimpy clothes. Suddenly, she is trapped in a London which looks as if it's from an era long past, but the year is 2008. And the other Jessica has been playing a very dangerous game in his secretive and dangerous version of London that's landed Jess is a dangerous web that she needs to sort out. Fast.

Review: This book for me, has everything. There is action, feelings, romance, secrets, adventure, twists and turns and if it was a movie, I'd be on the edge of my seat. I love the character of Jess and the book follows her growing up and becoming mature and appreciate her own world which is better that Jessica's. She comes to the world completely disoriginated as you would expect and has to learn quickly about Jessica's life, work and past in order to do the right thing and for people not to notice she is different. There are lots of things that Jess does that the reader and herself in HER London would never think twice about but in Jessica's London, this is different and soon, Jess is in trouble.

The world itself is so interesting and it has puzzled me MANY times about what this parallel world is. From reading N.M.Browne's view on writing the book (you can see this on her website), the world shown is one where there have been no World Wars. That's right, I'm sure most people think while studying World War I or World War II 'I wonder what would have happened if they had never have happened?', 'I wonder what would have happened if England had lost?' Well, here's your answer. The world heavily features German aspects making it obvious of the world that has been created. When Jess walks into the house that there is a painting by 'A Hitler', which Jess remarks 'What an unfortunate name'. But there is no mention of Hitler or of wars that we would understand because here, they didn't happen or if they did, they were less significant than in Jess's real London. Women under 30 don't have the vote, there are various important links with Germany through the royal family and a traditional greeting is 'Guten Tag' (this is a formal greeting in Germany meaning 'good day'). It's funny and really makes you think about this alternative life that may or may not be happening right now.

Jess could be seen as a little bit annoying. At times in the past I have admittingly thought 'MAN UP'. It is true that Jess seems nothing like a heroine of the novel as she turns out to be and she has more to contend with than her doppelgänger.
I really like Johnny. When he comes out of his shell a little bit more, he seems very passionate, down-to-earth and cares about Jessica's well being despite not really liking her. I've read in some reviews that people think he seems much older than 17. I have to agree - he does seem like he is in his early 20s rather than the same age than me. But this fits with both his personality in this and the world that Jess is in.

Overall, this book is one that I love now and will keep on loving every time I read it. It has everything for me at least. Read it, if you haven't read it before, I'm pretty sure any teenager can relate to the woes and situation of Jess a little bit, even if she is in a different world. You won't regret it. Just don't google your name!

I give it a 5 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 312
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Challenges: BBC


  1. You see I do very occasionally google my name too and I was pleased to find that you liked my book!
    I live in Richmond so I wanted to include some local history. It looked very different at the turn of the century with loads of country houses and I based the alternate Richmond on the pictures I found in various local publications.
    Nicky ( NMBrowne)

  2. Oh Sorry. I just found this going through my blog.
    haha, well, yes...I have googled my name before too.
    Yeah I can imagine. I once did this project on the history of Twickenham and Richmond and saw some of the old pictures. Now, thinking about it, I can see how it was like Jessica's world.
    I loved this book so much. It was just...different. In a good way.
    Thanks for commenting :)


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