Review: 'Shadow Walkers' By Brent Hartinger

In a science fiction novel aimed at younger readers titled Shadow Walkers, a boy searches for his kidnapped brother taking advantage of his ability to travel across the astral plain. He meets another astral traveler and the two team up to find the missing brother and battle mysterious creatures.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

It's not often our book reviewer, Alan Cheuse, recommends something for young readers. But today, he has high praise for a piece of young adult sci-fi. The book is "Shadow Walkers" by Brent Hartinger.

ALAN CHEUSE: Sometimes, you pick up a novel that hits a narrative sweet spot, and "Shadow Walkers" is one of these. It's a young adult science fiction novel about an adolescent gay kid who lives with his younger brother, Gilbert, and their grandparents on a wooded island in Puget Sound.

Zach, the narrator, has been flirting with the notion of astral projection - that's out-of-the-body travel - because, on his island, there's not much else to flirt with, except a very straight boy from his school.

When his brother gets kidnapped, off Zach goes into the ether, in search of him, flying in the astral realm many miles over the Sound on his quest for the missing Gilbert.

Along the way, up in the air, over water and forest, he encounters another out-of-the-body traveler, who happens to be gay himself. And the two of them team up in the hopes of finding Gilbert.

They also meet up with a vicious and soul-devouring monster of the ether who wants to chomp on Zach. Me, I just devoured the book, a good story for any age.

NORRIS: And the book is Brent Hartinger's "Shadow Walkers." Alan Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. His latest novel is "Song of Slaves in the Desert."

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