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Shadows on the Wall (The York Trilogy) Paperback – 1992

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590465090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590465090
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 13.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,603,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The York Trilogy, of which this is the first book, is probably for slightly older readers than the 9 years set out in the description. That's not because of language or violence, (or scariness), but because the plot involves a fair amount of time travel and multiple characters who appear and reappear in slightly different guises during the course of the travel. It's not simple time travel, where the hero touches something or goes through a doorway and clearly ends up somewhere else. Rather, time periods and locations overlap, so that our hero may be in the here and now, but ghostly roman legions march by him, while the girl from then in her form as the girl from now is talking to him. You get the idea.

That said, if your reader is good at reading carefully, this is a very rewarding trilogy. The hero kid is neither ridiculously heroic nor annoyingly lame, but solid, average and identifiable. The trilogy is not about magic, in the witch and wizard sense, but about something more subtle and ambiguous - there is much more of a mythical feel to the story, which is sustained by the solid, suggestive and not overdone writing.

While it's not essential, it is a lot easier to follow the trilogy if the books are read in the right order, since each book is sort of a standalone, but themes, characters and plot points are developed over the course of the three books, and for the conclusion to be really satisfying I think you'd have to be familiar with the earlier books.

So, not your usual middle grade fantasy/ghost fare, but worth a look.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ac502f4) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ae8eba0) out of 5 stars Haunting 18 Jun. 2002
By EA Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Fans of ghosts, fantasy, history and haunting writing will find a gem in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Shadows on the Wall," the first book of the York trilogy.
Dan Roberts is unexpectedly plucked from his everyday life for a vacation in York, with his parents. He's delighted by the vacation, but puzzled by how his parents are acting. One minute they are gushing and effusive, the next cold and silent. He soon discovers why: His father has found that their familiy has a hereditary nerve disease called Huntington's Disease, which his father might have -- and might have passed on to him.
As Dan struggles with the knowledge that he might have a terrible disease, that might affect whether he can marry and have kids, he encounters a friendly cab driver named Joe Stanton, and a group of mysterious gypsies led by Ambrose Faw. The strange ways of the gypsies are intermingled with visions of Roman soldiers, and a mysterious feeling of dread that Dan gets every now and then. He is inclined to think the visions and dread are hallucinations -- but Joe sees them too...
Haunting writing abounds in this novel. Without a single word of dialogue, Naylor can provoke feelings of dread, mystery, sadness, fear, and surreality. Her dialogue is unpretentious and thoroughly ordinar, as you would expect a teenage boy and his friends and parents to talk; yet the reader can detect the undercurrents of emotion underneath them. Atmosphere is expertly done, especially in scenes with the gypsies. Their differences are noted but not judged, and she does a good job with Dan's reactions to such things as the casual planning of a funeral before the person is dead.
It's also interesting that she wove together two different kinds of "haunting." Dan is haunted by his fear of having Huntington's Disease, a very realistic fear. At the same time, we view Joe and Dan both seeing visions of the past, such as a mute gypsy boy momentarily transforming into a lime-covered primitive tribesman, or the face of a Roman appearing in a pond.
This book is the first of a trilogy, and it shows. Though it can be considered a standalone story in its own right, it nevertheless has a feeling of "to be continued" on the last pages. And there are threads left dangling that undoubtedly are picked up in the second and third book.
Fans of ghost stories will undoubtedly enjoy this book, and race to read "Faces in the Water" and "Footprints at the Window."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ad46af8) out of 5 stars Ghosts, time travel, old Roman England - tied together nicely 24 Oct. 2011
By Pop Bop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The York Trilogy, of which this is the first book, is probably for slightly older readers than the 9 years set out in the description. That's not because of language or violence, (or scariness), but because the plot involves a fair amount of time travel and multiple characters who appear and reappear in slightly different guises during the course of the travel. It's not simple time travel, where the hero touches something or goes through a doorway and clearly ends up somewhere else. Rather, time periods and locations overlap, so that our hero may be in the here and now, but ghostly roman legions march by him, while the girl from then in her form as the girl from now is talking to him. You get the idea.

That said, if your reader is good at reading carefully, this is a very rewarding trilogy. The hero kid is neither ridiculously heroic nor annoyingly lame, but solid, average and identifiable. The trilogy is not about magic, in the witch and wizard sense, but about something more subtle and ambiguous - there is much more of a mythical feel to the story, which is sustained by the solid, suggestive and not overdone writing.

While it's not essential, it is a lot easier to follow the trilogy if the books are read in the right order, since each book is sort of a standalone, but themes, characters and plot points are developed over the course of the three books, and for the conclusion to be really satisfying I think you'd have to be familiar with the earlier books.

So, not your usual middle grade fantasy/ghost fare, but worth a look.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bbd2954) out of 5 stars A book for people who like books about ghosts 28 Dec. 2000
By thesimsfan12@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The back of the book:
fifteen-year old Dan Roberts is confused about alot of things. Why did his parents decide they must suddenly take a juoney to York, England and why have they been acting so stangely since they arrived?
Beyond that, what is the sense of doom and draed Dan gets that Dan himself feels as he approches certain ancheint ruins in the City? Are the moving shadows he sees on the walls real, or just is he beginning to lose his mind?
And what of his new friend, the cab driver Joe Stanton, And their enconters with the gypsies? When they're together a stange sensation takes hold of Dan as the distant past melds with the present and dreams become reality.
If that doesnt intrige you what will?
HASH(0x9b4dbd38) out of 5 stars maybe a bit advanced for the intended audience 11 Feb. 2013
By Ionia Froment - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Don't get me wrong, I liked this book well enough. I'm just not sure this would be very good for the intended audience. The book itself is great. Packed with mystery and action and family secrets this would be a good read for an older teen. My problem with it is, that it starts out really clear but then quickly gets confusing and I see the younger end of the YA audience having a difficult time trying to sort it out. Otherwise, for an older child this would be wonderful.
HASH(0x9ab5b0cc) out of 5 stars Great book 14 Aug. 2012
By bkworm87 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Make sure that you do not read this story alone, but the trilogy. Alone it leaves way too many questions, although the point after reading them all is really to make you think. Where do dreams, history, your own fears and hopes intersect and seperate? Absolutely great book, easy to get sucked into.
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