Dark Shade is a time traveling story with all sorts of potential. Sixteen year old Maggie Gilmour, honor student and future vet, becomes curious when her friend Kip starts withdrawing more and more after a fire killed his parents. On one of her walking excursions with her dog Digby, Maggie stumbles across a stream that somehow transports her back two hundred years, and discovers that Kip has been escaping his painful present by frequently venturing into the past. But will their presence back in time mess with the current age? Will Maggie's help for the stricken soldier she encounters lead her entire family history astray?
I wanted to like this short book and yet so much was missing. There were passages devoted to the disappointments and expectations Maggie's mother foists on her and yet that is never fully developed. Kip, while obviously suffering from his injuries in the present day, thinks nothing of leaving his remaining family to live with the Lenape Indians he encounters in the past. And so much happens in the past yet only minutes pass in the real world. I also wondered as to the intended audience for this book; with a sixteen year old protagonist, I felt the book should have been aimed for older teens and yet the entire feel of the book was decidedly children's literature.
It's not that this is a bad book; it is quick and readable and does give an accurate (right down to the often unpronounceable names) look at the evaporating Lenape tribe. It's just that so many themes were not explored after their introduction or simply glossed over quickly. I just don't think it would have a lot of appeal to many young readers.