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Book Spotlight: Shade by Marilyn Peake

Shade by Marilyn Peake
Marilyn Peake

Shade by Marilyn Peake

Shade: Girl on a hero’s journey, going from smart-ass to badass.

Thanks to her offbeat mother, Shade’s full name is Galactic Shade Griffin. Having a name like that while being the new girl in school is pretty much catnip for bullies. The summer before Shade’s junior year of high school, her mother breaks up with yet another boyfriend and moves them once again to a new town.

This time, they move into a dilapidated old house where Shade has an entire attic bedroom to herself—at least until she discovers it’s haunted by the ghost of a teenaged boy named Brandon Yates. When Shade’s best friend goes missing, her life becomes even more complicated. With the help of Brandon who’s struggling with his own issues in the world beyond, Shade faces the question of whether or not she has what it takes to become a true hero.

SHADE is a YA novel.
Author’s website:


The summer before my junior year of high school, my mom left her third boyfriend since leaving my dad.

First of all, I have no idea why she left Dad. They married because she had gotten pregnant with me and they fought all the My name is Shade. Well, actually my birth name is Galactic Shade Griffin, thanks to my hippie chick mom. No matter how much time and energy Mom put into naming me Galactic Shade, I still resent being stuck with a name that leads to so much laughter during roll call at the beginning of each and every school year.

And having the last name Griffin doesn’t help. Since middle school, my last name has gotten me mocked even by some of the geeks, the ones who are into fantasy stuff. In seventh grade, it was explained to me that a griffin has the wings, head and front parts of an eagle and the body, hind legs and tail of a lion. I’ve been told I come from a family of weird fantasy creatures, mutant offspring of an eagle and lion, stuff like that. In eighth grade, I was called Gargoyle for the entire year.

According to my mother, she had been caught up in an unwanted pregnancy seventeen years ago—ummm, thanks, Mom, for letting me know about the “unwanted” part, since I was that pregnancy. Then, about three-quarters of the way through her gestation of me, she was suddenly struck by some sort of miraculous revelation by which she developed the belief that babies are incredibly special, the stuff of stars, magical dust of the galaxy, something like that, so she decided to name me Galactic. Going into labor at twilight, she gave me the middle name Shade.

My mother is flighty. There’s no denying that.

time, but I don’t know why she finally walked out the door and took me with her. Boredom, I guess. I was six years old when it happened—right in the middle of first grade. First grade was hell. My teachers couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me—I seemed bright, they all said, but my underperformance concerned them. It should’ve concerned Mom, too, but I think she just thought of it as one more burden she’d have to bear until the issue went away on its own. In the meantime, she smoked pot and took antidepressants. (It wasn’t until junior high school when I smelled pot some kids were smoking that I identified the kind of funny cigarettes my mom had smoked back when I was a little kid.)

Mom said Tony, her third boyfriend after leaving Dad, was boring. I never thought of him that way. He was actually a really nice guy. He was kind and thoughtful, and included me in most of their plans. So she left him. Took me on the road again, driving me away from my stable home life to who-knows-where in her rusty van.

As I moped in the passenger seat, we drove up to who-knows-what. It turned out to be a dilapidated old house, as unfriendly in appearance as the haunted house my friends and I visited for the sheer horror of it every Halloween. People dressed up in costumes and fake blood and jumped out at you, and we thought that was pretty cool. But I certainly didn’t want to live in a place like that.

We arrived close to midnight. The sky was pitch-black. The moon was a slice of light that disappeared behind clouds as Mom parked our van next to a broken curb. A shimmering planet stared at us and a few stars winked, but mostly the night had been plunged into darkness. As I opened my door, a strong wind gusted, blowing the sheets of paper on which I had been drawing and writing across the front yard. I ran after them. The wind grabbed the shutters and slammed them against the house, causing me to scream without thinking.

The house hated us. I hated this house. I swore I would never forgive my mother.

I gathered up the papers, one by one. My mother laughed. “What a night, huh, Shade?”

“Yeah, what a night.”

About the Author:

Marilyn Peake is the author of both novels and short stories. Her publications have received excellent reviews. Marilyn’s one of the contributing authors in BOOK: THE SEQUEL, published by The Perseus Books Group, with one of her entries included in serialization at THE DAILY BEAST. In addition, Marilyn has served as Editor of a number of anthologies. Her short stories have been published in seven anthologies and on the literary blog, GLASS CASES.

Awards: Silver Award, two Honorable Mentions and eight Finalist placements in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards, two Winner and two Finalist placements in the EPPIE Awards, Winner of the Dream Realm Awards, and eight Top Ten Finisher Awards in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll.

Marilyn Peake’s website:

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