Official Review: Welcome to Shadow Creek by Don Williams

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Official Review: Welcome to Shadow Creek by Don Williams

Post by CataclysmicKnight »

[Following is an official review of "Welcome to Shadow Creek" by Don Williams.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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I was a Boy Scout for most of my youth, and that experience taught me to hate camping. The bugs are terrible, dirt doesn't make a good bed no matter how thick your sleeping bag is, and it's always either too hot or too cold. Although I would never do it again, the magic of spending several days in nature with nothing but a cheap tent for protection is an experience I never want to forget.

With that said, I can fully endorse Welcome to Shadow Creek: April 1961 by Don Williams as the best way to go camping. Despite this being a fictional story, I could really feel the dirt under my feet as the boys walked, smell the campfire, taste the bologna sandwiches, and feel the exhaustion of a long day in my weary bones right along with the characters.

Welcome to Shadow Creek: April 1961 tells the story of Lib, a 15-year-old boy who's stuck going on a camping trip with his brother, a couple of his brother's friends, and his dad. Lib doesn't really fit in, though: he's a shy kid who has trouble spitting his words out when he gets nervous, and he'd be far happier reading than camping. But as the three-day trip goes on, Lib starts to let loose and enjoy himself. Better yet, as he bonds with and learns from his father, he starts gaining some self-confidence as well.

What stuck out to me the most about this book is just how descriptive Don is. Everything from the way breath smells to the wearing down of barbed-wire fences is given poetic descriptions. This is especially true of some of the magical things about camping, like Lib's first campfire. I was able to put myself in both Lib's and his dad's shoes, alternating between feeling Lib's nervousness and his father's pride at seeing Lib do something on his own for the first time. Lib's growth in the book is perfectly natural, and the way that Don blends Lib's imagination into the story is terrific. Lib talks to himself, animals, and even the trees from time to time, and he's quick to apply little stories to things he sees.

The way the teenagers are described is perfectly fitting too. All four boys genuinely seem like different people. Burl is the typical big brother, Foy (Burl's friend) is a bit of a braggadocious jerk, and Coy (Foy's twin brother) is far more laid back. The most ridiculous things happen while they horse around, trash talk, and challenge each other to various competitions.

Unfortunately, Welcome to Shadow Creek: April 1961 is a little too much like the camping trips I've been on. It goes on a bit too long, with nearly every moment detailed. Sporadically throughout the book, Lib picks up his book and reads about the adventures of Spud and Termite, which are written out for the reader as well. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat trick: we're removed from the camping trip in the same manner that Lib is. But if readers are going to be pulled away from the primary story, I would've preferred a better secondary story.

In addition to these negatives, I came across a dozen grammatical errors in the book. Despite that, I'd still consider it a well-edited book. The book is over 200 pages long, and the rest of the writing is exceptional. My rating of Welcome to Shadow Creek: April 1961 is 3 out of 4 stars. It felt like a slice of my childhood, and I'm rather stunned that a book could ever capture that feeling! I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA writing, camping, and/or stories about a teenager coming out of his shell and finding some self-confidence. There's no profanity or sex in the book whatsoever, making it safe for anyone to read.

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Post by D_A_M_Martinez »

It looks like an interesting book and the way it is described in the review really helps to know what to expect of the book. Nice review

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Post by Miller56 »

Thanks for the review. I grew up camping and my family still loves camping out every summer. I am sure that I would relate to the book. I also feel that I learned about myself during hikes and sitting around the fire. Nature teaches us about who we are. This sounds like a book to read.

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Post by Nizar Ali Shah »

A YA tale which revolves around a camping trip of a shy boy sounds lovely.Their family s and friends joint camping helps them alot and they get a good experience of life.The book is free from profanity and sex whatsoever and making it safe for any one to read.

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Post by Ferdinand_otieno »

This is a though-provoking coming of age Young Adult fiction story on the experience of camping, growth, maturity, and decisions. The book has a free sample on Amazon Kindle and has an inciteful OnlineBookClub review. I rated the book 3 out of 4 stars. Congrats on the BOTD.

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Post by rohit1parmar11 »

It is easy to understand what book really wants to say by this book review

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Post by Amy+++ »

I do not enjoy camping and I probably would not enjoy a book about camping. I am going to give this book a pass.

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Post by MsTri »

I actually do enjoy camping, quite a bit, but I'm not a fan of books that involve characters bonding or coming to better know themselves, so this one's a 'no' for me. Thanks for the review, anyhow.

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Post by cpru68 »

This sounds like the author really captured the charm of the era and how Lib’s experiences are so real. I’m not a big YA reader, so I’m passing on this one, but I appreciate the insight to help me make a good decision.
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Post by Everydayadventure15 »

A camping story sounds nice but I’m not a huge fan of YA books. I like books targeted towards an older audience.

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Post by Jsovermyer »

Welcome to Shadow Creek is a YA novel about a shy, stuttering boy who goes on a camping trip with his brother, his brother's two friends and his father. He would rather read his books instead of camping, but soon becomes entranced by the beauty of the wilderness. Congratulations to the author for his coming-of-age story that was chosen as BOTD. Thanks to the reviewer for your excellent review.

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Post by jemgirl202 »

This sounds like a perfect book for those who love camping or young adult novels. I do love how the author really captures the essence of nature with the descriptions. Congrats on the book of the day! Great review.

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Post by Vickie Noel »

Uh, no, I don't think this book is for me because I'm not really a fan of male bonding plots. It's great that Lib develops as a male, and I can imagine his father's pride. I may have been more interested in the boys' adventures if there was a hint of feminine energy somewhere, but that isn't the case. Nonetheless, I'm glad the book stunned you in a good way!
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth »

This sounds like a fun coming-of-age book not only about camping but about a boy finding himself. I love that this book is set in the outdoors and describes the camping trip in detail. It is too bad that it felt too detailed at times. Thanks for the great review!

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Post by Aditi Sapate »

I haven't ever been camping, but I still found this book to be a good read. I agree with you on the poetic descriptions. Even the smallest thing, like the open book stared up at the freckled face reading it, made me realise the immense potential this author has. If he could do away with the grammatical errors, it would be a perfect read!

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