Good news

Chasing Shadows was released on September 24, 2013, from Knopf BFYR. Prior to publication, it became a November 2013 Junior Library Guild selection, and it has three starred reviews. Publisher's Weekly has given it a starred review for being a "superb novel about grief, friendship, and mental illness (that) avoids any pretense of easy, happy answers or shortcuts, offering a painful and realistic vision of the aftershocks of a horrific moment of violence."

Kirkus Reviews also published a starred review, noting "Phillips’ masterful dream illustrations, marked by fluid, bold lines and strong angles that create impeccable clarity and movement", saying that "Avasthi deftly weaves story elements and narrative techniques—two narrators, the graphic portions and even a flawlessly executed second-person passage—to create a rich portrait of friendship and the depths of reality-shattering grief", and calling the novel "haunting, mesmerizing and intense."

School Library Journal has published a starred review as well, saying that readers will "appreciate this book’s themes and its hybrid format that alternates chapters from Savitri’s and Holly’s points of view in both compelling text and adept black-and-white graphics–graphics that ultimately deliver a sad and powerful twist."

Booklist has said that Chasing Shadows is "bold and unique. Avasthi continues to impress."

Lists and Awards

Finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

Finalist for the Florida Teens Read Award.

YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2014

YALSA Outstanding Books for the College Bound 2014

Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year 2014

Illinois State Read for a Lifetime 2014-2015

Kirkus Best Teen Graphic Novels of 2013

Kirkus Best Teen Love Stories of All Kinds 2013

Kirkus Best Experimental Teen Books 2013

Kirkus Book Gift Ideas for Adults Who Love Teen Books

Around the web

Selected Blog Posts and Reviews

October 21st, 2013 ~ Author Interview on The Nocturnal Library ~ "The biggest challenge was getting the inner editor to step aside and just create."

October 18th, 2013 ~ Book Review on Fanciful Tidbits of YA Books ~ "The writing was excellent, and the merging between text and illustrations was seamless and intriguing."

October 16th, 2013 ~ Book Review on A Patchwork of Books ~ "I knew this author had a talent I wanted to follow, but this book has taken it to a whole other level."

October 14th, 2013 ~ Book Review on Story Pushers ~ "Ms. Avasthi does an amazing job of balancing all the characters, of weaving past and present, of taking the reader through grief, fear, anger and mental illness, bringing all the pieces together."

October 13th, 2013 ~ Book Review on YA Reads ~ "Every now and then, I find a contemporary book that I fall head over heels in love with. This was one of those books."

September 29th, 2013 ~ Book Review on What's On The Bookshelf ~ "I read the best book of the year today."

September 27th, 2013 ~ Random Buzzers Author Visit Recap ~ "Swati wrote Chasing Shadows throughout the course of five years."

September, 2013 ~ Guest Post on Diversity in YA ~ "Maybe not every first gen’s experienced uneven interracial friendships, but it was mine. And, as it turns out, maybe that’s enough."

Release Blog Tour

October 11th, 2013 ~ Guest Post on Pirate Penguin's Reads ~ "Behind [freerunning], there is a deep philosophy about respecting your environment, about staying young and loving movement, freedom, and invention, about play and expression and challenge."

October 10th, 2013 ~ Guest Post on Stacked ~ "In a time of life when I had no idea who I was as a person, who I wanted to be growing up, and who I was as a girlfriend, I knew that one truth. I came of age as a friend. More than boyfriends, more than athletics, more than even writing, the thing I was sure of was my friendships."

October 8th, 2013 ~ Guest Post on For What It's Worth ~ "Because if we really want superheroes for our girls, we need to create more than a token single hero. We need a multitude so that girls can find themselves in their heroes, whoever they are."

October 7th, 2013 ~ Review on Stacked ~ "This is a book that will linger in my mind for a long time, and it's one that solidifies Avasthi as a must-read author for me. She gets tough contemporary YA so right."

October 6th, 2013 ~ Guest Post on The Children's Book Review ~ "A good editor is a like a bridge from the writer’s vision to the reader’s desk."

October 5th, 2013 ~ Author Interview on Holes In My Brain ~ "I find it easier to write characters who are more unlike me than those ones who are like me."

October 3rd, 2013 ~ Review on Imaginary Reads ~ "This is a thrilling, exciting new read. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy a good psychological YA read."

October 2nd, 2013 ~ Guest Post on A Patchwork of Books ~ "The idea to tell this story in part prose and part graphics came from five disparate places: 1) a book I was reading 2) a question 3) a story 4) a memory and 5) a challenge."

October 1st, 2013 ~ Review and Guest Post on Bookish ~ Review - "With an engaging story line, beautiful illustrations, and wonderfully written prose, Chasing Shadows will stay with you long after you finish the last page." Guest Post - "Imagination is our tool to reconcile that which we can’t understand. Or those things we aren’t equipped to understand when they are presented to us. Write what you know? Write what you want to know. "

September 30th, 2013 ~ Author Interview on Page Turners Blog ~ "All writers have a certain psychological territory that they return to, even if the form and genre and everything else change. I find myself interested in how people recover from violence and I’m really inspired by those who do."

September 29th, 2013 ~ Author Interview on Alice Marvels ~ "By putting the darkness on the page, I keep it out of my life. And *chuckling evilly* let it enter yours."

September 27th, 2013 ~ Book Review on Holes In My Brain ~ "I really think Chasing Shadows is special."

September 25th, 2013 ~ Author Interview on The The Enchanted Inkpot ~ "I wrote [Chasing Shadows] in girls' voices because I feel like friendships, more than boyfriends who sort of came and went, were more of how I came of age."

September 25th, 2013 ~ Author Interview on The Hiding Spot ~ "Working in the theater...really shaped my writing. I think of characters as whole people whose desires drive the action of the story and that comes from the theatrical notions of superobjectives, objectives, tactics, and beats."

September 24th, 2013 ~ Author Interview on Wastepaper Prose ~ "Friendship in the face of violence is a very powerful thing -- perhaps even more important than the violence itself."



I turn my head and look out my side window, taking in the street.

And I see...Everything Change.

Time sl-o-o-ws. Sounds stop as my brain captures images, frame by frame.

My mouth goes bone-dry. I can't manipulate my tongue to say anything, not even to scream.

All the words I've ever known...






Lights and motion everywhere.

I watch as they tend to Holly and Corey in a flurry of movement and sound. They will be all right now; they are safe now.

I start backing up, back and back, when something rolls under my foot and I land hard on the pavement. I get on my hands and knees and find what I slipped on. A metal shard that has writing on it. I pick it up and read: S&W 9 MM. My hands jerk away from the bullet casing and it clinks on the ground.

Somehow this - not the blood that is cooling and drying on my skin; not how they pulled Corey out onto the street and started chest compressions, his body jerking under their hands; not how they strapped Holly's head between two cushions, her face framed in red - this shell lying on the pavement, this small piece of metal, takes me apart.

I start screaming and screaming and screaming.


Savitri, Corey, and Holly are fearless freerunners. They vault over walls, flip from parapets, and leap from building to building. Invincible. Until a killing fractures their world. Told in images and prose, Chasing Shadows is about what happens when language fails – when words can’t contain grief, can’t bridge to a splintering girl, and when they can’t bring back the dead.


Official Trailer

Freerunning Footage (Fight or Flight Academy)

Trailer Remix

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