The Shadows by Jacqueline West
Goodreads: The Shadows
Series: The Books of Elsewhere #1
Summary: Olive Dunwoody and her parents have moved into a Victorian mansion. The rooms are full of antiques and the corners are full of shadows, but the house holds many more secrets than Olive could have imagined. She thinks she has found an exciting world of magic when she discovers she can enter the paintings on the walls, but something much more sinister is lurking in them—and it wants her family to leave.
Review: The Shadows drops readers straight into a deliciously creepy story where the reclusive owner of a mysterious mansion has died and the Dunwoodys move in, unaware of all the secrets and danger that the old house possesses. Things start happening right away, as Olive begins exploring her new home, and surprises continue to appear in every chapter. Readers are introduced to a secondary magical world of paintings, where can things move and yet always stay the same, as well as to a cast of endearing characters—and a few terrible villains. The book is the perfect mixture of dark and quirky, making it spine-tingling but not so scary readers will have trouble sleeping or walking through their own dark homes.
Olive eventually wraps up most of the problems of the mansion, leaving the story satisfyingly complete. There are just enough loose ends to entice readers onto the next book, but continuing the series is unnecessary for those who enjoy standalones. Personally, I think Olive and her friends (whom you’ll have to read The Shadows to meet!) are more than enough reason to keep reading.