Read Casting Shadows Everywhere by L.T. Vargus Online

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In his own words, 15 year old Jake is a “huge pussy.” He flinches. Always. He's too timid to make a move on Beth, the buxom girl of his dreams, and too busy getting face-slammed into lockers by bullies to do much else. He seeks the guidance of the biggest badass he knows, his cousin Nick.Nick is a professional burglar and makes Jake his apprentice. They stalk suburban neigIn his own words, 15 year old Jake is a “huge pussy.” He flinches. Always. He's too timid to make a move on Beth, the buxom girl of his dreams, and too busy getting face-slammed into lockers by bullies to do much else. He seeks the guidance of the biggest badass he knows, his cousin Nick.Nick is a professional burglar and makes Jake his apprentice. They stalk suburban neighborhoods night after night, ransacking houses for jewelry and sweet valuables. Nick teaches Jake the finer points of breaking and entering along with his dark philosophy - that there is no right or wrong in the world, just a series of events that happen without meaning.At first, adopting Nick's callous worldview helps Jake get over his fears and confront his tormentors, but he also unleashes an aggression in himself he never thought possible. And as he learns more about his cousin, he realizes that Nick's crimes go way beyond burglary.In the end, Jake must face not only the monster in his cousin but also the one in his own heart....

Title : Casting Shadows Everywhere
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781490329956
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 248 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Casting Shadows Everywhere Reviews

  • Patricia Hamill
    2018-11-21 00:30

    Great story! Both surprising and clever.Casting Shadows Everywhere is a story that takes the form of a journal. The narrator is a 15 year old boy called Jake. The opening scene captures an early memory Jake has of his Cousin Nick rescuing him from a bully by nearly choking his attacker to death, a frightening start to a story I entered into without having read the description or any reviews or ratings. Yes, I went into this one blindly, didn't even know what genre the book was. I do remember jumping over to Smashwords to pick up a copy when the author posted a free coupon on a message board, months ago. I'm always up for a freebee, after all. Anyway, I blindly got my copy, forgot about getting it for a few months and then, coming off a slew of YA fiction, vampires, and romance, came across this one again. The catchy red and black cover, featuring a long shadow, stood out, though the title gave me few clues to what I was in for. So, all that being said, my verdict is this: wow!I love this story. It combines psychology, thrills, coming of age, and humor into a package that just works. Random asides, musings, wonderings, and sometimes even nonsense pepper the work, as someone would do in a personal journal. I loved every one. The parting entry, in particular, left me in tears from laughing so hard, but humor is only one element of the package. Jake, the perpetual victim, wants to stand up for himself, but always finds himself backing down. He likes a girl called Beth, but lacks the confidence to connect with her. Overall, he's a pushover, and he knows it. He hates it. Then one day his Cousin Nick offers to give him lessons in confidence. Dangerous lessons. Despite misgivings, Jake keeps coming back, enraptured by the thrill of life and confidence they inspire. He finally stands up for himself, becomes friends with Beth, and learns to believe in himself. Watching Jake gain confidence, I found myself both cheering him on and worrying about the direction he was taking. His cousin, despite being his rescuer and role model, is amoral, violent and downright scary. Jake's outlook continues to darken and draws you in deeper and deeper into the shadows with him, all building up to one of the most memorable climactic moments I've ever read. I was utterly in shock, mouth hanging open, literally (as in the correct usage of that word). I couldn't believe what I was reading, and I couldn't stop. I had to know what happened, even though I dreaded what seemed the inevitable conclusion.Overall, I'd say this is a must read for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller with an edge of humor, all delivered in a realistic package. It's not the type of book I normally read, but I loved it. It's been several days since I finished it, and I still find myself musing over it.

  • Valerie Vigoda
    2018-12-13 02:38

    I couldn't put this book down. (I mean, I couldn't put my phone down while I was reading it on the Kindle for Android.) I found out about L.T. Vargus by chance on Twitter, tried the free sample and was immediately hooked. I see that some reviewers think this book has a slow start. AU CONTRAIRE: I was addicted instantly - I mean, come on! This is a fantastic opening paragraph, catnip for thriller-lovers: "Killing someone is a lot harder than you'd imagine. Physically harder, I mean. On TV a guy strangles someone for like 5 seconds and the body slumps to the ground in a heap of dead just like that. In real life, it takes so long you wouldn't believe it. See, I saw someone get strangled when I was 9." How could you NOT keep reading?L.T. Vargus makes you root for the relatively passive main character of Jake - who gets sucked into crime and nastiness by his sociopathic cousin - even when he's at his worst and least admirable. Her language is vivid (tight pants on a man are described as "smuggling plums"), her voice is unique - and FUNNY, despite the dark content - and I'm a new fan.

  • Sheri
    2018-11-21 04:24

    Casting Shadows Everywhere (L.T. Vargus)Fifteen year old Jake is an outcast. Picked on by his peers and lacking in self esteem. He has a major crush on a beautiful girl named Beth, she is his dream girl, the one that boys like him can never have.Jake's older cousin Nick is the opposite. He is a "professional burglar" with a bad attitude and the theory that there is no right or wrong in the world, things just happen. Nick is quick to take Jake under his wing and teach him his criminal trade.Jake eagerly wants the acceptance and his new role in Nicks life does help boost Jakes self esteem. But soon he starts to question himself and his cousin, and he wonders if there is something sinister that motivates Nick to do what he does, and as Jake gets closer to the truth he may not like what he finds out.A fast paced read, with some laugh out loud moments, a lot of teen age reality and criminal intents. I would recommend to YA readers as well as adults. I would love to read more by L.T. Vargus.

  • Monti
    2018-11-20 04:23

    This book felt to me as if it had shades of both Fight Club, and the Basketball Diaries.The story, while divided into chapters, is written as if it were diary entries, but without the dates. As you read the book, it starts of slow, with the main character, Jake wanting to change his life and be "less of a pussy".As I read through the beginning, I became more and more enraptured with Jake's life wanting to know what odd lesson he was going to learn next. Towards the end there were three big plot twists that left me with my mouth hanging open, not really believing what I had read. Each one topped the one before it.I was impressed with the author at conveying the journal (Boys keep journals, not diaries, right?) of an articulate fifteen year old boy. The thoughts and writings seemed age appropriate. I could easy believe that I was reading something from a fifteen year old's point of view. Something that some writers aren't able to capture. I wouldn't necessarily consider this a young adult book, due to some of the language and content though.My main genres of reading tend toward science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal. I am glad I made this diversion though, as I enjoyed the read.

  • Danny Tyran
    2018-11-16 05:51

    Amazing novel in the form of a teenage boy's diary. I don't know whether the author is very young, but she succeeded to give to Jake, her MC, a very realistic teenage voice. The diary too feels real. This is full of this kind of things a teenager would write in his/her diary with a mix of questions about the meaning of life. And this is not dull at all. Since Jake is trained to become a thief by his cousin Nick, there is a little suspense too. His thinking about life or people often made me smile or laugh.Sometimes, it's as if Jake is chatting with us. He stops writing because he gets a phone call from his mother. And when he gets back on writing, he comments the call in his diary. Or he has to take a leak. When he continues his story, he types "Back." Then he goes on with the account of his adventures of the day or with his reflections on life. He tells us his dreams and nightmares too and what he finds interesting in his psychology courses. It could have been like a patchwork of petty events and thoughts, but everything is linked together by these philosophical or sociological thoughts. I loved it!

  • Alain Miles
    2018-12-16 05:48

    'Young Adult', the author labels it. But I'm not going to be buying 'Casting Shadows Everywhere' for any 14-year-old I know this Christmas. The story creeps and tiptoes into dark, scary places where 'there ain't no right or wrong' and 'reality is the only true nightmare'. It's a dead-eyed view of morality. No role-models here. No happy endings.But what a beginning for L.T Vargus! For me, this is the debut novel of the year.Jake is a gangling, angst-ridden 15-year old who knows he's a pussy, one of life's victims. If there's a bully on the scene, it's Jake that gets picked on. He knows he'll never have any luck with girls, not even Beth, who doesn't tune out when he starts talking about video games. What Jake needs is someone to help him stand up for himself. What he gets is big cousin Nick.Under Nick's expert tutelage, Jake gets practical lessons in street-crime. Starting with shoplifting (Gelly Roll Stardust Bold Galaxy pens), moving onto house-breaking ... and beyond.But Nick's a philosophical hoodlum: each lesson reinforces his nihilistic beliefs: 'None of it means nothin'. There is just things that happen ... When we drop bombs on people, that is good. When other people drop bombs on us or blow shit up, that is evil. It's all a joke. It ain't real.'Does it work? Hell yes. The act of crime shows Jake that anything really is possible, makes him 'feel alive as a man can feel'. He starts beating up on the bullies. He gets to date Beth - even though he still agonizes about whether to sit next to her or across the table at 'Pasta Pasta'. Things are looking up.The whole story's told through Jake's journal, and Vargus does an outstanding job of capturing the authentic tone, style, nuances of a smart, streetwise 15-year-old. Never once does she falter or step out of character. Sometimes there's inspired imagery, but the words are always Jake's not some third-party author's:'We were silent for a moment, the sky blackening around us like burnt chicken skin.'Impressive too was the story construction. No formula narrative, this: Vargus is happy to let the diary meander through apparently unrelated episodes and experiences - lessons from Jake's psychology class, hanging out with the semi-autistic kid, descriptions of dreams - and it's only as the story ends that we realize every little patch has been expertly quilted together.What I'll remember most, though, was the challenge to my comfortable moral assumptions. Like Jake, I know it's all wrong, but Vargus gets me to sense the thrill of living on the dark side. I found myself nodding along with some of Nick's perverse logic. Can I agree with Jake's summary towards the end? (modified to comply with review guidelines)'Life is way too f****** short, so leap straight for the goddamn jugular while you've got the chance, I say.'I don't know.

  • Liz
    2018-12-05 21:34

    That was a quick read... and weird as hell... I might have skipped about 15 pages in total... There was so many different things yet none to the story? I don't know. So, your man... Jake, has been bullied all his life. His dad is gone, his older cousin Nick becomes his role model... well.. a role model in stealing... but he's also a bit of an enigma, because he only reads non-fiction and I think, in the end, the reality of what the world really is just turned him into who he was. Smart, but brutal. Then there's Beth. Yeah, there's always a girl. We stop on some school drama, popular girl hierarchy.There's snippets of psychology. Got properly schooled... even though I knew most of that stuff... it seemed like the writer wanted to seem smart and put those snippets in there. To use their intelligence and knowledge? No bad in that. It's all good knowledge. Parts where I read about Jake's dreams... I read it, but I pushed myself to finish. Yet it was kind of interesting, too?! Confused.

  • Bandit
    2018-12-09 05:28

    Surprisingly decent for what it was, that is a Portrait of Sociopath as a Young Man sort of thing. Only not quite, because either for personal reasons or in keeping with a YA line of books with morals the authors actually do a 180 toward the end with the always lame...and then he woke up. Up until that point the story is consistent and consistently good, even after that point the morality is handed down pretty reasonably, it's just the pivot point is so terribly trite and unoriginal. Still though this story of a smart teen loner getting mentored into a sociopathic nihilistic way of life was well written and entertaining. The moral obviously being that sociopathic nihilism isn't the way to go. Pretty fun read and a good introduction to new authors who, excitingly enough, have moved on to adult geared literature.

  • Alexis
    2018-12-02 04:42

    Holy crap! The main character's voice hooked me right away with a weird blend of funny, detached and dark. I laughed out loud a few times and got creeped out at others. Early on the action was pretty light and amusing, but by the end there were some really intense, suspenseful scenes that had me teetering on the edge of my toilet seat. So yeah, it was rad.

  • Wendy
    2018-11-18 05:46

    WOW!! Shocking!! Twists you never see coming. I just couldn't put it down.

  • Gabby
    2018-11-26 21:30

    I was given a free copy of Casting Shadows Everywhere by LTVargas in return for which I agreed to do a review.CSE is Jake's story. He is 15 years old, and, for me, he is a mash-up between Holden Caufield and Lenny from Of Mice and Men. When Jake decides to keep a written journal, we become aware of all his thoughts which become influenced by his cousin, Nick.Nick has a somewhat twisted notion of life. Kind of an, "is that all there is" spin, and no matter what the subject or issue, for Nick it's just a load of crap. Jake begins his journal by telling us, "killing someone is a lot harder than you'd imagine." He got to reach that conclusion from his association with Nick. When Jake is in trouble because he won't stand up for himself during some bullying from his classmates, Nick is there coaching him on how to rise above life's problems and be the one in control.Jake is fixated on pondering the meaning of life and how it all fits together. In his black and white world, if he can just get a handle on how and why everything works the way it does, he can then move on to the next big thing. He analyzes everything from how the right and left sides of the brain process information so differently to why McDonald's has successful marketing campaigns. But in the end, he only manages to see that nothing really matters because it's all a load of crap. I loved L T Vargas' descriptions of Jake's thought processes. By the time he finishes one of his explanations for how he arrives at the conclusions he reaches, I'm almost convinced that he does present a certain amount of logic to his arguments. This is what reminded me of Holden Caufield. Both these boys could reduce any subject to its simplest components and almost convince me they saw the subject rationally.Rationality left Jake when he began what Nick thought of as Jake's training sessions. Nick believes all Jake needs is a little coaching in how life really is, and Nick is the perfect mentor for him. This is where the story really takes off. There is an underlying sense of dread each time Nick wants to meet with Jake to further his lessons.L T Vargas has very good insight into what a teenaged boy thinks about by really getting into his head with nothing held back. That is not a place I'd want to visit often. But just about the time I thought Jake was lost forever in the twisted mind set of Nick's tutelage, something would bring him back to rational thinking again. Throughout this book it's as though a constant battle is being waged for ownership of Jake's soul. It isn't until the very end with some unique twists and turns along the way before we discover what kind of life Jake will choose for himself, and whether or not it really does all boil down to a load of crap.It would be interesting to revisit Jake in ten years or so just to see how he feels then about what he said and did when he was fifteen years old. I don't know if L T Vargas has such a sequel in mind, but in the meantime, I hope more books from this talented author are forthcoming. I'll be among the first in line to read whatever follows this book.

  • Dale Ibitz
    2018-12-07 22:21

    Holy cow, this book was not what I was expecting. So first,don't judge this book by its cover. This book was awesome!The voice in this book was so strong, so realistic, and so like a 15 year-old boy, that I assumed the author was male. She's not. It was amazing, and I was completely caught up in Jake's story. It's written like a journal, so you have a lot of Jake's internalization about his life and what he's feeling and thinking, but it's also written as though he's currently experiencing these events. You can't help but like and feel for Jake, and when he starts going down that dark path, you're screaming in your head, "What are you doing, Jake? Don't do it, Jake!" I swear the kid has ADD. It's totally funny how his thoughts get distracted when he's writing in his journal. Nick is a contradiction. You think he has Jake's best interest at heart, but towards the end you realize that Nick is not what he seems. He's a low-brow charmer, and it's easy to see how he can manipulate Jake into believing his dark philosophy. Even as a reader reading how Nick views the world, it's so close to the truth that you think he's onto something profound, until he tips over the edge into unrealistic assumptions and thoughts.The twist toward the end had my eyes bugging and my mouth dropping open. I almost couldn't believe what I was reading and totally wasn't expecting the book to end the way it did. I loved the way the story veered sharply off the road and took me somewhere I wasn't planning on going.There's a bit of violence, so if that's not your thing, you might not like it quite as much as I did. But if you can handle it, this is a must-read for young adult contemporary suspense. I've already recommended it to both my kids, and that's saying something.

  • Emily
    2018-11-20 00:31

    15 year old Jake is searching for meaning, control, and a role-model in his life. He doesn't have much to choose from. In his rambling, slang-filled journal entries he considers how he's always been a victim and begins to learn from his sociopathic older cousin, Nick, how to be "less of a pussy." As he's drawn into Nick's criminal enterprise, he learns confidence but also loses empathy. Jake's a pretty smart kid. It's interesting how he goes from a profanity-laden rant to philosophic musings in the space of a paragraph. The author has really captured the stream-of-consciousness, nearly conversational way of speaking and thinking of this lower-class teenager. Jake's a character study and an exploration on socio-economics and personal growth, but this isn't your average coming-of-age tale. I wouldn't recommend it for teen readers for fear they'd over-identify with Jake and emulate his behavior. The story builds with suspense, and a maternal reader really begins to fear for the protagonist. A fake-out near the end is almost too much, but it's reigned back in satisfactorily. Overall, this is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed the peek into a different kind of story.

  • Safie
    2018-11-24 00:43

    I have to admit, I chose to read Casting Shadows Everywhere because I liked the title. Then I began it with a little bit of trepidation, because from the very first chapter, the dark themes inherent in the book's plot become evident. It is about a bullied teenager, Jake, who is given life lessons by his cousin, Nick, whom we first encounter when he tries to strangle somebody. I like novels with dark themes, but not always; and I was a little bit afraid that this book would turn out to be depressingly grim.My fears were unfounded, however. Although Nick's lessons lead Jake down a progressively ominous path, the book is never dour. In fact, it is an absorbing and entertaining read, thanks mostly to the high quality of the writing. I was surprised to discover that this book is L. T. Vargus's first novel; she writes with a consummate professionalism. Casting Shadows Everywhere is an intelligent and interesting book, and I am looking forward to reading more work from this writer in the future.

  • Georgiann Hennelly
    2018-12-01 23:51

    Jake is fifteen years old and an outcast. His peers pick on him and he is lacking self esteem. He has a crush on Beth she is beautiful and is his dream girl, the ones guys like him never seem to get. Nick is Jakes older cousin and he is the complete opposite of Jake. He is a professional Burglar" with a bad attitude and believes that there is no right and wrong, things just happen. Nick quickly takes Jake under his wing and teaches him how to be a burglar. Jake eagerly wants Nicks acceptance, and Nicks acceptance of Jake boosts Jakes self esteem. But soon Jake begins to question himself and his cousin., he wonders if there is something sinister that motivates Nick to do what he does, and when Jake begins to get closer to the truth he may not like what he finds. A fast paced read with some laugh out loud moments. I highly recommend for ya as well as adult readers. I would love to read more books by L.T Vargus

  • Mark Victor Young
    2018-12-06 23:30

    It was really good. I'm a little gob-smacked by the ending still, but I think I enjoyed it a lot. I feel somewhat uncertain about it, because it was two thirds of a great book, followed by one sixth that lurched off in an unwelcome direction and had me questioning the author, and finally ends off with one sixth that brings it home in a really thought-provoking fashion. Although I was jarred out of my comfort zone for a bit and still not sold on the unwelcome sixth of the book completely, the absolute authenticity of the narrative voice is what makes the book without question. The main character and narrator is perfect as a bit of an outsider and over-analyzer, just trying to make sense of the world. Brilliant piece by piece character development is what kept me in it to the end. Well done!

  • Karen
    2018-11-26 04:31

    I could not get into this story for some reason I cannot explain. I found the kid Jake to be boring beyond words and I could not connect with him or any of the other characters. I got the idea that he was a wuss and his cousin was supposed to be teaching him how to cope in the world. The problem is I knew the cousin was either a sociopath or psychopath from the first time he was mentioned and it wasn't much of a leap to seeing the kid take on his characteristics. It took me a while to read it because I kept stopping the reading to do other things, which means it was not keeping me interested.I can say it did not work for me but does not mean that it would not be perfect for someone else. I say at least give it a try and see for yourself.

  • Jamie
    2018-12-12 03:34

    Awesome book! I loved it. Vargus is the master of plot twists - not huge crazy ones that make you go "WHAT?!" but subtle, minute ones that make you think the book is heading in a familiar direction, and BAM! Suddenly you're in a place that gives you serious deja vu, but is a wholly new experience. Even though this book is YA fiction, it doesn't have the simplistic writing style of most YA books (which is a huge turn-off to me), and the protagonist is smarter than most adults. This book would be a great gift for your way-too-intelligent niece or nephew that loves to read... And get a copy for yourself while you're at it.

  • Noel Brady
    2018-11-26 00:44

    I loved it on the very first page and every single page after that. It's so dark and yet so funny. Intensely thought-provoking. The prose is gorgeous and the character's voice is so strong. The authors describe the book as a cross between Fight Club and Catcher in the Rye and they couldn't be more correct.

  • Beth
    2018-12-04 03:30

    I was two thirds through the book, before it got some what interesting. But overall I thought it was pretty boring!

  • So, I Read This Book Today
    2018-12-12 23:34

    “He's just not that into you if he is a sociopath.”― Coco J. GingerMy best friend in college was a Dead Head. You know, Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, tie-dye, cool music, and dope. Lots and lots of dope. My friend was way into acid. Not me, I couldn't give up control like that, and besides, someone had to drive, right? And grass just made me sick at my stomach, so no pain. However, my friend told me about her “trips.” It was “trippy” listening to her, to say the least. “Why,” you ask, “are getting into this? Is this a book about the Grateful Dead and acid trips?”Well, no, not exactly. But this powerful, horrifying book took me to a place in my mind that must be very like those acid trips. Weird, lost, surreal . . . and deeply, deeply moved by the experience. Through the journal of a 15-year-old, we take a weird journey through what it means to be 15, powerless and alone. How easy it is to be swayed, to be taught by a 24-year-old sociopath who happens to be your cousin, that “There ain't no magic power that makes right and wrong have real meanin' is all.” It is so easy, when you are a beta, to fall sway to the alpha, especially when the school bullies become involved. To stare down that dark path, the one that leads to “Isn't that the natural urge here? To find a way to grind the sadistic kid's head into the ground so he can see what it feels like?”This book moved me, pained me, in so many ways. It brought up memories best forgotten, pain, heartbreak. But mostly, it opened me up with the wisdom and compassion shown by the author. Many issues were touched on. The aforementioned bullying, of course. But also expectations, loss, grief, and how easy is is to turn an inherently good person to the dark.Looking back on my review, it seems that I didn't like the book. That couldn't be further from the truth. This book touched me, inspired me, and drew me in like nothing else I have read in a very long time. I highly recommend it for what it represented to me. A walk into the dark. And a view of the light at the end of the forest.This book was provided to me by the author in return for a realistic review. All opinions are my own and are not predicated on receipt of the book by the author.

  • Nev Murray
    2018-12-05 04:21

    I received a free download of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Also never read anything by L.T. Vargus before so wanted to give it a go. Jake is 15. This story is told through his eyes in excerpts from his journal. He is an admitted wimp. He gets bullied on a regular basis and can’t stand up for himself. His best friend is Beth. He is in love with her but too scared to do anything about it. Nick is his cousin and a complete opposite. He smokes, he drinks, he thinks he’s a badass and he performs burglaries for a living. Nick decides to take Jake under his wing to teach him all he knows. This includes stealing, drinking and accompanying him on burglaries. Jake discovers a more sinister side to Nick and has some important decisions to make. How to deal with Nick and how to deal with his own demons just beginning to surface.I had no idea what this book was about before reading it but judging by the plethora of 5 star reviews (only looked at the ratings – didn’t read the reviews) decided to give it a go. It was totally not what I was expecting at all. This is a coming of age story told by Jake himself. It follows him from the age of 9 then jumps to present day when he is 15. He tells of his life in school, with Beth his secret love and Nick his cousin. He also has a tendency to jump to totally random thoughts in the journal and also describes in detail what he is learning from his psychology class.That’s it. I was really disappointed with it. It was easy to read and very well written but I kept on waiting for that something to jump out and grab me by throat but it didn’t happen. Given the amount of 5 star reviews it has had it left me thinking I had missed something. The last quarter of the story did take off a bit and went in a direction I wasn’t expecting but it was too late to rescue the story for me. I really don’t want to sound over critical but I can only compare it to other coming of age stories I have read like McCammons Boys Life and Fear by Ronald Kelly. Casting Shadows Everywhere isn’t a patch on them I’m afraid.2.5 stars rounded up to 3

  • Rosie Amber
    2018-11-16 23:42

    Reading as a series of informal diary entries this book is written from the point of view of 15 year old Jake. An American teenager of a single parent family, Jake strives to do more with his life. He wants a reason to get up in the morning.The opening scenes are very vivid, we meet Jake's cousin Nick who will play an important adult role in Jakes next few months. There are few males for Jake to look up to and Nick's air of danger entices Jake. No longer prepared to be a victim to school bullies Jake accepts Nick's offer to help him learn some important life lessons.Jake finds that he likes the excitement and thrill that taking on Nick's tasks give him and he can feel himself changing and wanting to keep changing. Jake's college lessons help him analyse his feelings and actions which make him different from Nick. Nick ultimately becomes out of control relying on his one rule in life "Don't get caught".The book deals with plenty of teenage issues such as bullying, bulimia, puberty and peer pressure. There is strong language and violence in Jake's journey to find meaning in life. He came full circle through his lessons with Nick. Nick felt life had no meaning. Jake did something with his life experience, he changed his outlook and at the end began living his life once again.There is a lot of strength in this story and if you can see through the violence and some of the points that no parent wants to think about, there is a lot of true life experiences. Many teenagers are trying to find themselves and they have to deal with issues today that we all need to face.

  • The Literate Chimp
    2018-12-16 23:24

    "You can't control the world, but you can control yourself. You can change yourself. We're not all powerless and trapped in the roles we find ourselves in. We can change."The delight of reading this book lies in observing how this affirming message emerges from a chrysalis of abduction, bulimia and serial killing. Why are we here? What is the meaning of it all? In the immensity of the cosmos, are there any rules worth following? In a world where might rules and fortune favours the knave, do we take what we want? Do we clutch hard to what is ours? These are questions that Jake, the 15 year old protagonist, is faced with. L.T. Vargus provides a story of how Jake discovers a meaning of sorts as he embarks on a Nietzschean road journey through this time in his life. On the journey we meet Beth - his busty Beatrice; Nick and Donnie, his guides in the underworld; and Troy, his nemesis in the only true nightmare that exists - reality. There are shades of Holden Caulfield - but Jake matures and learns something that gives meaning to it all. And this is what people do - they take all sorts of shit that is thrown at them and they weave a plausible narrative out of it. And that narrative invariably gives them the strength to carry on. L.T. Vargus weaves more than a plausible narrative out of thin air. For a first novel, it's an impressive feat. Like any first novel, there is room for improvement, but there is clearly much to look forward to as Vargus gets in her 10000 hours.

  • Mike Owens
    2018-11-25 03:30

    Fifteen-year-old Jake is, in his own words, a pussy. He never fights back, that is, until his older cousin, Nick, schools him in the ways of the world. Through a series of burglaries, Nick teaches Jake to live without fear. Nick's only rule is "Don't get caught." There's more, of course, rants about the BS passed down from above as conventional wisdom, but the primary message sinks in. When his nemesis confronts Jake in the school hallway, Jake kicks his ass.There's so much to like about this book. The style is catchy, intriguing. The first-person narrative stays true in the protagonist's voice throughout. Vargus sets the hook on page 1 (in medias res, just like they teach us) and never lets go. There are strong themes of psychology, neuroscience threaded through the narrative, but they are delivered in the narrator's young voice, never as the dreaded "info dumps."If I have any quibble at all, it's with the dream sequences, and I note that other reviewers like them. I guess it's a pet peeve that I have with anything that ends in "and then I woke up."If I had to pick on specific aspect of Casting Shadows that I enjoyed most, it would be the entertaining voice of the protagonist, young Jake, always believable, always intriguing. His musings on Nick's teachings and on the meaning of life in general are spot on throughout the book.Hopefully Vargus has more in the works. Don't miss this one! Highly recommended.

  • Stephen Brophy
    2018-11-22 04:30

    What a find. I got this book as a free offer via the authors, and now they've done gone and hooked me. Possibly for life. My first assumption, based on the title and description, was that I was about to indulge in some contemporary horror or dark urban fantasy. What I got instead was an offbeat coming -of-age story told from the POV of a 15-year-old narrator falling in love with a high school classmate and falling under the spell of a hard-hearted older cousin with a criminal bent. It's filled with terrific humor, shocking violence, and a surprising amount of heart. I don't know how Vargus and McBain split the writing duties, but between them they are one terrific writer with wit and style to spare. They don't get fancy with the language or wordplay, but there's a propulsive and magnetic quality to the spare prose that makes the central character come alive. I laughed with and at him, I worried about him, and I rooted for him in equal measure. They even manage to commit a Cardinal Sin of Fiction near the climax of the novel that not only didn't piss me off or make me feel cheated, but actually filled me with a flood of satisfaction (and relief). To say more would be to spoil, so I'll shut up now, except to say I'm a certified fan and will definitely be checking out more of their work.

  • Jennifer Tooker
    2018-12-11 03:26

    Brilliantly written and insanely thought provokingWhen Jake was 9, he witnessed his then 17-year-old cousin Nick attack and choke out another kid who was bullying him. Several years later, with no father figure to help him through his teenage years, Jake turns to Nick again in an effort to learn how to survive high school life. What he ends up learning is how to enter a life of crime one “lesson” at a time. What he discovers about his cousin along the way takes him down a path he never expected.Written in a style reminiscent of a personal journal or diary, Casting Shadows Everywhere is brilliant. The scenes and situations are narrated from the perspective of a teenage boy and is very effective. From hanging out with the girl he has a crush on to musings about an AP Psychology class the story is engaging and thought provoking. I loved the left brain/right brain parts as it shows us that while he may be still a “kid”, Jake is very smart.Once I started this book, I found it difficult to put down and I think this may have been the fastest I have ever read through any book. Getting inside Jake’s psyche through his journal entries and experiencing the impossible situation he finds himself in though his eyes really helped me feel for him. A well-deserved 5 stars and definitely a book I can see a second read down the line.

  • Evanwolf
    2018-12-15 22:42

    Great book! Really enjoyed it. Young Adult and Suspense/Drama are not usually my cup of tea, and I honestly almost took a break after like the first 30 pages, but something about it hooked me. It's got a little bit of everything.Written as journal entries, the main character has a great voice, kind of reminded me of like an angsty teenage David Sedaris. So it's got comedy- check. As other reviews have pointed out, it definitely has a nice build up and some great plot twists- really sucked me in and I ended up reading it in two days. Unlike most YA that I have read there is what feels like real character development and some interesting moral and philosophical issues that come up, pretty visceral at times. On top of that you've got some classic high school stereotypes (which I am always a sucker for), lots of interesting factoids cleverly mixed in (Vargus is clearly a psych/neurology nerd), great dialogue and a healthy dose of artistic swearing!Would definitely recommend. I am mostly giving it 5 stars because I know I would've loved this book when I was younger. Maybe it would've gotten me into reading at an earlier age if I had discovered it then. At the very least it would've opened me up to a whole world of new swear words.

  • Leonide Martin
    2018-11-20 01:38

    Enter the mind of a teenage boy on a search for meaning in a self-serving world. Jake’s first-person narration is sometimes whimsical, poignant, irreverent, hysterical, and thought-provoking as he faces high school bullies, befriends autistic kids, tentatively seeks a girlfriend, finds a hero with soiled hands, and endures adult condescension. Jake’s thoughts and situations range from laugh out loud funny to chilling danger to teetering on the brink of insanity. Snappy dialogue in what appears to be contemporary teen idioms, though it’s hard for a grandmother like me to really know since teenage boy think is strange and foreign territory to me. Woven throughout, however, are surprising philosophical treatises about the nature of right and wrong, how the bicameral brain works, the psychology of neural programming, and the basic motivations of human life. Eventually Jake is drawn into a crisis of belief and action and must re-assess all he has learned. Dreams intermingle with real life to form a tapestry of revealed motives and unspeakable consequences. In the end Jake is back in a normalized world, but much wiser for his adventures.

  • Mara Franklin
    2018-12-04 04:47

    I admit the book seemed to start out slowly. As I progressed through the book, the premise of "teen writing in a diary" scenario seemed to lull me, the reader, into expecting a typical angsty teen novel. This is not the case.Vargus must have done a lot of factual research, because interesting facts are peppered throughout the book, right alongside the story, almost underlining it. I wasn't expecting that kind of attention to detail. But also interesting was how the main character wove these facts into his own life. I definitely felt there was a battle of morality going on within the story, but these facts kept popping up, reminding us that this person is still discovering the world around him. This book takes you through many of the dilemmas facing teens on the verge of adulthood, and understanding how to function within society. We get snippets of his unsatisfactory home life and how he finds role models outside of his environment. As I mentioned, I first assumed this was a novel for juvenilles, but I found as an adult it is incredibly entertaining. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend!