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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Between the worlds of life and death...

Sixteen-year-old Aidan's grandmother has a secret recipe. She feeds ghost. Her nightly ritual keeps the local lost souls lingering, caught between life and death. When Aidan stumbles upon this knowledge in the wake of his own father's death, the revelation shakes him to the core. Grief-stricken, he is dangerously drawn into the strange and wondrous world of the dead-and away from the living people who love him.

Set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, this beautifully crafted tale of love and loss is told in shades of otherworldly mystery. David Stahler Jr. spins a chilling story that delves into the depths of grief and emerges as a shimmering celebration of life.

Critical Praise for A Gathering of Shades:

"Stahler fashions the intricate plot very carefully. . . . The fully realized characters-both teens and adults alike-raise this above the formulaic and closer to magical realism."
-Kirkus

"The sinister atmosphere of the story is finely constructed, from the opening scenes to the final pages. . . . The audience for supernatural suspense fiction will drink this new novel right up."
-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Stahler's eloquence on grief and yearning, combined with a vision of ghosts refreshingly distinct . . . , will exert a powerful hold on many teens' imaginations."
-Booklist

"Aidan is almost lost in the world of the dead, but Stahler is able to deftly help his character take his tentative first steps toward living in the present again. . . . Suggest this one to readers of Naylor's Jade Green."
-VOYA

"Stahler delivers a stirring story of pain, love and loss between three generations of a family living in rural Vermont. . . . A painful, yet ultimately uplifting and rewarding portrait of loved ones holding together through the most difficult of times."
-Publishers Weekly

Author's Notes:

A Gathering of Shades was my second novel with HarperCollins. I still consider it one of my best in terms of the quality of the prose. It's a funky sort of work-almost a pastoral elegy in YA novel form. Many have referred to it as a "literary ghost story," which I think is fitting, too.

There are strong connections with The Odyssey and with a whole lot of my own life-not so much in terms of plot, but definitely in terms of setting and character. It's set in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, a beautiful and very rural part of the state where I grew up. It's my other "Vermont novel" besides Spinning Out (a Kindle Daily Deal Selection for 9/29/12).

The novel was probably the best reviewed of all my work, but it never sold well. Harper didn't put any marketing into it-it was before the big explosion in supernatural/paranormal fiction. One of the things that's so wonderful about the new eBook revolution, however, is the opportunity for little gems like this to get a second life and find a new audience. I hope you'll check it out-you can sample it on Amazon or download the first 20% for free from Smashwords.

So if you're in the mood for a well-crafted tale that features rich characters, relatable themes, and some haunting moments, I invite you to check out A Gathering of Shades! Just click on the cover:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Betsy and Ann! Looking forward to sharing this special novel with a new generation of readers who missed it the first time around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One of the main characters in the novel is named Memere (pronounced mem-AY), which is French Canadian slang for grandmother. My own memere was tough but a bit sweeter than the character in my novel. She had 13 kids. As you can imagine, I have a lot of cousins!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you're looking for a novel of suspense and a thoughtful rumination on how we come to terms with loss expressed in carefully crafted prose, then you'll love this novel. If you're looking for cheap thrills and horror (nothing wrong with that!) then this isn't for you...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The novel takes its title from Book XI of Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey, the heart of the epic, which served as a major inspiration for the plot.
 
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