The Secrets of Yashire: Emerging from the Shadows at first seems like another young adult fantasy genre read - until you realize that the action takes place in the protagonist's mind. Brianna is a sixteen-year-old with an adult's perspective on life and who is challenged with a life out of control and an effort to reign in the destructive impulses of her world.
She seems the least likely person to fall into a fantasy realm that tests her with tasks that include bringing unconditional love back into a kingdom - but this is what evolves in an unexpected journey that slowly moves readers from her relationships and special challenges to something more: a higher purpose, if you will.
Psychological insights peppered throughout provide clues to Brianna's state of mind as they set the stage for her philosophical, psychological and spiritual journey.
If the 'meat' of a young adult piece lies in its ability to realistically and engrossingly chart the move of a young adult to adult, then The Secrets of Yashire achieves this goal and more. As Brianna moves into higher-level thought processes, so readers follow and note her evolutionary process. One might expect complexity from this approach; but in fact The Secrets of Yashire is an easy read which will appeal to young adult fantasy readers; but delivers more than expected with philosophical and spiritual messages embedded into its events.
Don't expect a fast pace, here: Lavendar takes time to build up protagonist and setting and while some may chafe at the lack of staccato action, used to reads that gloss over depth in favor of entertainment, the fact is that the attention to relationships and growth is every bit as important as the fantasy that unwinds. Pre-teens and young adults alike who don't need a rushed pace will find it a compelling saga of a teen's journey through both inner and outer worlds that concludes not with a neat or trite wrap-up, but with further possibilities.