Jessie is a fairly normal teenage girl, a senior at Leeland High School along with her best friend, Annie, until the Peterson brothers move to town. Before, her life, if not easy, was at least predictable and not at all extraordinary. Sure, she got bullied at school by Reece, and her parents didn't get along, but Jessie wasn't the only one with those problems. When she literally falls into Wesley's arms one day at school, however, her life is changed drastically.
Wesley and his brother, Brian, aren't exactly what they seem to be, new students from France. Yes, they did live in France before moving to Jessie's town, but before that, they came from another dimension. Not only are the Peterson brothers not French, they're not even human! Well, not entirely. Their mother was a demon, and their fathers human (the boys are twins, but, apparently, with a demon mother, half-brothers can be twins....That seems like unnecessary information in the book, though--wouldn't one human father be simpler?).
Apparently, they were followed from their home dimension by another being, a shade, who possesses others. Human hosts die quickly, but a halfling host would last a long time, and be unable to expel the shade the way full demons do. The shade is following Wesley and Brian, looking for a halfling host, unless they can figure out a way to stop him--with Jessie's help, of course.
The Shadow Within has everything that makes me love a book--there's romance, suspense, action, and, of course, a paranormal element. Overall, I really liked the book--there were just a few details that bothered me. One of these, and possibly the biggest one, was the fact that nobody except Jessie was able to retain long-term memories of the Peterson brothers. What bothered me about this was that it's never explained in the book. Why can't anyone else remember Brian and Wesley? More importantly, why is Jessie able to remember them clearly? Hopefully leaving that loose end means Jenine Wilson will be writing a sequel, but, if not, just leaving that hanging is a bit disappointing.
I know this can be a sore subject, but most of what bothered me about this book were things that, with professional editing, could have been easily fixed (the book is self-published). They are all little things, but little things can add up and be distracting from the book itself. This isn't just Jenine Wilson's book; I've noticed it in all of the self-published books I've read. Of course, note that this isn't important enough to keep me from reading them!
Overall, The Shadow Within is a good, fast-paced story that did the job of holding my attention (and I have a rather short attention span). I'm looking forward to Jenine Wilson's next book!