Shadow Copy: EXIT DARKNESS

A Young Adult Thriller with a new twist on the ideas of choice and control over one’s body 

Becca Tanner wants everybody to think that she is a typical seventeen-year-old high school senior, but she’s not.  Her father is the inventor of a radical new medical procedure that has caught the attention of the entire world and is now secured under the watchful eye of the United States government.  Through the use of ground-breaking bio-technology, he is able to transfer a person’s entire psyche from one body and place it into another.  But suitable donor bodies are rare, and there is heated public controversy over the morality of the procedure. Becca’s old body was dying from cancer, so her father transplanted her into a new body, just six months ago.  Becca mustn’t tell anyone who her father is, or that she is a recipient, otherwise she risks becoming a target of those who want to steal her father’s research, and those who oppose it.

The symbolism of  hair:

Before the book began, what might Becca’s gradual loss of hair symbolized to her?

After the procedure, did the symbolism of Becca’s hair change?

What significance did the descriptions of, and actions with, the hair of other characters in the book have?  

 

Social Pressure 

There were strong opinions for and against the procedure.  Would you be in favor of or against the use of this technology and why? 

The prevailing social opinion of this technology was a factor in Becca’s decision to keep her secret. Do you think Becca’s choice makes a statement on the dangers of social pressure?

Do you think Becca’s choice to keep her secret was mainly due to fear for her own safety, the safety of her family, or for a different reason?  

 

Bullying 

There are multiple examples in the book that could be considered bullying.  In your opinion, which characters or groups engaged in bullying?  Is it bullying when you force someone to do what is right, or to stop doing what is wrong?  

 

Body Image 

How do you think Becca’s feelings about her body changed?

Contrast how Nora and Jeff feel about their bodies.

To  what extent  do you think body image was a factor in Valarie’s contempt for Becca?

 

The Morality of Personal Choice vs Life

If a person with a healthy body no longer wanted to live, should they be allowed to give or sell their body to someone else? Why?

Should the procedure be available only to the terminally ill, or to anyone who wants a different or better body?  Why?

If this technology were real, how and why might people be motivated to abuse it?

If you were Darla, how would you feel toward Becca?

Are there circumstances in which the life of one person is of greater value than the life of another?

 

Who would you choose?

If you were Becca, which person(s) would you choose to reveal your secret to and why: Nora, Jeff, Blake, Stephanie, or Mark?

If you were Becca, which boy would you prefer, Jeff or Blake?

 

What would you do?

If you were Becca, how would you have reacted to Valarie? How would you have handled the situation with Jason?

If you were Becca, would you have spoken up in defense of body transplant procedures during the class discussion? 

 

How did they change?

Do you think Valarie’s attitude toward Becca was consistent or did it evolve throughout the book? 

How do you think Jeff’s relationship and feelings toward Becca changed?

How do you think Becca’s feelings about her body changed?

Shadow Copy is planned as a three-book series.  The first book in the series, EXIT DARKNESS, was released on June 23, 2020. The second book in this series, ENTER LIGHT, is planned for release in fall 2020.  The third book will debut in 2021.  A spin-off book is under consideration, exploring some of the more sinister and frightening story lines we intentionally excluded from the series.  If this spin-off is released it will feature some of the supporting characters from the series.  

The setting of this story is one we are very familiar with.  We moved to North Carolina from Washington State in 1999.  Ryan has worked in or near Research Triangle Park ever since. Some of his work locations inspired scenes in the book. We have lived in Johnston County since 2011.  Ryan has a long commute, but we enjoy the people and the pace of life here.  In our story, the Tanner home is in the town of Clayton, which is one of the faster growing areas of the state.  A lot of people who live there work in RTP.  The Facility where Becca’s dad works is in Faison, which is pretty much just as it is described in the book, except the facility hasn’t been built… yet.  West Johnston High School, where Becca attends, is where our youngest daughter went to school.  It really does have large maze-like halls. Every time we described a setting in Shadow Copy, it was taken from the things we see around us in daily life here in North Carolina.

Lexile measures make it easy for educators to:
  • Personalize learning.
  • Measure student growth.
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress.

Shadow Copy: EXIT DARKNESS has an overall text complexity of 730L, but each chapter also has its own measure.

ChapterPerspectiveMeasureWord Count
1Becca780L1502
2Darla740L794
3Becca720L1894
4Darla620L141
5Becca790L1266
6Becca720L4068
7Becca640L3159
8Darla650L427
9Becca890L2483
10Becca820L3755
11Darla820L215
12Becca620L3840
13Becca630L3343
14Darla710L74
15Becca710L2387
16Becca690L4983
17Becca930L5653
18Becca790L5121
19Darla1080L263
20Becca800L2579
21Becca660L2777
22Becca710L3287
23Darla650L357
24Becca730L4527
25Becca770L2640
26Becca570L2855
27Becca760L2586
28Becca660L3980
29Darla770L733
30Becca690L3503
31Becca720L1925
32Becca650L2690
33Darla830L376
34Becca660L4779
35Becca840L2522
36Darla660L134
37Becca670L2400
38Becca700L2934
39Becca650L3423
40Becca700L3862
41Becca680L5320

Younger or less experienced readers may find it helpful to be aware of some of the vocabulary they will encounter in each chapter.  This list is made up of the vocabulary which may be challenging to readers whose reading ability is closely matched to the overall text complexity.

ChapterChallenging Vocabulary 
1resolve, utility, option, procedure, donor, portion, precious, adjust, logic, ethnicity, speck, fate, fixate, irritant, unmoved, bundle, rebellious, constant, genuine, pendulum
2resolve, intensity, tile, administer, procedure, double, precision, colleague, donor, monitor, stake, maintain, tone, identical, similar, constant, immediate, commotion, chord, pulse
3conceal, generous, mandatory, consult, unscheduled, apply, remark, procedure, unedited, tissue, detect, double, mascara, core, suntan, disorderly, strand, telepathy, version, intervention
4major, procedure, protest, particular, adamant, unnecessary
5insightful, pleasantness, stressful, procedure, donor, reject, adaptation, consultation, significant, undetectable, goodie, perspective, mental, reveal, exam, envious, exist, frequency, inventory, stethoscope
6tense, manual, confide, express, accent, spiral, claim, bond, insecure, complex, drab, vitality, examine, baseboard, reject, instant, permanent, stylish, distant, procedure
7intense, sensitive, conversation, gain, ease, punch, stylish, brief, ravenous, print, guarantee, examine, whack, frame, expense, invisible, bun, appropriate, reenactment, tone
8heel, target, double, pursue, overflow, visible, distress, obvious, patrol, lobby, slunk, asphalt, wrist, nearby
9consult, cooperate, readjust, conform, untwist, slickness, stylish, enticement, pure, depose, sizable, functional, vane, random, ruffle, conscious, tormentor, linger, baldness, unbridled
10survey, phenomenon, donor, procedure, indicate, drain, fluctuation, legal, tangible, salvageable, requirement, playfulness, ramp, breathlessness, racket, minimal, facility, visor, oversized, status
11donor, unlabeled, noteworthy, particular, trove, crucial, corridor
12spine, quotation, device, tenderness, release, term, lick, tough, shift, rough, conversation, brief, gender, peace, disturb, procedure, brim, interior, precise, core
13tendency, spine, compact, stack, squeal, paste, lick, double, conversation, impact, document, focus, scatter, policy, generic, assure, current, discrete, review, clobber
14None
15discontent, claim, dissent, insightful, sour, chorus, reassignment, tame, brief, assure, procedure, facility, fiddle, disturb, donor, response, rung, permit, probability, delinquent
16generous, intensity, consult, reverse, phenomenon, sincere, spite, convertible, shift, pudgier, impact, crudeness, proper, transition, guarantee, sufficient, instant, inspect, invisible, manipulation
17convenient, spacious, intensity, displaced, confinement, unidentifiable, tangible, divisive, expansive, medium, intrude, donor, precise, delicate, exotic, spa, quaint, receptionist, snoop, forgettable
18intense, minor, residential, volume, reverse, portion, convertible, visibility, current, scent, distinct, rash, disposal, interior, traction, unsightly, exterior, redial, robe, phase
19prioritize, onset
20tension, convey, option, tile, parenthesis, restrain, quote, trend, hazard, hive, cooperative, glob, previous, aloof, segue, eavesdrop, dread, patron, indicator, uneventful
21intensity, trace, tardy, sour, curb, minion, focus, remark, summary, guarantee, bagel, visual, core, analysis, tangle, reputation, doom, confirmation, probability, normal
22confide, convey, survey, cooperate, prime, drain, exploitable, rare, torment, terminal, quote, procedure, donor, thesis, fraction, lapse, visual, identity, previous, fate
23intense, error, claim, donor, conversation, procedure, clerical, deliberate, agape, keyboard, discussion
24stress, convey, resist, tile, authorize, benefit, straggler, curb, option, visibility, adjust, sincere, dread, slickness, procedure, layout, version, ramble, impulse, distinct
25conceal, tense, trim, strain, scent, relieve, dim, pry, soled, maximum, jiggle, exit, pivot, coax, superficial, concrete, momentary, swipe, further, summon
26release, period, comfort, drama, curb, churn, fantasy, common, recuperate, faint, conversation, shrink, confession, appointment, chivalry, strict, text, procedure, rigid, reveal
27generous, stress, parallel, benefit, implementation, resource, insensitive, procedure, proper, excess, countenance, logic, cable, relieve, depression, avalanche, callousness, analysis, facility, appointment
28intense, trace, interval, hastiness, link, needle, focus, spite, curb, impact, portion, terminal, beam, sedation, adjust, tangible, significance, stale, previous, frame
29stress, authority, reveal, facility, intrigue, hint, substantive, abruptness, distinctive, vacant, exile, spectacle, obvious, companion, gossiping, fragile, briefly, chaotic, eleventh, unexpected
30conceal, deposit, theory, brief, submit, charity, unavailable, text, citrusy, presumptuous, bun, frost, rave, braid, respond, procedure, random, lineman, exist, doze
31intensity, gain, ramble, intervene, reenactment, contoured, untamable, exit, further, goatee, witness, scuffle, scan, tone, fray, hurl, confront, wiry, similar, rage
32contender, sensitive, bond, adjust, mention, predict, boost, conversation, consider, fantasy, actuality, previous, distrust, humor, propel, countless, procedure, text, dosage, distorted
33comply, initial, detain, facility, goatee, legit, caucasian, patrol, suspicious, notepad, agitated, surveillance, unseen
34contingent, spine, intensity, expose, individual, occupy, refocus, spite, desire, pose, trance, portion, husky, distant, rubric, react, resident, tranquil, significance, influence
35cooperate, sectional, stub, distant, precious, frequent, corroborating, visual, presence, tangle, hangout, orderly, plausibility, illuminate, ringlet, traction, incident, humiliate, sleepwalk, lunge
36inability, miraculous, astonishing, frustrated
37strain, drain, impact, punch, authority, inevitability, pry, grasp, goatee, indentation, confident, rally, venomous, forgive, exit, commotion, retreat, respond, lack, further
38convenient, odd, express, formula, stampede, pulverize, anticipate, alert, analyze, proper, adjust, thesis, analysis, instant, bruise, disorientation, procedure, coarseness, nasty, oversize
39tenseness, convenient, negative, bolt, heel, plug, phenomenon, tingle, parallel, restrain, focus, alert, considerable, rare, accommodate, flourish, instant, eliminate, straddle, pry
40recover, prime, rehearse, blind, alert, dwell, alibi, inspect, groupie, bendable, ensure, stump, prospect, grasp, presumed, particular, sliver, indication, cavalry, reality
41concentration, resolve, register, display, negative, advance, visualize, formidable, expose, desire, chastening, involve, bond, spite, image, focus, insensitive, proper, predict, erupt