*May 4th, 2010 SimonPulse
Love ties them together. Death can''t tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan''s band playing a critical gig and Aura''s plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend''s life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan''s sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He''s gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan''s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn''t help that Aura''s new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura''s relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura''s heart?and clues to the secret of the Shift.
One of the key qualities that makes a book likable is charisma. Well, I'm pleased to report that Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade is chock-full of that extra zing. In my review of Birthmarked, I mentioned the section of shelf space where I keep hardcover copies of all my favourite books. Shade will be joining their ranks - and considering the meager population there, that's pretty high praise.
Basically, Shade possesses many of the integral components of a successful novel - and not only are the categories hit, they are excelled at. Let's start off with the concept. Smith-Ready really seems to be onto something new and spunky here. Nearly two decades ago, the Shift occurred, and everyone born after it can see ghosts. "Okay," you might be thinking, "so it's another ghost story." Not so! With the added concepts of Shades, violet-hues, the DMP, etc., Shade portrays not only a different breed of ghosts, but proposes a sort of alternate reality where ghosts are incorporated directly into society. And who doesn't love the inclusion of highly classified government agency conspiracies and secrets?
Smith-Ready also has quite a way with words that simply draws the audience in. There's something very readable about the diction choice. To put that into perspective - I managed to tear my way through Shade in one afternoon, despite being heavily in the midst of IB exams.
Overall, the characters were pretty well portrayed and fairly likable. It might have been nice to see a little more development between Aura and her "best friend" Megan, but hopefully that's to come in subsequent books. Although the first meeting between Aura and Zachary progressed events a little too quickly and cockily for my tastes, their subsequent interaction is undeniably cute.
With just the right balance of action, angst, intrigue, mystery and romance, Shade has a little bit of everything for everyone. The scene has been set and it'll be great to see what happens next, especially considering the cliffhanger that it left off with. I know I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Shift, the sequel. Will you be?
With great writing, interesting characters and that extra little zing, Shade is bound to be one of the top YA books of the year.
*From the front angle, the book cover does look a little bizarre with the one arm/hand sticking out. With the book jacket flipped open though, there is a body attached to it. Personally think it might've looked a little more natural if the image were shifted just a little so that slightly more was visible. What do you think of the cover?