Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shade by Jeri Smith Ready

Published: May 4th, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
# Pages: 309
Copy provided by: Bought at Chapters
Summary: Goodreads

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.

I bought this book because I have read some of Ms Ready's adult novels and enjoyed them, so I thought I'd give her first YA a try. I am so glad I did. I found myself being pulled deeper and deeper into her world where ghosts are a reality and because of an unexplained 'shift', kids born after this can see and hear them. These ghosts haunt you in more ways than the obvious. I also just loved the fact that these ghosts had attitude, while at the same time I found myself sympathising with Aura, who had no choice but to see them.

'I ditched the patience. "How the hell should I know?" I flapped my arms. "I don't know why we see you at all. No one knows, okay?" ' (page 4)

Logan is a bit of a 'bad' boy and the circumstances of his death highlight a very relevant issue, that of teen drinking and drug use and I hope many readers will hear the message that Ms. Ready is trying to give - it's dangerous. Aura's confusion over the events leading up to his death and her feelings about Logan during and after rang true to me. Life is not cut and dried and death can leave a huge void, and this is made quite clear. On a different note, I must admit though that the idea that ghosts can have input into their own funerals was just downright creepy.

'Everyone had left after that - everyone but the McConnells, that is, who needed to alter the funeral arrangements now that Logan's ghost was around to give his input. ...... But catholics can't have their ashes scattered. Not everyone obeys that rule, but the Keeleys are hard-core. "What did Logan say when they told him no?" "He freaked." Megan set down her fork and shoved away her yellow plastic tray. "I swear, if he could've actually touched anything in that living room, the place would be a wreck. The more he tried to throw and kick stuff, the more pissed he got." ' (page 97/98)

One of the things that Aura struggles with is her growing attraction to Zachary, and I totally understand why. He seems like such a genuinely nice character, but she feels disloyal to her memories of Logan.

'The boy stood alone now, hands on his hips, examining me. A breeze blew a splash of dark bang across his forehead, and his posture made his faded blue T-shirt stretch across his broad chest.'
(page 19)
'My neck warmed at the way his lips puckered with the oo sound, and then the way his tongue tagged the d. This was Bad with a capital Hell No. Logan was the only guy who'd ever made me feel like this, like I had a caffeine overdose and a second-degree sunburn. Get a grip, Aura. It's just the accent.' (page 24)

I could just go on and on giving you Zachary related quotes. I think I fell for him myself. Note: there are a couple of fairly descriptive sexual references in the book that got my heart racing, but make this unsuitable for younger teens.

At around page 250 it dawned on me that things just weren't going to be resolved in one book. The mystery behind the 'Shift' amped up and things got really interesting. (I've since found out that there is a second novel due out May 2011, called 'Shift'. )There is a wonderful sense of achievement at the end of Shade, that is, at the same time, an annoying cliffhanger - does that make sense? Aaargh, I can't explain it without giving too much away - but it sort of makes sense of the title. You're just going to have to read it yourselves to find out what I mean!

For fans who live in Ontario, Canada, anywhere near Brampton, Jeri Smith Ready is one of the authors who will be at Chapters on Sept. 25th for the Smart Chicks Kick It tour. Check out Christinabean's post about it here.

Before I sign off, let me remind you to check out our Cozy up With a Good Book giveaway - handknit socks and a copy of 'Wings'. You can find the details HERE. Check it out and enter if you haven't already done so.

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