Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Shade
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions:  To be honest, the cover did not entice me at all.  The semi-headless girl in the spangly top smacks of paranormal romance (a genre I usually avoid) and makes it look generic.  The color combination feels off, though I can't quite put my finger on why...

The Gist:  Aura and most of her friends were born after the Shift that allowed the dead to interact with the living.  She has spent her entire life trying to avoid and ignore them.  That is, until her boyfriend joins their ranks.  Now she walks a tightrope trying to keep him from turning into a dark and twisted shade while fighting her growing feelings for the very cute, and very alive, Zachery.   

Review: I fought off this book for a long time.  I would read a review or see it pop up on a friend's shelf on Goodreads, check out the blurb/cover and promptly shut it down again.  Over and over.  I don't do paranormal romance very well.  I do big plots with lots of action and adventure and this - isn't that.  Finally, I could fight it no longer.  I had to see what the fuss was about.  Let this be a lesson to you (and me) when a book keeps popping up, read it.  Don't dismiss it because of the genre, or the supposed love triangle or your expectations of Just Another Ghost Story.  Because this book isn't.

Aura (Just a note - I do hate the name) presents such a realistic portrayal of a teenager that I cannot help but love her.  She has temptations, she has urges, she doesn't always do the right thing and she lives with the consequences.  I had expected a lot of guilt and whining after Logan's death, but there wasn't.  She didn't exactly move on, but she didn't present the reader with diatribes about how this was all her fault and she was a horrible person.   Speaking of Logan's death: that was some powerful shit.  Even though I knew it was coming, even though I knew I couldn't stop it, it hurt to watch.  He was just a sweet kid who thought he was invincible and I wanted to yell at him, tell him what was coming and to not do anything stupid (P.S I yell at tv and movies all the time).  It was like watching a horror movie where an innocent girl calmly gets ready for a bath while the audience cringes because we know there is a serial killer hiding in the shower.  It was that level of sick-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach suspense for me.  That was the point where Smith-Ready had me hooked.  

This is not an action filled plot, but it kept me reading just the same.  The scenes with Zachery are sweet and exciting and Oh So tempting.  They brought me back to those heart thumping first kisses as a teen and the thrill of young love (or at least lust).  There are hints of a bigger plot at play, and I do wish this had been explored a little further and that a few more details had come to light.  It is very clear that this is part of a series (trilogy?) and we are forced to wait for our answers.  Instead of action and adventure we get moments of Oh Noes! and pain that is piercing and palpable.  I can't wait to move on to the next one!

As noted below, there are elements within this book that may raise the age level.  In the past, I have seen a few of my grade 8 (14-15 year old) students reading it.  They really enjoyed it, and they are smart kids, not likely to follow in Logan's footsteps, but I would not personally place it into the hands of anyone under the age of 16. 
Teaching/Parental Notes:
Age: 16 and up
Gender: Females
Sex: Spoken about, not described.  Masturbation. 
Violence: None
Inappropriate Language: Retarded, Ho Bag, Fucker
Substance Abuse: Underage Drinking, Use of Cocaine


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