Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review: Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Shift
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Rating: 5/5

Cover Impressions:
This cover is better than the predecessor but I am still not a fan.  Come on publishers!  The authors write fantastic books and you put crappy covers on them (or crappy books and beautiful covers - GET IT TOGETHER!).  The cover model seems a little to grown up and the back-on-to-the-camera-looking-over-my-shoulder pose has been done and done.  At least she doesn't have a tattoo. 

The Gist:
Shift picks up a few months after the events of Shade.  Aura has helped Logan make the impossible transition from Shade back to Ghost and must deal with the fallout as her attention seeking ex-boyfriend demands to steal the spotlight once more.  Aura's attention, on the other hand, is back on the oh-so-endearing and not-so-eternally-patient Zachery.  With help from both, Aura begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding her birth and the special abilities that she and Zack possess.

Jeri Smith-Ready continues to surprise me.  A good half of this book is spent on angst-ridden teenage relationships, a considerable part of the plot involves a complicated love triangle and finding answers to the BIG QUESTION seems secondary to the day to day issues brought on by teenage hormones.  I SHOULD hate this book, but I don't.  I FREAKING LOVED EVERY MINUTE!  I think perhaps it is the author's ability to create characters and situations that are so desperately real that my gut wrenches with sympathy, longing, anger or betrayal.  I wanted to hug the characters, or shake them, or slap them (whichever was appropriate for the situation). 

In the second half of the novel, the action picks up considerably and we start to get some answers to why the Shift may have happened and what makes Zachery and Aura particularly special.  After reading this book I am ridiculously happy that the final book is being released in a few days and I won't have to wait long for the rest of my answers (and to see Aura and Zachery finally have sex - seriously, I have never in my life rooted more for two teenage characters to get it on - Jeri, what have you done to me??!!)* 

As I mentioned in my review of Shade, this is really a book for the older end of the YA spectrum.  I am sure lots of readers can handle the mature elements (and I am sure that I read way more risque stuff when I was a kid) but, as a teacher bent on avoiding parental anger and keeping her job, I wouldn't give it to any student under the age of 16.

Favorite Quote: "Her energy drink took effect right away, and I wondered if it had disappeared from the mainstream market because it had been made from the pituitary glands of deposed dictators and executed serial killers." 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

Age: 16 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Discussed but not described, some naked shenanigans.
Violence: Gunplay
Inappropriate Language: Bitch, Fuck
Substance Abuse:  Underage Drinking

*I'm going to hell aren't I?


Anonymous said...

"[A]s a teacher bent on avoiding parental anger and keeping her job, I wouldn't give it to any student under the age of 16."

YES. I find 28 yo Michelle argues with teen Michelle all the time about what books I should/should not recommend to teens. It isn't so much what I think they can handle so much as what I want to be held accountable for by the other adults around them. Hence the reason one of my favorite authors-in-real-life is Maurice Sendak for lovely quotes like this one:

"I said anything I wanted because I don't believe in children, I don't believe in childhood. I don't believe that there's a demarcation. 'Oh, you mustn't tell them that. You mustn't tell them that.' You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it's true. If it's true, you tell them."

Zabet said...

Thanks for the comment Michelle, I have the same dilemma. As I mentioned in the Shade review, I have seen my grade 8 students reading these books and I have no doubt that they could handle the content. However, I wouldn't personally give them these books for fear of the parental reactions.

It is sad that the same parents who would freak at their daughter reading a book where two characters have sex or utter the odd curse word will often still allow their son to spend HOURS playing violent (and sometimes sexist)games like Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto.

That being said, I have had some FANTASTIC parents who make regular trips to the bookstore or library with their teen and ask questions about the books that they are reading - some even read books together!

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