Shade is Jeri Smith-Ready’s debut YA novel and it will be released on 2nd September 2010 in the UK. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Shade for review.
Aura was born after the Shift, meaning that she can see and talk to ghosts who haven’t moved on, but it isn’t an ability that she enjoys or wishes to have. In fact, she finds it annoying more than anything else. Ghosts are an everyday part of life and everyone is now quite used to them being around. Ghosts can testify at trials with the help of translators and there is a government agency that stops any ghosts who turn into the bad guys, Shades.
Aura has a pretty good life considering what she has to put up with. She has a soon to be rock star boyfriend (Logan) who she is completely in love with despite the little arguments they have, she also goes to school and has a job. When Logan suddenly dies, it changes everything that Aura thought she believed.
Instead of wanting to stay away from the ghosts, now all that Aura wants is to spend time with Logan. She knows that Logan should be passing over but all she wants is her boyfriend back, no matter how it happens. She knows that spending time with him isn’t doing either of them any good but she just cant help herself. At the same time, Aura has to work on her thesis with hot, Scottish guy Zachary, whom she has a strange connection with and cant help having feelings for. Torn between a world of the living and the dead, Aura has to decide whether or not loving a ghost will be worth it in the long run.
What I thought
Jeri Smith-Ready has invented a world so complex (but not so you don’t understand) and interesting that I couldn’t help but be drawn deep into it right from the start. In a time where paranormal/ fantasy novels are so popular, debut authors in this genre really have to do something to stand out from the next and this is a book that stands out completely. Shade is a paranormal story with a very strong plot as well as a love triangle that you will want to be a part of.
I’ve read books before about people being able to talk to ghosts and helping them cross over (very Ghost Whisper-ish) but here, this wasn’t the whole story. There is a lot of history behind the Shift which isn’t fully expanded upon in this book but that only means that we will get a sequel (I’d cry if we didn’t). I found the concept of only a certain amount of people, born in a certain time, having this ability extremely interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed learning little snippets of why and how this happened.
The characters as a whole were so real to me. Teenagers in books are sometimes misrepresented and written in a way that make them seem like they are from a fairytale. Not these teenagers. They’re between 16 and 18 and live like I would expect a teenager to do… or close to how I did at that age. They go out partying underage, they swear (although it isn’t overdone) and they aren’t afraid to talk about sex. There isn’t really any sugar coating here which was what made them so real. Obviously, life is not easy or perfect for them and Shade covers quite a few important issues for teens like peer pressure, relationships/ friendships and emotions.
Aura was such a likable character, especially when I began to feel her grief but she is also very complex. She has quite a mysterious background, with her mum dying when she was little and not having a clue who her father is, but she does know that they were somehow connected with the Shift. Though she doesn’t let anyone know, Aura makes her thesis research into her past. What I loved about Aura was that before Logan’s death, she was such a strong character who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in. After Logan’s death, she feels so much grief that it is like she becomes a ghost herself when no one is looking, consumed by her grief. If having Logan’s death wasn't enough to deal with, she also has a lot of other problems which she tries to deal with the best she can. I don’t think that I could have kept it quite so together or even pretended to be ok if I were put in that situation.
I think anyone would find it hard not to fall in love with Logan. He’s so full of life, even after he dies and is always full of hope and with a positive attitude about everything. Even though he is always up for a good time and knows how good he is in the band, he isn’t afraid to show his feelings for Aura which pretty much makes him the near perfect guy for me. Who wouldn’t want a hot but sensitive rock star?
The relationship between Aura and Logan was so beautiful and I truly felt like I was a part of this story due to the amazing writing. Even though they have their problems, like any normal relationship, it is clear that they love each other unconditionally and would do anything for each other, to be with each other. Here lies the problem. If the love of your life came back as a ghost, would you be able to turn him away? I don’t know that I could, especially if it was Logan. There were a couple of scenes, especially when Aura and Logan talk about their feelings for each other, which were so beautiful (both happy and sad though) that I couldn’t help but cry. I’m not talking a little cry either, I was full on blubbering… which did make carrying on with the story a bit hard. I cant remember the last time that I felt so close to the main characters in a book that they made me feel this way.
That brings me on to Zachary. Jeri, how could you give me two boys that I just couldn’t choose between? I wanted them both! Zach is a smooth talking, confident Scotsman with an accent I happen to love. It is quite clear that Zach has a particular interest in Aura from the moment they meet and it isn’t only her thesis. There is quite a big build up to the reasons behind Zach being in America being revealed until quite far into the story and although I knew that it had something to do with the Shift, I couldn’t guess exactly what that reason was. Where Logan makes Aura happy, Zach has a way of making her forget what is happening outside of their time together and ultimately easing her pain inch by inch.
I was so completely drawn into the story and what each of the characters were going through that I just couldn’t put this book down. I managed to read it in one sitting and ended up staying awake until 4am because I couldn’t bare to go to sleep without knowing what happened. Now, the sequel cannot come soon enough for me. There were so many questions that I wanted answers to that I didn’t get but I’m not saying this as something negative. The best authors know how to keep their readers hooked and this is something that Jeri Smith-Ready does extremely well. I am so excited to see what will happen next and how this complex world unfolds in Shade, due to be released in 2011.
I have read some amazing books so far this year but Shade is right up there with the best of them. If this book isn’t a bestseller then I will be shocked. You will be missing out on an amazing story of love, loss and life if you don’t read this one.