My rating: 4.5 of 5 genies
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction, Romance, Ghost, Fantasy
Published: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library Loan
Purchase At: TheBookDepository.com or Amazon.com
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.
Rating: 4.5 (Otherworldly guitars, that is)
Plot: Wasn't predictable in the slightest! And the rare parts where I thought I knew for sure what was going happen? Never turned out the way expected. The writing was so fluent and true to the age of our protagonist as well as the audience Shade is marketed towards! I can't stress just how frustrating it is reading a YA author who tries her hardest to be hip or current and just totally misses the mark by either:
a.) Portraying unrealistic characters, people so alien from the way teenagers truly are; either their portrayals are too dramatic or far-fetched, but they almost always forget to write instead for the audience group targeted.
b.) Too much cussing! Sure, Shade had cussing, even a substantial amount of it, but the author just made it comfortable. Sometimes it's just weird reading and seeing that abrupt malediction pop up and stare you in the eye like a really bad pimple. It's a major turn-off. I mean kids swear, but give us some credit and make it sound relative! Not like some bomb unearthed from beneath the ground, geesh!
c.) Just plain overeagerness screws authors up most of the time. Relax and stop trying so hard, Smith-Ready did that and look how well Shade turned out!
Setting: Can I just offer up some much-deserved props to Smith-Ready for the fabulous job she did in creating the whole post/pre-Shift concept delio?! Not only is the idea completely intuitive, it works like a BOSS. So many things can go wrong with original world building, or OWB's as I like to call them; an author can come up with dreadful inconsistencies - or worse yet - contradictions to their new dimension. With so much riding on success in these cases there is little question as to why so many original worlds flop like bad hot-cakes. I was expecting that to be the case with Shade, even prepared a little to move on to the next read, but I found myself instead pleasantly surprised.
It is a relief to find an author who knows her stuff! The concepts were ingenue and it all just worked together like seamless patchwork. I adored the roles of the government and the divide between post and pre shifters. Also, the Shades? Unbelievable! I could base my decision to read this again solely on the environment in which the actual story takes place and that is how you know a book is fabulous.
Characters: As the main protagonist I found Aura very relatable and I ached when she was in pain, felt when she rejoiced. I love her. She's a smart kid and comfortable with herself and not afraid to voice her opinions, what more could I ask for? You can imagine that with so much praise for the leading lady it pains me no small amount to also add that she did appear to be weak of mind in some areas, even painfully indecisive when it came to Loser Logan.
I hated how she rationalizes her decision not to sleep with Logan those first few times as stupid. IT WAS NOT STUPID! Something like that should feel anything but wrong, it should be perfect, not painful enough that you pull away. That is why I believe teenagers should not be out sleeping around and decide instead to wait for marriage and for that special person who loves you enough to marry you. Not some boyfriend and definitely not a club fling. It doesn't help that I hated Logan, but I will get to that later, see my Problem Areas for a list.
Aura was a good a head as any to be in for the duration of this read because of her insightfulness. Oh how I appreciated the lack of angst in this novel! WOOT. WOOT. I think I maybe exhaled a sigh of relief big enough for 10 people when the realization that I indeed would not suffer through doubtful and mindless teenage prose dawned. It was a little hard to believe, I kept thinking it wasn't real, but it so was! I was very pleased.
And the grin just kept growing when I met gorgeous and SCOTTISH Stud-Meister, Zach! Hello!! Well, if you haven't gathered as much by now, he was kind of my major crush and the first pick for Aura, in my opinion. He just gets her better than Logan ever could and evidently he puts her first, not his fame or career. Zachary was intelligent, caring, funny, charming, playful, a little childish
H.M. (honorable mention): I'm giving this award to aunt Gina because she was this sweet and caring person who worked her butt off to provide for herself and niece. She is one adult I can say was the perfect role-model, (not literally no one is perfect), but in terms of setting a positive example for Aura? She kills.
She has to share the award with Meghan, because with great friends like her who aren't afraid to tell jerks like Logan what's up? You will never have enemies.
P.A. (problem areas): Can really be surmised in one word, Logan.
To be fair he was charming, and I could see why initially he has this magnetic personality going for him. People were drawn to him and he was popular and cute (to some). BUT THAT'S JUST IT! He's so egotistic and full of it that it didn't matter that he sang like an angel or that he "never wanted to make Aura cry", he was still a jerk whose stupid decision left him dead. I wish I could lie that the mistake ended there, but they continued and really all that mattered to Logan was well, Logan.
The things he asked of Aura - to stay faithful to him even though he was dead and be there for him even though she was still alive and had to live for herself - were selfish and so very self-centered! He didn't care about Aura, all he cared about was not being alone during the aftermath of his bad decision.
Reasons I hate him:
- Logan was such a diva, always doing things that would gather attention to himself and a total pain in the behind much before he even died. He was in a lot of ways, more feminine than Aura and constantly threw hissy fits which nearly every character seemed hell-bent on dismissing as him "Just being Logan"! Their willingness to cover up his issues was almost as annoying as the character himself. Yeesh!
- His jealousy over Zach is nauseating. I couldn't stand that he believed so strongly that he still had a say in what went on in Aura's life, and yet that shows another example of Logan's self-centeredness. Zach is the same age as her and yet I do not doubt in the slightest that if it were against his or Aura's happiness, he would always put hers first. Logan's love was shallow in comparison to Zachary's realness and dedication.
- I firmly believe that both Zach and Logan are childish to their own extent, but even though it is true that Logan is older, Zach is somehow far more mature. He just seemed so clued in whereas Logan cared about little else but music. It took him being dead to see that he really could have changed the world!
I am going to pick up Shift for sure, but I'm praying that something changes and Aura simultaneously grew a backbone over the course of Shift, because I cannot stand to see her allow Logan to have his way. His whining and childishness are grating, please Jeri Smith-Ready, change that! Other than that this book (and Zach) are an instant fave!