Hallie's Reviews > Shade

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
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's review
Jul 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, ya, audiobook
Read in June, 2010

I really enjoyed this one, somewhat to my own surprise. I think what tipped it from being a pretty run-of-the-mill YA fantasy with the inevitable one-girl, two (wonderful) guys triangle, was the interesting consequences that followed from the Shift. That was a mysterious event that happened some years ago resulting in everyone born after it being able to see ghosts. (Aura was the very first birth post-Shift.) The ones that hang around instead of moving on to where/whatever. So anyone under 16 can see them and no adults can. The change in the balance of power -- as for example, now that ghosts can give evidence in trials, two post-Shift teens have to interpret for them in court. And think how much the black-suited government guys want to recruit the first crop of high school graduates! There just might be some holes in this plot point (I wasn't sure if it was ever explained how the adults KNEW something had happened on this particular date, as it seems a rather tricky thing to figure out.)

The other thing I really liked was that there were things you could do to prevent ghosts from bugging you - obsidian (I think) and the colour red repelled them. So with Aura's boyfriend dead but not going anywhere - because he can stick around? because he wants to get the drug-dealing musical executive to pay for giving him the cocaine that got him killed? because he's an immature brat? - the process of grieving and dealing with loss and maybe letting go, is complicated and examined as such. The hot new Scottish dude who's nice and kind and very interested in Aura -- well, it's a problem.

I didn't write this up at the time, when I'd have remembered it a lot better, because I was hoping to get a copy and review it for Strange Horizons, but publishers didn't send it. The audiobook is horrendous if you've ever heard a Scottish accent, but that's not the author's fault. Will be very interested to see if the sequel gets stronger or is a wash-out.

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