Clair's Reviews > Shift

Shift by Em Bailey
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's review
Mar 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, fiction
Read from March 14 to 26, 2012

Shift by Em Bailey was an extraordinarily gripping read. I loved every moment of it and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for future works by her.

The story follows the life of Olive, a girl who, following a recent breakdown and suicide attempt, has been put on a course of medication and therapy. She integrates herself back into a routine by attending school and working at the local cinema.

However, she no longer has any friends. Except for Ami. Olive's old best friend, Katie, has now ditched her for the other girls in class. But then, Miranda comes into Olive's life. And it's rumoured that she actually killed her parents, and has been tossed around to different relatives ever since. Add a hot guy into the mix (Lachlan), and our heroine's favourite band coming to town, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Miranda is not quite the person she seems to be, though, befriending Katie, then dumping her for Olive. After a terrifying discovery, Olive and Ami must strive to get away from her as quickly as possible. But will that even be possible?

The theme of the book is toxic friendship (according to the ARC I got through the Waterstone's Free Reading programme), and it covers it incredibly well. Miranda is fairly menacing in how her moods swing so dangerously, and how callous she is towards Katie and Olive after certain events in the book. She's not the best villain in the world, but her fifteen minutes of fame are enough to give you the creeps.

I also really loved reading from Olive's point of view. Things have changed so much for her since her 'incident' and although taking her 'vitamins' helps her get through the day, she's still walking a bit of a tightrope. (view spoiler)

The only thing that spoiled my enjoyment of the book was the hot boyfriend angle that Lachlan is there to satisfy. Can't sell a paranormal series these days without some understanding, beautiful hunk now, can we? Aside from one good scene in which he gets Olive to face her fears, he just didn't feel very fleshed-out to me. I had to roll my eyes when it's revealed that he's the half-brother of one of the members of Olive's favourite band Luxe. I just didn't really take any interest in him, and even if I had, there just wasn't much to go off of.

The supernatural angle of this book was also incredibly interesting. Miranda arrives in town, and comes across as a martyr at first, then reveals her true colours. It turns out that the hunch Olive and Ami had was 100% correct: Miranda is a shapeshifter. Oh, not that she shifts into other creatures, she just latches onto other people and siphons their best assets, like beauty and intelligence, leaving them dry husks of their former selves. Shapeshifter is a bit of an odd word here (she sounds like more of an energy vampire to me), admittedly, but this angle works, and the more we get to know Miranda, the more we see what a monster she really can be.

In conclusion, I really love the writing style, and the two main characters, but one of them is a bit of a let down. However, the supernatural element is well-handled and ought to keep your attention for 300+ pages.


(This review is also available on my blog:
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Reading Progress

03/14/2012 page 1
03/16/2012 page 86
27.0% ""Need a hand?"

"No thanks," I added, a little tersely. "You don't have to stick around. It's under control." Did he think I wasn't capable of changing a tyre? That all girls had to wait around for big, strong guys like him to help them out?

Oh, Olive, love, for pity's sake. Lachlan was just asking if you needed help...

03/16/2012 page 88
28.0% ""I say no to heaps of things. Commercial radio. Leggings that look like jeans. Tofu schnitzel."

*quietly agrees with Olive*

03/26/2012 page 169
53.0% "I yelped and did one of those funny-looking dances that you do when you're trying to shake an insect out of your clothes while holding a bike.

Ha, we've all been there. =P

" 1 comment
03/26/2012 page 255
80.0% "Ooh, blackmail!"
08/24/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Brandi Great review, and I agree completely. I really liked Lachlan, but still agree with what you said, and I rolled my eyes too when we found out who his brother was. I felt so sorry for Olive when she found out about Ami though. That one got me good!

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