Rea's Reviews > Slide

Slide by Jill Hathaway
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Mar 16, 2012

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bookshelves: mystery, paranormal, young-adult

Full review can be found here.

From the cover, I kind of thought that this book would have more of a horror vibe. As it is, it’s really caught somewhere between thriller and mystery. The school cheerleaders are killing themselves. Suicide, they say, it’s like dominoes. Except that, due to her ability to slide, Vee knows that the first suicide was really a murder and she highly suspects that the second was too.

But how can she prove that this is the case without telling the truth about her ability? No one will believe that when she sleeps, it’s not really narcolepsy but something she can’t really explain: she’s moving into another person’s body, merely a spectator to all of their actions. They’ll either think that she’s lying or that she’s lost it; either way, it’ll do no good. So Vee finds herself taking matters into her own hands.

Early on in the book, Vee explains that if she’s touching an item that a person has emotionally imprinted on, then she’ll slide into that person’s head when she loses consciousness. To avoid this, she claims to go out of her way to keep from touching items that others could have imprinted on.

I say “claims” because that is what Vee tells the reader through the narrative. What we see is a very different story. In the first day alone, Vee slides three times into three different people because she’s placed something of theirs against her skin. This seems a bit careless for someone who supposedly goes out of her way to avoid imprinted items. After all, she’s bought a book brand new so that there’s no way anyone could have imprinted on it, but then she just slips a friendship bracelet made for her little sister onto her wrist. Surely if anyone’s going to emotionally imprint on something, it’d be a friendship bracelet made for their best friend. These two sides of Vee seem entirely at odds with each other. This was the only thing that really stuck out to me as not being entirely smooth.

All of the characters have skeletons in their closets: from the best friend with the secret home life, to the former best friend who would have left Vee to be raped simply because the boy chose her, to the emotionally distant father who leaves his teenage daughter to fill the role of parent. Vee eventually comes to realise that she can use her strange ability to uncover some of these secrets and she starts to slide on purpose. I really liked this Vee who wasn’t afraid to use everything at her disposal in order to get to the bottom of things.

The mystery of who is behind the killings is tightly knit, keeping both Vee and the reader guessing for a long time. I’m not entirely sure that the reader is really given enough information to be able to draw the right conclusion until close to the end of the novel, but that is mostly because this is a first person narrative and Vee doesn’t have that information herself.

As a reader, I wish that I’d been given the chance to get to know Rollins, Vee’s best friend, a bit better. It started out really well and I loved their friendship – especially the anecdote about the time they bought an XXL shirt and pretended to be conjoined twins for a day. Unfortunately, he was sort of pushed out of things for much of the book in order to make room for Vee’s investigations and for the new boy in town to come and sweep Vee off her feet. Vee’s interactions with Zane, particularly when they first meet, are an eye-opening look into the girl she is when she’s not branded as the narcoleptic freak at school or trying to fill the shoes of a replacement parent at home. She was more open and friendly with Zane than she appeared to be with other people.

The “love triangle”, and I put that in quotation marks as I’m not sure that it can really be called that, was very different. There were two boys vying for Vee’s affections, but this never takes precedence over the mystery. But this in turn means that I felt connected to the best friend from the scenes that we’d seen with Rollins and Vee hanging out, but I didn’t really feel connected to Zane as a lot of what goes on between him and Vee goes on off page.

Vee’s home life was particularly well drawn. Her little sister seems to be bending to the peer pressure that’s sending her off the rails and her father spends more time helping other people cope with having lost a loved one to cancer than he does his own daughters with the loss of their mother. Is it any wonder that Vee is not exactly the image of a well-balanced teen?

The last thing that I want to mention is the dependence on American pop culture. I read a lot of novels by American authors that I have no problems with, but in Slide I found that occasionally Vee would be talking about something, taking it for granted that I’d know what it was, but in reality I didn’t have the slightest clue.
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