September 26, 2013

REVIEW: Shade (Shade #1)

Shade (Shade #1), by Jeri Smith-Ready
Published May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: audiobook, borrowed from the library
Genre:  young adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

Yeah - ghost books usually aren't my thing. Let's face it - relationships with non-corporeal beings are doomed for failure. No kissing, no touching, no sharing a dessert... it takes all the fun out of it, right? So, I approached Shade with a measure of trepidation. 

As it turns out, I really had nothing to worry about. Not only does Shade include a heroine with tons of moxie (my favorite kind), but it also includes a hot... SCOTTISH... boy. Who is completely alive. And, did I mention hot? Bottom line - I freaking loved this ghost book!

Honestly though, hot Scottish boy aside, one of the best parts of Shade is the paranormal mythology that is all Jeri Smith-Ready. This is some completely unique stuff here, and the way she explained it was so perfect. See, people couldn't see or talk to ghosts until one second... they could. The people born before that second (which has come to be known as "the shift") can't see the ghosts, and the people born after that second can. Aura was born on that second - she was the first. Zachary was born one second before Aura. He was the last. 

I loved how Jeri Smith-Ready created a world around the idea that some people (in this case, no one older than 17) can see ghosts and some can't. Ghosts can testify in their own murder cases. They can be waitresses and rock stars. There's a policing agency designed to keep them in line. And, if ghosts go bad - or, shade - they go to a prison of sorts. This was an amazing concept, and Jeri Smith-Ready sold it marvelously. 

Aura is so cool. She's fun and funny and totally in love with her boyfriend Logan, a local rock band front man. And, when Logan accidentally dies, she understandably struggles. Her devastation is confused by two things - first, she can still see and speak to Logan. And, she does frequently. Second, she befriends Zachary and finds many things to love about him, not least of which is, she can actually touch him. Can you imagine mourning a loss like that when you still can see the person you're mourning? For a teenager, she handles things like a grown-up. 

Zachary is, obviously, my favorite part. He's sweet, charming, smart and he has a really sexy accent. Better than all that, he really cares about Aura and wants to help her, even if that means letting her go. That right there is a keeper. Aura should take note. 

The mystery is so great. Although we know there's a connection between Zachary and Aura - being that they're the last and the first - we don't know what it is, exactly, yet .We also think it has something to do with Zachary's dad and Aura's dead mother. But, we don't know what that is yet, either. And, we know that Zachary and Aura both have some extra powers, but we don't understand the extent of them all yet or the implications on the rest of the world because of them. So, there's plenty of fodder for the next book, which I cannot wait to get into. 

I listened to the audio version of Shade, and the narrator, Khristine Hvam, did a fantastic job. Her accents were spot on, and her reading made the story absolutely come to life. She was wonderful!

I'm so excited to see Jeri Smith-Ready at the Celebrate the Book festival in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on October 19. I can't wait to talk to her about the Shade series and pick her brain. She's an incredible author. 

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