Oct 20, 2011

Book Review: Shade by Jeri Smith - Ready

Shade by Jeri Smith - Ready
(Shade, #1)
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse; 320 pages

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.

When I read a book, I never read the back cover or the inside flap. I just like to dive right into the book. I usually have a vague knowledge of the subject matter. For instance with Twilight all I knew was vampires. The Hunger Games I knew teenagers fighting to the death. The Iron Fey series I knew faeries. It's safe to say that there are a lot more to those books than a general subject matter. When I started reading Shade I had no clue what the book was about. I assumed a shade was a type of shadow. In fact the only reason why I picked up the first book in this series is because one of the characters Zachary was a runner up in a poll over the summer of "sexiest YA male". I figured if this guy could give Jace Wayland a run for his money, he must be interesting to read about.

It's safe to say I was surprised when I started reading the book and saw that it was centered around a couple named Aura and Logan. And while Zachary is introduced in the first 20 pages of the book, the focus is clearly on Aura and Logan. Aura and Logan are high school students who grew up together. They began dating about a year before the book starts. They are dealing with the typical teenage boyfriend girlfriend issue of, "When are we going to have sex?" It is clear from the beginning how much Aura and Logan love each other, but human nature gives us doubts of lasting love. The book is in Aura's point of view. While she loves Logan, she is worried that he has plans in his life that doesn't include her. Logan is a musician in a band with his siblings called the Keeley Brothers. Aura is afraid that if Logan's band is signed to a record label and becomes famous, she will become an afterthought and Logan will pick up on the lifestyle of "Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll."

Unfortunately that's not all of Aura's issues. Aura along with any one else under the age of 16 born "post shift" can see and hear ghost. Logan is a "pre shifter" so he cannot see ghost. Other characters "post shifters" in Shade include Aura's best friend Megan, who happens to be dating Logan's older brother Mickey (pre shift) and Logan's younger brother Dylan. The ghost can be sort of nuance. They harass anyone who can see them because they are desperate to find their love ones. The characters do their best to ignore them, but because of Aura's job she really can't. Aura works for her aunt who helps ghost cross over to the other side. Aura's aunt is a lawyer who often takes on cases of ghost who were murdered. Since anyone born pre shift cannot see or talk to ghost, lawyers need someone born post shift to represent on the ghost's behalf.

When I started reading this book, about 30 or so pages into Shade, I started feeling this sense of dread. Like when you just know something bad was going to happen. If I had read the inside cover I would have known exactly what was going to happen. On Logan's 17th birthday, he and his band have a gig that will be showcased in front of 2 record labels. Aura has also decided that tonight she will make love to Logan after his gig. But of course things don't go according to plan. Tragedy strikes after the gig and Logan dies. At this point while reading, I admit that I almost lost it. I almost stopped reading. It is very hard for me to read something that's angsty. But I decided to read the inside cover to see exactly what the book was about. Sure enough in the flap, Logan's death is mentioned. I think it was hard for me because even though this occurs very early on in the book, I had already felt a connection with Logan. I understood the relationship problems he and Aura were going through. I was rooting for them.

With Logan's death the book takes on a serious turn. I'm glad I decided to keep going, because I found the rest of the book to be enjoyable. It wasn't as angsty of a read as I expected it to be. And it's not like Logan is no longer in the book, because he now a ghost. Aura can see him, but she can't touch him. Unfortunately for Aura, the circumstances of Logan's death sort of makes her an outcast at her school. Her friends treat her differently, so she seeks friendship with her partner for a school project, Zachary.

I really like Zach. He's an exchange student from Scotland. So of course him having an accent already makes him extra swoon worthy. Zach is living with his father because his mother left his father, and he chose to live with his father. He has issues being separated from her. He develops feelings for Aura, but knows that Aura loves Logan and still in a relationship with him even though he's a ghost. I think the author of this book really gets teenage emotions. The problem that the teens in this book face are very realistic. Aura knows deep down that she cannot have a lasting relationship with Logan, and that he should pass on. She also knows that Zach is interested in dating her, and he would be the smart choice for her. Zach is patient with Aura, but as he says he's not a saint. I've read too many books where males will say to females, I will wait for you forever. That's not real life, no matter how much we want it to be. It definitely is not real life for a high school boy. It's the first love triangle that I've read where one of the characters is deceased. Sometimes you read books where one of the characters has issues moving on to someone else because of a death or a bad break up, but Logan still has an active presence in Aura's life. So it's interesting to see who she would choose.

While the author's is very good at defining teenage emotions, I found her writing style to be kind of fanfiction like. Also there were points in the book, where I found myself confused when she was describing the details of the shift. To be honest I still don't understand the shift. I'm hoping that the next book in the series helps me understand it a little better. Lastly, the climax was a little predictable. There weren't too many moments in the book that shocked me. But that being said, I would still recommend this book to YA fans because I was never bored reading it. My interest was kept from beginning to end. It's an easy read with enjoyable characters and an interesting plot.

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