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Guest Reviews
May 11, 2010 posted by Ivy

Guest Reviewer: Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder is the author of the popular novels, The Study series, The Glass series, and most recently Inside Out, which also happens to be our Book of the Month right now.  We recently asked Maria to review one of her favorite YA novels.  She chose Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready.   Enjoy!

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Award winning fantasy author, Jeri Smith-Ready has dipped her toe into the young adult market with her recently released fantasy book, Shade.

The premise of the book is quite intriguing – On the day of Aura’s birth a Shift happened and all children, including Aura born after this Shift can see and hear ghosts. It’s sixteen years later and the world has adjusted to life with ghosts that only kids can see. Aura would like nothing better to ignore them and hang out with her rocker boyfriend, Logan Keeley. In fact, Aura would like to find out why the Shift happened and how she could undo it.

Jeri has created an unique world with Shade. And she answered all the logical questions a reader would ask about what’s it like to live with ghosts (thank you Jeri!). For privacy, she invented black boxes that keep ghosts from entering certain rooms like the bathroom and schools. People wear red to repel them, and there’s a shady government agency (of course) dedicated to studying and policing them.

Just like in her urban vampire books, Wicket Game and Bad to the Bone, Jeri’s love of music is once again a main theme throughout this book. Aura’s hot boyfriend is the singer in an Irish-flavored rock band in Baltimore named the Keeley Brothers. In the beginning chapters of the book, we learn it’s the night of Logan’s 17th birthday and record company reps are listening to their gig. After the gig, he’s offered a recording contract. Basically, it’s the best night of his life, but unfortunately it’s his last.

Now don’t yell at me for spoiling this little surprise. Just read the back cover blurb or the write up on Amazon.com and you’ll know all about it, too. And the kicker about those back cover blurbs is – the author doesn’t write them. It’s usually the editor or marketing, hoping to hook a reader’s interest. After I read the blurb, I assumed that Logan’s death happened before the start of the story (don’t know why – I just did). That when I opened to chapter one, it would be a few months later or even a day later, but no, there’s Logan happy and full of life. He’s a great character and so are Aura and the band members (Jeri excelled with creating very likable characters).

Unfortunately for me, knowing he’s going to die makes it really hard for me to read the first three chapters (the reason – I’m a mother of a 15 year old boy so I don’t think this would bother the target audience as much). I kept putting the book down, but I wanted to review the book and I loved Jeri’s other books, so I kept with it. But as soon as I made it past the tragedy, I flew through the rest of the book in a day.

This is a great book you need to read. Logan returns as a ghost (so he’s not gone gone) and another potential and very much alive suitor, Zachary Moore arrives with his secrets and sexy Scottish brogue. The characters and world are rich and well developed and the ending hinted at more books to come. Which I just found out, the second book, Shift is due out on May 2011.

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Read also Maria’s review of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer here.

Visit Maria’s website for more info about her and her books.

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