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Review: Shade and Shift

August 18, 2011

Titles: Shade and Shift
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Dates: May 4, 2010 (Shade);

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.—Goodreads

After hearing soooo much about these books (and the Scottish slice of mancake that is Zachary) I finally, finally, finally read the first two books in the Shade series by the Twitter-loving Jeri Smith-Ready.

After finishing Shade, the first book in the series, I was actually sort of . . .  not in love with the book the way I wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but  I wanted Logan to just freaking pass on already and let Aura get on with her life (preferably with Zach, the most patient teenage boy ever written). And then I felt bad for feeling like that because if MY boyfriend up and died, and I had the option of having him around forever as a ghost, I really don’t know what I would ultimately want. Anyhow, by the end of Shade I actually found myself much more interested in the storyline regarding Aura and Zach’s project on The Shift than I was the love story aspect.

And then I read Shift. And holy cow did this book change things for me. The second book in the series deals much more with the idea of The Shift and the logistics of how and why it happened, thus satiating my desire for that—and you learn more about Aura’s mother, who died when Aura was three, but left behind a very frustrating journal, full of missing pages, describing her time in Ireland about a year before Aura was born. In just this regard, I enjoyed Shift way, way more than I did Shade.

But onto the love story aspect. Logan is still around in Shift and actually plays a big role in helping Aura and Zach with their project as there are some DISCOVERIES that are made because of Logan. And though Aura still struggles with her feelings throughout the book, because who wouldn’t, I actually liked the way Smith-Ready handled it. It’s very obvious that Aura is torn, and that if Logan was still alive she would absolutely be with him, and wouldn’t have thought twice about Zach. (Feel free to argue with me about that in comments.) But because Logan isn’t alive and needs to pass on, Zach is definitely on Aura’s mind a lot. However, she doesn’t really pursue him until she resolves her lingering feelings for her lingering ghost of a boyfriend.

Alright, so other things in these books:

I have to talk about Logan’s siblings, specifically Dylan. Although I do like Mickey and Siobhan, I adore Dylan and he really, really stood out in Shift. About halfway through, Aura decides to ask Dylan to go to prom with her, and though that seems a little weird (I mean, he’s her dead boyfriend’s little brother) he ended up being the best prom date EVER. Dylan is definitely the stand-out character for me.

However! I also really love Megan, Aura’s best friend and girlfriend of Mickey. Megan is the kind of girl who would have no qualms about getting in a fist fight to defend her friends. She’s kind of a hard ass, but she’s really funny and has a Yoda puppet (!!!) and is just an all-around incredible friend.

And now we discuss the music, which plays a huge, huge role in this book. So huge, in fact, that Miss Smith-Ready has playlists for the books on her website. You should check them out because they are great. Logan’s family, the Keeleys, are all uber musical (except for Dylan) and before Logan died were in a very successful Irish punk band. So, music is discussed a whole bunch. And there is a reference to Mumford and Sons. And I want to borrow Smith-Ready’s iPod and steal all her music.

Oh! You also need to know that Zach wears a kilt to the prom. It’s AWESOME.

Overall, these books are solid and actually very different in tone than are a lot of YA novels. Smith-Ready is great at crafting characters who are flawed, but still loveable (i.e., Mickey. And Logan. And, actually, Aura.) And though Zach is the most “perfect” of the characters, he’s not a YA male who is so perfect that he could never actually exist. (There’s hope for us accent-lovin’ ladies yet!) So yeah. I like these. And I’m VERY excited to read Shine!

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