Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready


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.


The Short Version:
Distinct in nature and refreshing in execution, Shade mixes several realistic and paranormal elements into one fantastic read. Aura is an easy character to like, both intense and laid back. Her reactions to Logan’s death are completely realistic despite the paranormal setting, and her desire to hold on to him even as a ghost is both understandable and heartbreaking. The setting and plot are unique and well played out, and the writing if incredibly smooth. With hints of a love triangle, a lingering boyfriend’s ghost, a hot Scott, and a great plot, this debut is a thrill throughout.

The Extended Version:
Despite her ability to see ghosts, Aura is easy relatable and compassionate in nature. Her emotions, particularly on the night of Logan’s death, are achingly realistic and beautifully handled throughout the book. Though she’s got her flaws, she pushes forward. Still deeply in love with Logan, and wanting to hold on to him, her sacrifices to spend time with him as a ghost are easy to understand. Aura’s character and emotions resonates throughout the book, from guilt and regret to confusion and desperation.

Logan is a mess of sorts, and both frustrating and likable. He clearly loves Aura, even if music got in the way sometimes, and the dynamic of their relationship in both life and death carries a strong focus throughout this book. The ghost aspect is smoothly blended into the story, in part due to how accepted the presence of ghosts are throughout the world presented. There is a strongly human element even with the ghosts, masterfully blended what should be a clear cut line. Logan is incredibly memorable as a character, and swoonworthy in several ways- ethereal or not.

Then there’s Zachary, a Scottish exchange student who adds quite a bit of flare to Aura’s life. He is present often, and the nature of his growing relationship with Aura has plenty of its own twists and turns. Add in his accent, his actions, and his responses, and this is one fantastically well done character. From intrigue to romantic interest, Zachary is a great part of the story.

The worldbuilding is fantastic, giving plenty of description and understanding to the reader while still keeping plenty of secrets for future installments. Smith-Ready’s writing is beautifully done and both gives voice and connection to Aura. The plot moves at a very steady pace, mixing the romance with plenty of things surrounding Logan postmortem, and throwing in things related to Zachary. There are several brilliant twists, and a fantastic climax, all leading up to what I consider to be a stunning ending. Though frustrating in potential abruptness, it gives a great leading point for the next book and sends the reader’s mind whirring with possibilities and theories.

Source: Purchased
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416994068
ISBN-13: 978-1416994060


  1. Awesome review, Kari! I ate Shade up with a spoon and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

  2. i have this on my TBR pile...and your review just moved it up significantly on the list :D

    great review! (PS I only read the short version...i will come back for the long version after i finish hehe)