Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

SUMMARY: Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.


The Short Version:
A unique twist on body invasion mixed with a great murder mystery, Slide is definitely an intriguing and luring read. A very sympathetic and well rounded central character interacts in a great way with the strong supporting cast of characters. With a fantastic who done it plot, and emotion blended into strong writing, Slide is a great debut for a range of readers.

The Extended Version:
Vee is an average girl in all the ways that count, yet has this stellar internal strength and defensive nature that makes her relatable, sympathetic, and highly likable. Obsessed with 90s music, and holding her past battle wounds close to her heart without letting them completely overrun her, she is a very fleshed out and well rounded character. Though holding a slight rebellious streak with her pink hair and take it as it comes attitude, her love for her father and sister is clear. Struggling with the sliding and the secrets she keeps because of it, the reason she sometimes acts how she does is easy to see yet hard to swallow at times. Though she’s far from a mess, she still goes through great growth and development, facing what’s thrown at her and changing in some stellar ways.

Rollins is charming in a very unconventional sort of way, and is a great friend despite some of the book’s events. Though holding his own secrets, and definitely one to mess up now and then, his friendship with Vee is something that betters them both. While he isn’t a constant presence in the book, and his relationship with Vee is tested in more ways than one, he still will leave a mark on readers and does his own part to drive the book forward. Creative and gentle, Rollins is definitely different from a lot of book boys, but not one to ignore.

The rest of the cast is relatively small, with some fantastically done side characters. From Mattie, Vee’s younger sister who is pretty much the polar opposite of her, to the endearing and swoonworthy Zane, Hathaway has built a solid set of characters who weave into the story perfectly. The bond between Vee and Mattie is a tenuous one, holding a strong note throughout the book and growing and shifting in a way reactive not only to the story and events, but to their varying personalities as well. Zane, too, has a strong role in not only Vee’s development, but the book as well, holding a strong and appealing presence.

The sliding aspect of this book is fantastic, with the confines and causes of it well shown, learned by Vee through experience only. A secret she’s told no one, the guilt Vee feels at knowing Sophie didn’t commit suicide yet being forced to continue to tell no one is crushing and tangible, adding a huge emotional element to her character. The things she sees when she slides into others, and the effects it’s had on her life set her apart from many other characters. Though supernatural in this sense, the rest of the book is strongly grounded in a realistic setting, and the two are laced together smoothly, never letting one take precedence over the other.

Centered heavily around a murder mystery plot, Hathaway keeps things progressing at a smooth pace while still allowing plenty of time for her characters to grow and develop. With plenty of clues dropped along the way, astute readers will be able to piece together the person behind the deaths while still getting the gutting feeling of truth when it’s revealed. Though able to be predicted after a certain point, Hathaway still does her bigger reveal in a very fantastic way, with a bold build up to it and a smooth fall out afterwards.

The writing has an easy flow to it, heavily emotional but fun and engaging as well. Descriptive without being overly done, the reader gets a good sense not only of Vee’s day to day but what it’s like stuck through the eyes of the various people she slides into. Hathaway does a great job keeping the story going, using just enough to let the reader’s mind take over for the rest.

With a fantastic motive behind the deaths and a beautifully scripted overall plot and play out, Slide will be a hit with murder mystery buffs. Holding some great scenes, a uniquely twisted supernatural element, and set against a strong family background, Hathaway’s debut is bold and alluring.

Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Reading level: Ages 14 and up 
Hardcover: 256 pages 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: March 27, 2012


  1. Wow this sounds like a great book. thanks for the excellent review.

    1. Thank you! I reallllly recommend this one. =)

  2. Sounds great. I'm a middle school librarian so was sad to see you recommended it for 14 and up. Was that because of some of the details of her "slides" are too graphic? Thanks

    1. The 14 and up is what the publisher has labeled the book as, not what I think. There's some rougher content, especially considering it is a murder mystery and deals with potential suicide as well, which is probably their reason for putting it 14 and up.