Book Review – ‘Slide’ by Jill Hathaway

Interesting.

Slide Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Mystery

No. of pages: 250

From Goodreads:

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 distant lately, 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.

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I really enjoyed this book, but there was something about it that felt juvenile and incomplete. This is a short novel, but I really had to force myself to read it at times… and others, I couldn’t put it down. The pacing is all over the place.

I can’t help but compare it to the ‘Wake’ trilogy by Lisa McMann. The same concept, similar characters (but less profanity.) Where the Wake trilogy was gritty, dark with flawed characters, ‘Slide’ was light, easily read, and skimmed around the edges of the difficult. It could have been so much more gripping, but the author did not take us down these dark alleys, favouring an after-school-special feel.

Sylvia “Vee” was a likeable character for our protagonist, her inner musings relate to the thoughts all of us have through the torturous teen years. I’m not sure if she was meant to come off as grungy or emo with chipped black fingernails and pink hair, but none of that came through in the narrative. She was more Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne.

It still astounds me that she did not even attempt to speak to an adult, whether it be her father or a police officer when faced with the seriousness of a murder of someone close to her. And with the events that happened after that, it’s a wonder she was even able to function. Especially since she was eating caffeine pills like candy – do you have any idea what those things do to your body and brain chemistry with long-term use? It lost the magic and realism from that point.

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While I loved the mystery of this storyline, and the pacing finally being sorted out in the second half of the novel – there was too much wrong with it contextually. Facts that should have been researched. Maybe this should have been set in an alternate universe to give a better, more impactful setting for the novel to take place.

I really loved Sylvia’s younger sister Mattie – how she behaved and coped with the shock of her friend’s death. That was painted so realistically that I just about applauded. Two thumbs up.

Zane as the leather jacket clad best friend (and outsider) was a little cliché. At least he wasn’t brooding or controlling or overly jealous. He was right on the cusp of me rolling my eyes. On the whole, I like him, but there was no stand out attraction to his character. I felt there could have been a bigger altercation between him and Sylvia so we could see what he was made of.

Sylvia’s Dad – NOW let me do an eyeroll! He annoyed me from start to finish. That’s all I’m going to say, not only to avoid spoilers, but to stop me from devolving into a massive and unflattering rant…

One thing that really annoyed me is that every time Sylvia did her thing, sliding into someone’s head, it always seemed to be at the exact right moment for her to grab a clue to the mystery she was trying to work out. It is a kind of surveillance right? What happened to those times where the subject was doing nothing of consequence? It felt too convenient for me. Detective work is a lot of long hours researching and waiting for something to turn up. Sylvia had all of the clues handed to her. *face palm*

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I was waiting to find out about the mythology of Sylvia’s ability, or even her theories as to how she came to have this ability, but there was nada. I do like how she finally started to embrace it and begin to get a modicum of control. That was pretty cool.

For me to give it a higher rating it would need a few tweaks, a dash of tension and angst and about a hundred pages longer to explore the themes and mythology. Maybe it gets touched on in the second novel ‘Impostor,’ but guessing from the title, it may just be another light mystery.

I’m on the fence about whether I’d recommend this, with so many other engaging books out there, it’s not a big miss. But I’ll reserve judgement until I read the second instalment to see if it can sway my opinion either way.

Overall feeling: Of two minds

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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