Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

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Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The middle volume of this trilogy of supernaturally intriguing romance. While perhaps not as notable as the first one, this is a welcome return to this world.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857071866

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You might be thinking the worst problem a modern-day American girl could have is her rock-star-in-waiting boyfriend dying, and coming back as a ghost that she and those younger than her can see because of some untold event in the past, but suffering when he gets malevolent and becomes a shade, which means she has to help him move on before he's locked up in limbo. That's because you're not factoring in the last boy born before her, who can't see but is utterly repellent to ghosts, but who she's just about to fall in love with when her late love turns up again, this time with a strangely solid, corporeal form...

That's the situation at the beginning of the middle volume of this trilogy. It's a summary that makes this seem very much a girly ghost story, and I think it probably is more gender-specific than book one. Where this author is at her best is in conjuring a plot that furthers the romance between Aura and Zachary, courtesy of the very inventive mythology she is working within. She almost dazzles with the way one side of the story reveals the other, and vice versa. It might get a little too much - there is a large swing between Aura wondering who to take to her school prom, and getting shot at by shady agents, and while I won't pretend it's a sudden switch, the pitch is there and is perhaps a little OTT.

I'm not sure this second visit to this world was as compelling as the first, but the supernatural tangle and contemporary romance, done a lot more realistically and less chastely than in, say, Rachel Caine's Morganville books, will hit all the relevant audiences' pleasure points. The first person singular again gets us into the mind of Aura, and while Logan takes a little bit of a back seat in favour of Zach, that's hardly noticeable with a narrative drive such as that here. What we're left with is a book that does smack of being part two of three, leaving us a long way from the start and with the hint we're about to go a lot further, in exploring both the engaging affairs of heart, and the compelling mythos involved. I shall certainly intend to be there at the end.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Another recent paranormal adventure for teenaged girls we enjoyed was Unearthly by Cynthia Hand.

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