Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

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Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

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Buy Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The closing third of this brilliant trilogy, treating girls in love with ghosts with inestimable sincerity, and providing a great fantasy read easily able to break out of that subject's typical audience.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780857074119

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Age gap relationships - who'd risk them? Zach is only a brief moment older than Aura, but in that instant the world changed, as Aura and anyone younger can see and speak to ghosts - while Zach might as well be poison to them. Over two books Aura has accepted being with Zach and not her dead rock-star boyfriend, who has finally, permanently, moved on. Last time they even found out a lot about how and why the Shift, as that moment is called, happened. Now we're to consider the present and the future - what it would mean for Zach and Aura to really get together, and what the Powers That Be (whoever they are) are expecting of them, together and apart. It's the last in the trilogy, so a lot of secrets will be revealed, a lot of threat will be faced - and it'll be emotional.

It's not something I thought about, but it's no real surprise to read in the acknowledgments that the series has a fansite. It's still a little surprising to see the members are virtually all female, for this series is so strong, so powerfully immersive and so intriguing it should be open to anyone. Sure, the thrust of the story is Aura's first-person narrative, and a lot of it is about her emotional life as a 16 and 17-year old split between a dead boyfriend and a guy who causes him much pain, but this unlikely premise is set in a mythology so convincing any fan of teen fantasy has to sit up and take note. By no means is it a cheap way to flesh out a soppy girly romance with genre trappings.

And while the emotional side to the story comes to a climax here (bad pun and spoiler both, I'm afraid) it's all been superbly written. Cheesy? No. Mawkish? Never. Sincere and honest, more like. Everything else ramps up here too. A thousand pages ago Aura had no enemies outside the clasroom, and a pleasant(ish) part-time job of talking to ghosts so her and her aunt could straighten out their unfinished duties and regrets, and at a pinch get clues to a murder. Now there are invisible forcefields, post-traumatic stress and men far too clever than to be just Men in Black.

Throughout, Smith-Ready remains in control, giving us what we are to expect with her brilliant characters, taking us to the places the series is bound to lead them to, and yet filling out these pages with yet more we cannot predict. It looks long, but with her dialogue-heavy style it flashes by, and the series barely wastes time on an unnecessary word. While it shouldn't move down to the pre-teen shelf (both themes and language are very much 14 and over) this trilogy should definitely have the wings to take flight away from girls' supernatural romance categorisation. It's been a distinctive story, told in three eminently readable books, and I'm very pleased to have read it all. You might want to swell the traffic on that fansite too...

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The series started with Shade.

Buy Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready at Amazon.com.

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