Saturday, 7 April 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Slide by Jill Hathaway was a book I almost bought at Heathrow during my stupidly long layover. I was able to talk myself out of it at the time because a) I’d just bought a pile of books in the US and and b) I opened it to a random page in the middle and it seemed a little bit shallow. Then later c) I bought a Kobo.

But now I seem to be on some sort of YA binge and ran out of pre-purchased YA so I downloaded the sample/preview of Slide and one thing led to another, I bought it and kept flipping those iPhone pages until I got to the end. Needless to say, I enjoyed it.

Slide is about Vee, a teenage girl (I think aged 17), who has a magical form of narcolepsy. When she passes out, she slides into someone else’s head for a few minutes. She can’t read their mind, but does see and experience life from their point of view. The choice of who she slides into is determined by what she was touching at the time; if she touches something which had some sort of emotional significance to another person, she’ll probably slide into their heads. Because she can’t read minds, she often doesn’t know who she’s slid into unless there’s a clue in the new environment or unless she knows what object brought on the episode.

Things aren’t exactly going well for Vee with mild injuries brought on by the narcolepsy interspersed and night-time insomnia to top it all off. But then she slides into the head of a murderer just after they’ve committed the crime. A cheerleader is dead and because the killer made it look like suicide, Vee is the only one who knows it’s murder.

And so, between boys being confusing, girls being bitchy and her sister (friends with the dead girl) falling apart, Vee realises it’s up to her to work out who the killer is. She can’t tell anyone else about it, because they’ll just think she’s crazy.

This book had be guessing at whodunit until the end. I was wondering “oh, could it be that person? Surely not, but that does look very suspicious” right along with Vee and I couldn’t stop reading until I got to the end. Far from being shallow, as per my first impression, the book works much better in context. It’s written in a fairly straight-forward style but from the (first person) point of view of a teenager, this is quite appropriate.

There were some parallels between Vee and Veronica Mars. Both outcasts, both have male BFFs and pasts that aren’t all sunshine and roses. Vee is slightly less awesome (and less immediately proactive at trying to solve all the mysteries) but that’s not an entirely fair comparison since Veronica Mars is my favourite teenage girl character ever. What I did enjoy about Vee was watching her take control of her life by deciding to find the killer. Throughout the book she gains agency and becomes less of a victim of her condition. Which was nice to read about.

In short, this was an enjoyable read. If you’re after some YA mystery and murder, this is a good place to start.

4 / 5 stars

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