Author: Jill Hathaway (author website)
Release Date: 1st March 2012 by HarperCollins Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
When I first heard about Slide, my thoughts went straight to Lisa McMann’s WAKE. While I believe it would appeal to fans of this series, Slide is a very different creature. I've heard quite a few favourable comparisons to Veronica Mars, and it deserves them. I can see the similarities: we have a smart, snarky protagonist, sharp witty dialogue, murder, mystery, and some pretty dark issues for a YA audience. But Slide is not derivative and, rather than being predictable, kept me guessing to the end. Exciting and fresh, Slide is utterly gripping and a total page turner. I loved this book.
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.
Can I just say Slide has some of the best cover copy I’ve ever read. I’d normally try and give you a quick synopsis of a book from my POV. But this? It sums it up perfectly. Are you hooked yet? Excited? Guys. You should be.
I liked Vee immediately. Her open and friendly voice and unique personality (and situation) make her fun to read. From her pink hair, to her atypical taste in music (read: awesome taste in music), she’s different, she's not your typical teenager. Somehow, where Vee could easily have felt contrived, she didn’t once come across this way. To me, Vee felt real, and I loved her for being herself. This is a girl who’s suffered a lot in her life. She should be jaded, but she's not. She knows more than she’d like to about the nature of the people around her, and this, combined with the loss of her mother, and an absent father, have forced her to grow up. She cares deeply about her sister, Mattie, while not approving of the path she’s been taking, and despite knowing what they are capable of, has a great deal of empathy for the people around her.
It's the murder of Sophie, Mattie's best friend, that kickstarts the mystery driving the story of Slide. So many clues and threads, and pieces of information kept me guessing, and, like Vee, I truly didn’t know who to trust. Jill Hathaway has nailed the pacing of this book, and knows when to move it along; speeding it up, or slowing it down for a quiet, tender, human interaction. It's enthralling.
Riveting mystery and storyline aside, one of the things I loved most about Slide was the cast of characters, and the human interactions. Vee’s love and concern for her sister shines through in their tender scenes together. The tension between Vee and her best friend, Rollins, is palpable. My heart broke a little when I discovered a secret Rollins has been keeping of his own. I kept wishing that each one would reach out, and take a gamble on trusting one another. You could feel Vee’s ache for her father’s presence and support, and the need their broken little family had for him to be there. As the book progresses, characters like mean-girl cheerleader, Amber, and jock, ‘Scotch’, develop personality (for good or bad). I came to care for characters I didn’t even like, as Vee’s caring pulled me in. Slide has a perfect balance of funny and sad, touching and terrifying, and truly tender and sweet moments.
On top of this, Slide is beautifully written. Vee's left-of-field images and descriptions are gorgeously realised, her voice unique and refreshing. Hathaway shines a writer.
Slide, again like Veronica Mars, deals with some pretty heavy issues: suicide, substance use, date rape, death, loss and grief. These issues are handled well, but I could see some concerns with Vee popping caffeine pills like they’re candy, instead of her prescribed narcolepsy medication. I understand why, and none of these activities are glamorized. In fact, I thought these issues are all handled well, but, for these reasons, this book is clearly for older teens.
The Verdict:Simply put, Slide is everything I want from a book. Gripping and thrilling, exciting and achingly beautiful. It dragged me in and made me feel. From page one, Hathaway had me in her thrall and still, with the last page turned, hasn’t let me go.
Books In This Series:
- Slide (March 2012)
- Imposter (March 2013)
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