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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
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Bryan Peterson
Slide (Slide, #1) - Jill Hathaway Once my flatmate and I camped out in our lounge room and watched all three seasons of Veronica Mars back to back. We may or may not have also been eating Milo straight from a jumbo size tin with spoons and a bottle of milk, but that is beside the point people, beside the point!What the actual point is, is that Slide has a similar addictive, easy-to-consume quality. As Veronica Mars, I mean, not Milo. (Although, one could argue it’s two sides of the same coin). I can’t help but think that the VM comparisons are going to inevitably crop up. As I clicked through the pages on my kindle I couldn’t help picturing the protagonist as a pink-haired Kristen Bell. There are some similar elements: the mystery, the former cheerleader turned social pariah, the absent (dead, in this case) Mother. Yet it would be unfair to hold Slide up against VM for review purposes, given their differences. For one thing, Slide lacks VM’s noir edge, instead giving the plot a paranormal twist in the form of Vee’s sliding gift/curse ability. Apparently narcoleptic, Vee has the ability to “slide” into the viewpoint of another person when she touches something they have left an emotional charge on, an ability that causes her to slide into the perspective of a killer. To borrow a phrase from my friend Nomes, this is what I would call a “popcorn” book, in that it’s entertaining and a fun way to pass a few hours, by no means a bad thing. I had my doubts through the first few chapters, but then found that I had read the entire book with only a few pauses. The pacing is quite brisk, and the whodunit plot sustains its momentum. Although some elements of mystery are easy to spot, even predictable, and the red herrings are not all that subtle, there are still a couple of twists that I hadn’t anticipated. Some events did seem a little too convenient, and I couldn’t think too long and hard about the way Vee’s ability worked or I started to pick at with numerous questions, but in all I think the way Hathaway handled the story was quite clever. As plot driven novel, and one that showcases high school clichés I really have no point of reference here on the US high school experience except for late 90s/early 2000s teen movies, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually came to like several of the characters. In particular, the interactions and relationship between Vee and her sister Mattie were quite moving, and nicely written. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Slide. Although a genre I don’t delve into very often, I liked the fact that the “paranormal” elements didn’t take over the story and were counterbalanced with Vee’s depiction as an otherwise fairly realistic teen. If you’re into this sort of thing, and are looking for a light, fun read, this might just be it. I’ll sum this up by paraphrasing Travis, from Clueless: Two thumbs up. Fine holiday fun. An advance review copy was provided by the publishers via NetGalley