For What It's Worth

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready


Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins”
                                                                    -Edgar Allan Poe, “The Premature Burial”

That’s the paragraph that starts off Shade - and it is as good a description as any of what’s to come.
But I suppose you want to know more about what I think about plotlines and love triangles so here we go. Aura and anyone born after the “Shift” can see ghosts. Anyone older cannot. There are courts to help ghosts who are lingering in this world find justice so they can pass on. If they don’t, their bitterness can turn them into Shades – ghosts who are consumed by the darkness.
All of this becomes much too personal when Aura’s boyfriend Logan dies and is trapped in her world.
To be honest I had a little trouble getting into the story to begin with. There is a lot of talk about Irish music and drinking, astrological/metaphysical mumbo jumbo and I felt a little disoriented at first.
Then a funny thing happened…I got sucked in and I wanted to know all about the “astrological/metaphysical mumbo jumbo” and what it means for both the living and the dead. I’m usually drawn more to the characters than the world around them but I found myself fascinated by the moral, ethical and psychological dilemmas the Shift presented. What it must be like for people born before the Shift who can’t see ghosts. To know your loved one is dead, lost to you forever, but to also know that they are out there somewhere… still alive in a way but able to communicate only with those born after the Shift. How do you let go? Or how do you love a ghost that you can see but never touch? Is that really living – for either of you? Do you help them move on or find a way to make them stay?
What about the love triangle you ask? “It’s complicated.” Another line from the book that sums everything up. We have Logan – who’s vibrant, impulsive and egotistical – basically being your average 17 yr old boy, but also full of life (even in death) with an undying love & loyalty for Aura. Then there is Zachary – the very much alive and near perfect boy that helps ease Aura’s pain and may be the key to helping Aura unlock the secrets of the Shift. I have picked a “team” on this one (and Jeri – no I didn’t change my mind after reading…lol)….sadly I think I’m on the losing side of this one so I’m trying not to invest too much into that aspect *sniff* *sniff*. All three of them are written in such an honest way though. I both loved and got irritated with all three of them at different points. Particularly Aura and Logan who have a lot of maturing to do, but I believe that’s the point so I don’t mean that as a criticism but as a compliment to the writing of these complex characters.
There is SO much more to this story but I don’t want to give anything away so let me just say that despite the confusing start I finished it as I do all of Jeri’s books – in an emotional puddle of goo – Kleenex in hand! That ending!! OMG. I am already trying to restrain myself from thinking of all the possible angles of the next book, Shift.
Loved: The complexity of the world, the plot and characters. No easy choices here. The ending - WOW.
Nitpick: Not a big fan of Aura’s best friend Megan and I sometimes found it hard to believe the true love angle of Logan and Aura with the way she sometimes acted…but maybe that’s the point?? Hmmm

Rating: 3.8 out of 4! I cannot wait to get my hands on book two!

Be sure to read this great guest post by Jeri explaining how she came up with science behind the Shift. Really brilliant and it helps explain so much! Whatever blog

*Author's website:  or follow her on Twitter @jsmithready
*Playlist for Shade: Shade - music  Perfect!
*Buy the book! At amazon Shade , or get a signed copy from Constellation Books like I did!

*Jeri is a member of the Class of 2K10. A group of debut YA and mid grade authors. Check out my reviews of these fantastic books on my sidebar (look for the Class of 2K10 Debut Author challenge button) and go to their website at  to see what's coming up next!

*Since this is probably the last chance I have to gush about Jeri Smith-Ready until Bring On the Night (WVMP, Book 3) comes out the end of July, I hope you will indulge me one more time. Did I mention that she’s my favorite??

This is Jeri’s third series and her first as a YA author. What amazes me about Jeri’s writing is that if you didn’t see her name on the book, you just might not even know she wrote it. Sure the quality of the writing is always there; the love of music….always, and the intelligent characters. But each world and story is so unique and so completely original, whether it is her first book Requiem for the Devil, or her Aspect of Crow trilogy, the WVMP Vampire series or now the Shade series.  I expected some similarities in Shade to her WVMP vampire series since both Logan & Shane are musicians and Aura/Ciara both have a bit of attitude and rebellion in them, but not at all!! The books couldn’t be more different from each other except that both stories use music as an emotional barometer throughout. Even in that they are different. The music here is a blend of contemporary and Irish punk/rock and in fact Shane just might die (again) if he had to listen to some of it!
While there is a comfort level in picking up a book by an author that has a tried and true formula, it is such a thrill to dive into a book and not know where the hell it’s going to take you…and each time get totally blown away. That pretty much sums up Jeri as an author to me.

If your interested in Jeri's other books and my summary/opinion of each click here


  1. OMG I really want to read this - I have not read anything by Jeri yet, it seems as though I should go pick up her other works just as much as this one! :) WONDERFUL review!

  2. Great review! Why are the Best friends of these heroines always so annoying?;)

  3. I sort of want to read this, but not if it's going to make me cry, lol ... so still deciding ... but your awesome review has almost convinced me :))

  4. Like I said on Goodreads, I now feel much better equipped for reading Shade after hearing your thoughts!

  5. Great review, I've been wanting to read this one but hadn't gotten around to it yet but after the review I'm moving it up the TBR list, thanks for the rec!

  6. As has been already said...great review. I'm a man though so can't be reading books that will make me cry! :)

  7. Day - I just felt she was a little unsypathetic to what Aura was going through with Logan.

    Marc- You'll come off as a sensitive male :-)

  8. Glad you enjoyed the book so. I like that you where pulled to the world. I usually end up going for characters myself, but I love amazing world settings too.

    Thanks for the review, sounds like a great read. I am going to have to look for this one.

  9. Great review, though sometimes books that make me sob turn me off. I get all congested and that makes me mad. :)
    Following you from the bloghop!