Friday, December 06, 2013

review: SLIDE by Jill Hathaway

SLIDE by Jill Hathaway
HarperCollins: Balzer + Bray
Released: March 27, 2011
Source: The lovely Jill Hathaway herself!
Page Count: 250

Rating: Really liked it!

SHE KNOWS TOO MUCH . . .
BUT NOT ENOUGH TO STOP A KILLER.

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 would 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 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.

My Thoughts

Vee's narcolepsy isn't just an annoying medical condition - it is part of her psychic ability to slip into other people's minds. This sliding takes a dangerous turn when she slips into the mind of a killer as they stand over the dead body of her sister's friend, Sophie. When the police label Sophie's death as a suicide, Vee takes it upon herself to investigate the truth. She is slowly and inexorably drawn into her family's dark secrets . . . and must uncover the truth before she becomes the next target.

Slide wasn't quite what I was expecting, but that is so not a bad thing in this case! I was glued to my seat from the first page and couldn't even be bothered to get up to turn the lamp on, instead choosing to read with my face about two inches from the page until Boyfriend came home. (It's ok - he's used to my reading weirdness.)

The reader should be able to figure out what is happening before Vee does, but Hathaway's writing style and pacing ensure that any predictability does not undermine the story as a whole. She is also very good at throwing unexpected monkey wrenches into the mix. Since this is only her debut effort, I can't wait to see what she publishes next!

While I had a difficult time with many of the characters - Vee's father's absenteeism, Rollins's withdrawn moodiness, Vee's little sister's general bitchiness in the beginning, etc. - it is easy to see that these characters are grounded in reality. The death of Vee's mother is obviously still affected the family to this day, and Rollins's home situation is to blame for his attitude. They are flawed, as we all are, and that is what makes them interesting, even if they are difficult to emphathize with at times.

Slide is a wonderfully-written addition to the psychic mystery genre, in the vein of Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder and Kim Harrington's Clarity.

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