March 26, 2012 by Heidi
Title: Slide [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Jill Hathaway [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Book one in a new series.
Genre: Young Adult, Speculative Fiction, Mystery
Published: March 27th, 2012 by Balzer & Bray for HarperCollins
Format: Kindle edition.
Source: ARC from publisher via NetGalley.
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge
…it’s wrong that death is a loss. It’s something you gain. Death is always there, whispering in your ear. It’s in the spaces between your fingers. In your memories. In everything you think and say and feel and wish. It’s always there.
Everyone knows Vee has a problem, they just don’t really know what it is. Diagnosed as narcoleptic, Vee passess out on an increasingly regular basis. What everyone doesn’t know, is that when she’s unconscious, she slides. Vee finds herself looking through the eyes of other people, an unwilling passenger to their lives, unable to look away. When her little sister’s best friend supposedly commits suicide, Vee’s the only witness who knows the truth–Sophie didn’t kill herself, she was murdered. Now, Vee is forced to remain silent for fear of being labeled crazy, but she is compelled to solve Sophie’s murder and stop the killer before more harm can come to her sister.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Guy and girl are best friends, but their friendship is on the brink of unraveling because it’s pretty clear that one (or both) of them has feelings for the other beyond friendship, but they’re too wound up to actually talk about it and instead start pushing each other away. New guy comes to town and sees said girl as ‘special’, and is totally into her even though she’s probably not hot/popular/his type enough for him and her life is completely screwed up right now, but he sees beyond all that to the unique flower that is her.
Sound familiar? If so, you might find aspects of Slide as tedious and wrote as I did. But (yes, there is a BUT), I will tell you that luckily, this played out love triangle is a considerably minor part of the plot. For me, there was plenty more to Vee and the mystery and suspense of Slide to keep me turning pages at top speed until I reached the end, leaving me liking Jill Hathaway’s debut much more than I was expecting to when I was about ⅓ of the way through.
Thankfully, Vee Bell isn’t just about the boys in her life. Vee is quite possibly one of the best big sisters I’ve encountered in recent YA. She doesn’t smother her sister, she lets her make her own mistakes (though let’s face it, I did have that scene from 10 Things I Hate About You where Kat tells Bianca why she ‘quit’ being popular running through my head…they have just about the same dynamic), and yet she has her back and makes taking care of her when she’s down her top priority. Of course, Vee doesn’t see that she has a choice. Her mother has passed away, and her father is largely absent due to his job as a surgeon. Vee has pretty much shouldered the emotional responsibility of an adult twice her age, which is common for the oldest children in this type of family, but the fact remains that she does have the option not to take care of everyone around her. She’s strong and she does, despite her own cavalcade of problems, and this makes her a winning lead.
Of course, there’s also the mystery. Slide was a fairly fast paced and thrilling read; Vee’s affliction in which she passes out and ‘slides’ into others was both unique and terrifying. Vee is drawn into other’s bodies through an empathetic connection made when she is touching an object with emotional significance to another person. This means she’s basically become OCD, avoiding other people’s belongings and used items (like books) with due care. When she does slide, she is stuck in that person’s mind. She cannot read thoughts, control anything, or look away. As a result, Vee finds herself the only witness to a murder, and knows that if she ever tells she’ll be labeled ‘crazy’ instantly. In order to appease her fears, Vee must learn to use her curse as a gift.
Slide, for me, brought up some interesting privacy issues. Vee cannot really control when she slides, and despite her efforts to control who, often seems to overlook items that might direct her. She realizes the secrets she knows about people because of her affliction are a horrible invasion of privacy, and yet, she also begins to feel that it is okay to invade someone’s privacy if you have good intentions. I had a hard time with this sentiment, although I could see the logic that brought her to this conclusion. As someone who values our privacy and freedom with the utmost dedication, I found it hard to stomach the notion that this type of ‘spying’ might be justifiable in order to make someone feel better. It does help to solve the mystery, but it’s also no surprise that it blows up in Vee’s face as well.
I appreciated Slide’s nauseating typeface on the cover, but will say that I was disappointed in the story’s end. It just seemed too convenient to me. All in all, a take it or leave it kind of read. It went very quickly, and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t have to have this book in my life. The concept for me was cooler than the actual story.
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: Eh, not sure. Upon finishing Slide, I remarked that I actually ended up liking it more than I thought I was going to, but at the same time I don’t really see the need to make this a series. Not sure I’ll be reading the next installment, but who knows, maybe I will.
Recommended for: People looking for mystery and suspense, but only if you’re willing to overlook some overplayed tropes to get it. The book it reminded me most of ‘feel’ wise was Fracture by Megan Miranda.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: For the love of all that is good, I cannot even think the title of this book without getting the Goo Goo Dolls in my head.