Shadeby Jeri Smith-Ready
Aura can see ghosts. Born after the Shift, a little-understood event that enabled younger generations to communicate with the dead, Aura is relentlessly pursued by these violet-hued spirits. They need help to pass out of this world and into the next. And some are so angry they are on the verge of becoming Shades, dark vortexes of energy. But Aura just wants the ghosts to leave her alone so she can spend time with her boyfriend, Logan.
When Aura is paired with a new foreign-exchange student to research the Shift for a class project, she is determined to ignore her partner’s sexy Scottish accent and discover the cause of the Shift so she can reverse it.
Then Logan dies a most untimely death. Forced to reconsider her relationship with the living and the dead, Aura is caught in a love triangle with her violet-hued boyfriend and her hot research partner... one of whom may hold the key to reversing the Shift.
STARRED REVIEW from Publishers Weekly
Read an Excerpt
You can hear me, can’t you?”
I punched the green print button on the copier to drown out the disembodied voice. Sometimes if I ignored them long enough, they went away—confused, discouraged, and lonelier than ever. Sometimes.
Okay, almost never. Usually they got louder.
No time to deal with it that day. Only one more set of legal briefs to unstaple, copy, and restaple, and then I could go home, trade this straitjacket and stockings for a T-shirt and jeans, and make it to Logan’s before practice. To tell him I’m sorry, that I’ve changed my mind, and this time I mean it. Really.
“I know you can hear me.” The old woman’s voice strengthened as it came closer. “You’re one of them.”
I didn’t flinch as I grabbed the top brief from the stack on the conference room table. I couldn’t see her under the office’s bright fluorescent lights, which made it about one percent easier to pretend she wasn’t there.
Someday, if I had my way, none of them would be there.
“What an intolerably rude child,” she said.
I yanked the staple out of the last brief and let it zing off in an unknown direction, trying to hurry without looking like I was hurrying. If the ghost knew I was getting ready to leave, she’d spit out her story, no invitation. I carefully laid the pages in the sheet feeder and hit print again.
“You can’t be more than sixteen.” The lady’s voice was close, almost at my elbow. “So you were born hearing us.”
I didn’t need her to remind me how ghosts’ ramblings had drowned out my mother’s New Agey lullabies. (According to Aunt Gina, Mom thought the old-fashioned ones were too disturbing—“down will come baby, cradle and all.” But when dead people are bitching and moaning around your crib at all hours, the thought of falling out of a tree is so not a source of angst.)
Worst part was, those lullabies were all I remembered of her.
“Come on,” I nagged the copier under my breath, resisting the urge to kick it.
The piece of crap picked that moment to jam.
“Shit.” I clenched my fist, driving the staple remover tooth into the pad of my thumb. “Ow! Damn it.” I sucked the pinpoint of blood.
“Language.” The ghost sniffed. “When I was your age, young ladies wouldn’t have heard such words, much less murdered the mother tongue with …” Blah blah … kids these days … blah blah … parents’ fault… blah.
I jerked open the front of the copier and searched for the stuck paper, humming a Keeley Brothers song to cover the ghost’s yakking.
“They cut me,” she said quietly.
I stopped humming, then blew out a sigh that fluttered my dark bangs. Sometimes there’s no ignoring these people.
I stood, slamming the copier door. “One condition. I get to see you.”
“Absolutely not,” she huffed.
“Wrong answer.” I rounded the table and headed for the switches by the conference room door.
“Please, you don’t want to do that. The way they left me—”
I flipped off the light and turned on the BlackBox.
“No!” The ghost streaked toward me in a blaze of violet. She stopped two inches from my face and let out a shriek that scraped against all the little bones in my ears.
Cringing? Not an option. I crossed my arms, then calmly and slowly extended my middle finger.
“This is your last warning.” Her voice crackled around the edges as she tried to frighten me. “Turn on the light.”
“You wanted to talk. I don’t talk to ghosts I can’t see.” I touched the BlackBox switch. “Sucks to be trapped, huh? That’s how I feel, listening to you people all day.”
“How dare you?” The woman slapped my face, her fingers curled into claws. Her hand passed through my head without so much as a breeze. “After all I’ve been through. Look at me.”
I tried to check her out, but she was trembling so hard with anger, her violet lines kept shifting into one another. It was like trying to watch TV without my contacts.
“Those shoes are beyond last year,” I said, “but other than that, you look fine.”
The ghost glanced down at herself and froze in astonishment. Her pale hair—gray in life, I assumed—was tied in a bun, and she wore what looked like a ruffle-lapelled suit and low-heeled pumps. Your basic country-club queen. Probably found her own death positively scandalous.
“I haven’t seen myself in the dark.” She spoke with awe. “I assumed I would be …” Her hand passed over her stomach.
I felt my eyes soften. “You were murdered?” With old people it was usually a heart attack or stroke. But it explained her rage.
She scowled at me. “Well, it certainly wasn’t suicide.”
“I know.” My voice turned gentle as I remembered to be patient. Sometimes these poor souls didn’t know what to expect, despite all the public awareness campaigns since the Shift. The least I could do was clarify. “If you’d killed yourself, you wouldn’t be a ghost, because you would’ve been prepared to die. And you’re not all carved up because you get frozen in the happiest moment of your life.”
She examined her clothes with something close to a smile, maybe remembering the day she wore them, then looked up at me with a sudden ferocity. “But why?”
I ditched the patience. “How the hell should I know?” I flapped my arms. “I don’t know why we see you at all. No one knows, okay?”
“Listen to me, young lady.” She pointed her violet finger in my face. “When I was your age—”
“When you were my age, the Shift hadn’t happened yet. Everything’s different now. You should be grateful someone can hear you.”
“I shouldn’t be—this way—at all.” She clearly couldn’t say the word “dead.” “I need someone to make it right.”
“So you want to sue.” One of my aunt Gina’s specialties: wrongful death litigation. Gina believes in “peace through justice.” She thinks it helps people move past ghosthood to whatever’s beyond. Heaven, I guess, or at least someplace better than Baltimore.
Weird thing is, it usually works, though no one knows exactly why. But unfortunately, Gina—my aunt, guardian, and godmother—can’t hear or see ghosts. Neither can anyone else born before the Shift, which happened sixteen and three-quarters years ago. So when Gina’s firm gets one of these cases, guess who gets to translate? All for a file clerk’s paycheck.
“My name is Hazel Cavendish,” the lady said. “I was one of this firm’s most loyal clients.”
Ah, that explained how she got here. Ghosts can only appear in the places they went during their lives. No one knows why that is, either, but it makes things a lot easier on people like me.
She continued without prompting. “I was slaughtered this morning outside my home in—”
“Can you come back Monday?” I checked my watch in ex-Hazel’s violet glow. “I have to be somewhere.”
“But it’s only Thursday. I need to speak to someone now.” Her fingers flitted over the string of pearls around her neck. “Aura, please.”
I stepped back. “How do you know my name?”
“Your aunt talked about you all the time, showed me your picture. Your name is hard to forget.” She moved toward me, her footsteps silent. “So beautiful.”
My head started to swim. Uh-oh.
Vertigo in a post-Shifter like me usually means a ghost is turning shade. They go down that one-way path when they let bitterness warp their souls. It has its advantages—shades are dark, powerful spirits who can hide in the shadows and go anywhere they want.
Anywhere, that is, but out of this world. Unlike ghosts, shades can’t pass on or find peace, as far as we know. And since they can single-handedly debilitate any nearby post-Shifters, “detainment” is the only option.
“I really have to go,” I whispered, like I’d hurt ex-Hazel less if I lowered the volume. “A few days won’t matter.”
“Time always matters.”
“Not for you.” I kept my voice firm but kind. “Not anymore.”
She moved so close, I could see every wrinkle on her violet face.
“Your eyes are old,” she hissed. “You think you’ve seen everything, but you don’t know what it’s like.” She touched my heart with a hand I couldn’t feel. “One day you’ll lose something important, and then you’ll know.”
I ran for the car, my work shoes clunking against the sidewalk and rubbing blisters on my ankles. No time to stop home to change before going to Logan’s. Should’ve brought my clothes with me, but how could I have known there’d be a new case?
I’d wussed out, of course, and let the old woman tell my aunt her nasty death story. The ghost was angry enough that I worried about what she’d do without immediate attention. “Shading” was still pretty rare, especially for a new ghost like ex-Hazel, but it wasn’t worth the risk.
The leafy trees lining the street made it dark enough to see ghosts even an hour before sunset. Half a dozen were loitering outside the day care center in the mansion across the street. Like most of the buildings in the Roland Park area, Little Creatures Kiddie Care was completely BlackBoxed—its walls lined with the same thin layer of charged obsidian that kept ghosts out of sensitive areas. Bathrooms, military base buildings, that sort of thing. I wish Gina and I could afford to live there—Roland Park, I mean, not a military base.
I stopped for a giant Coke Slurpee and guzzled it on my way toward I-83, wincing at the brain freeze. I usually prefer to use the spoon end of the straw, but after ex-Hazel’s intake session, I desperately needed the massive caffeine-sugar infusion that only pure, bottom-of-the-cup Slurpee syrup could provide.
The long shadows of trees cut across the road, and I kept my eyes forward so I wouldn’t see the ghosts on the sidewalks.
Lot of good it did. At the last stoplight before the expressway, a little violet kid waved from the backseat of the car in front of me. His lips were moving, forming words I couldn’t decipher. An older girl next to him clapped her hands over her ears, her blond pigtails wagging back and forth as she shook her head. The parents in the front seats kept talking, oblivious or maybe just unable to deal. They should trade in that car, I thought, while that poor girl still has her sanity.
The on-ramp sloped uphill into the sunshine, and I let out a groan of relief, gnawing the end of my straw.
After almost seventeen years of hearing about grisly murders and gruesome accidents, you’d think I’d be tough, jaded. You’d think that ghosts’ tendency to over-share would eventually annoy instead of sadden me.
And you’d be right. Mostly. By the time I was five, I’d stopped crying. I’d stopped having nightmares. I’d stopped sleeping with the lights on so I wouldn’t see their faces. And I’d stopped talking about it, because by that point the world believed us. Five hundred million toddlers can’t be wrong.
But I never forgot. Their stories are shelved in my mind, neat as a filing system. Probably because I’ve recited many of them on the witness stand.
Courts don’t just take my word for it, or any one person’s. Testimony only counts if two of us post-Shifters agree on a ghost’s statement. Since ghosts apparently can’t lie, they make great witnesses. Last year, me and this terrified freshman translated for the victims of a psycho serial killer. (Remember Tomcat? The one who liked to “play with his food”?)
Welcome to my life. It gets better.
I pulled into Logan’s driveway at 6:40. I loved going to the Keeleys’ house—it sat in a Hunt Valley development that had been farmland only a few years before. Newer neighborhoods had way fewer ghosts, and I’d never seen one at the Keeleys’. At the time, anyway.
I checked my hair in the rearview mirror. Hopelessly well-groomed. I pawed through my bag to find a few funky little silver skull-and-crossbones barrettes, then pinned them into my straight dark brown hair to make it stick out in random places.
“Yeah, you look totally punk in your beige suit and sensible flats.” I made a face at myself in the mirror, then leaned closer.
Were my eyes really that old, like ex-Hazel said? Maybe it was the dark circles underneath. I licked my finger and wiped under my brown eyes to see if the mascara had smeared.
Nope. The gray shadows on my skin came from too little sleep and too much worrying. Too much rehearsing what I would say to Logan.
As I walked up the brick front path, I heard music blasting through the open basement window.
Late. I wanted to hurl my bag across the Keeleys’ lawn in frustration. Once Logan got lost in his guitar, he forgot I existed. And we really needed to talk.
I went in the front door without knocking, the way I had since we were six and the Keeleys lived around the block in a row home like ours. I hurried past the stairs, through the kitchen, and into the family room.
“Hey, Aura,” called Logan’s fifteen-year-old brother Dylan from his usual position, sprawled barefoot and bowlegged on the floor in front of the flat-screen TV. He glanced up from his video game, then did a double-take at the sight of my Slurpee cup. “Bad one?”
“Old lady, stabbed in a mugging. Semi-Shady.”
“Sucks.” He focused on his game, nodding in time to the metal soundtrack. “Protein drinks work better.”
“You bounce back your way, I’ll bounce my way.”
“Whatever.” His voice rose suddenly. “Noooo! Eat it! Eat it!” Dylan slammed his back against the ottoman and jerked the joystick almost hard enough to break it. As his avatar got torched by a flamethrower, he shrieked a stream of curses that told me his parents weren’t home. Mr. and Mrs. Keeley had apparently already left for their second honeymoon.
I opened the basement door, releasing a blast of guitar chords, then slipped off my shoes so I could walk downstairs without noise.
Halfway to the bottom, I peered over the banister into the left side of the unfinished basement. Logan was facing away from me, strumming his new Fender Stratocaster and watching his brother Mickey work out a solo. The motion of his shoulder blades rippled his neon green T-shirt, the one I’d bought him on our last trip to Ocean City.
When he angled his chin to check his fingers on the fret board, I could see his profile. Even with his face set in concentration, his sky blue eyes sparked with joy. Logan could play guitar in a sewer and still have fun.
Logan and Mickey were like yin and yang, inside and out. Logan’s spiky hair was bleached blond with black streaks, while Mickey’s was black with blond streaks. Logan played a black guitar right-handed, and his brother a white one left-handed. They had the same lanky build, and lots of people thought they were twins, but Mickey was eighteen and Logan only seventeen (minus one day).
Their sister, Siobhan—Mickey’s actual twin—was sitting cross-legged on the rug in front of them, her fiddle resting against her left knee as she shared a cigarette with the bassist, her boyfriend, Connor.
My best friend, Megan, sat next to them, knees pulled to her chest. She wove a lock of her long, dark red hair through her fingers as she stared at Mickey.
The only one facing me was Brian, the drummer. He spotted me and promptly missed a beat. I cringed—he was sometimes brilliant, but he could be distracted by a stray dust ball.
Mickey and Logan stopped playing and turned to Brian, who adjusted the backward white baseball cap on his head in embarrassment.
“Jesus,” Mickey said, “is it too much to ask for a fucking backbeat?”
“Sorry.” Brian twirled his stick in his thick hand, then pointed it at me. “She’s here.”
Logan spun around, and I expected a glare for interrupting—not to mention leftover hostility from last night’s fight. Instead his face lit up.
“Aura!” He swept the strap over his head, handed his guitar to Mickey, and leaped to meet me at the bottom of the stairs. “Oh my God, you won’t believe this!” He grabbed me around the waist and hoisted me up. “You will not believe this.”
“I will, I swear.” I wrapped my arms around his neck, grinning so hard it hurt. Clearly he wasn’t mad at me. “What’s up?”
“Hang on.” Logan lowered me to the floor, then spread my arms to examine my suit. “They make you wear this to work?”
“I didn’t have time to change.” I gave him a light punch in the chest for torturing me. “So what won’t I believe?”
“Siobhan, get her some clothes,” he barked.
“Choice,” she said. “Say please or kiss my ass.”
“Please!” Logan held up his hands. “Anything to keep your ass in the safe zone.”
Siobhan gave Connor her cigarette and got to her feet. As she passed me, she squeezed my elbow and said, “Boy thinks he’s a rock god just because some label people are coming to the show tomorrow.”
My mind spun as it absorbed my biggest hope and fear. “Is she kidding?” I asked Logan.
“No,” he growled. “Thanks for blowing the surprise, horse face!” he yelled as she slouched up the stairs, snickering.
I tugged on his shirt. “Who’s coming?”
“Get this.” He gripped my shoulders. “A and R dudes from two different companies. One’s an independent—Lianhan Records—”
“That’s the one we want,” Mickey interjected.
“—and the other is Warrant.”
I gasped. “I’ve heard of Warrant.”
“Because they’re part of a major, major, major humongous label.” Logan’s eyes rolled up in ecstasy, like God himself was handing out record contracts.
“We’ll use Warrant to make Lianhan jealous,” Mickey added. “But we’re not selling out.”
Logan pulled me to the back side of the stairs, where the others couldn’t see us. “This could be it,” he whispered. “Can you believe it? It’d be the most amazing birthday present ever.”
I steadied my breath so I could get the words out. “Hopefully not the best present.”
“You mean the Strat from my folks?”
“Not that, either.” I reached up under the back of his T-shirt and let my fingers graze his warm skin.
“Is it something you—wait.” His eyes widened, making the silver hoop in his brow glint in the overhead light. “Are you saying—”
“Yep.” I stood on tiptoe and kissed him, quick but hard. “I’m ready.”
His gold-tipped lashes flickered, but he angled his chin to look at me sideways. “You said that before.”
“I said a lot of things before. Some of them were stupid.”
“Yeah, they were.” His eyes crinkled, softening his words. “You know I’d never leave you over this, either way. How could you even think that?”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry.”
“Me too.” He traced my jaw with his thumb, which always made me shiver. “I love you.”
He kissed me then, drowning my doubts in one warm, soft moment. Doubts about him, about me, about him and me.
“Here you go!” Siobhan called from the stairs, a moment before a clump of denim and cotton fell on our heads. “Oops,” she said with fake surprise.
I peeled the jeans off Logan’s shoulder and held them up in salute. “Thanks, Siobhan.”
“Back to work!” rang Mickey’s voice from the other side of the basement.
Logan ignored his brother and gazed into my eyes. “So … maybe tomorrow night, at my party?” He hurried to add, “Only if you’re sure. We could wait, if you—”
“No.” I could barely manage a whisper. “No more waiting.”
His lips curved into a smile, which promptly faded. “I better clean my room. There’s like a one-foot path through all the old Guitar Worlds and dirty laundry.”
“I can walk on a one-foot path.”
“Screw that. I want it to be perfect.”
“Hey!” Mickey yelled again, louder. “What part of ‘back to work’ is not in English?”
Logan grimaced. “We’re switching out some of our set list—less covers, more original stuff. Probably be up all night.” He gave me a kiss that was quick but full of promise. “Stay as long as you want.”
He disappeared around the stairs, and immediately Megan replaced him at my side.
“Did you make up? You did, didn’t you?”
“We made up.” I sat on the couch to remove my stockings, checking over my shoulder to make sure the guys were out of sight on the other side of the stairs. “I told him I’m ready.”
Megan slumped next to me and rested her elbow on the back of the sofa. “You don’t think you have to say that to keep him, do you?”
“It’s something I want too. Anyway, who cares, as long as it works?”
“You know what it’s like, going to their gigs.” My whisper turned to a hiss. “Seeing all those girls who’d probably pay to get naked with Mickey or Logan. Or even with Brian or Connor.”
“But the guys aren’t like that—well, maybe Brian is, but he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Mickey loves me. Logan loves you.”
“So?” I slipped on the jeans. “Plenty of rock stars have wives and girlfriends, and they still screw their groupies. It comes with the territory.”
“I find your lack of faith disturbing,” she said in her best Darth Vader impression, forcing a smile out of me.
I unbuttoned my white silk blouse. “What should I wear?”
“Same stuff as always, on the outside. That’s the way he likes you.” Megan snapped the strap of my plain beige bra. “But definitely do better than this underneath.”
“Duh,” was my only response as I slipped Siobhan’s black-and-yellow Distillers T-shirt over my head. I’d made a covert trip to Victoria’s Secret weeks before—the one way up in Owings Mills, where no one would recognize me. The matching black lace bra and underwear were still in the original bag, with their tags on, in the back of my bottom dresser drawer.
“The first time doesn’t have to suck,” she said, “not if you go slow.”
“Okay,” I said quickly, in a deep state of not wanting to talk about it.
Luckily, at that moment Brian tapped his sticks to mark time, and the band launched into one of their original tunes, “The Day I Sailed Away.”
The Keeley Brothers wanted to be the premier Irish-flavored rock band in Baltimore. Maybe one day go national, become the next Pogues, or at least the next Flogging Molly, with a heavy dose of American skate-punk ’tude.
As Logan began to sing, Megan’s face reflected my bliss and awe. With that voice leading the way, the Keeley Brothers didn’t have to be the next anyone.
Two record labels. I closed my eyes, ignoring the way my stomach turned to lead, and savored the sound that Megan and I would soon have to share with the world.
I knew then that everything would change the next night. It was like time had folded in on itself, and I could remember the future.
A future I already hated.
© 2010 Jeri Smith-Ready
Meet the Author
Jeri Smith-Ready is the award-winning author of the Shade trilogy, the WVMP Radio series, and the Aspect of Crow trilogy. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two cats. Like many of her characters, Jeri loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late. Visit her at JeriSmithReady.com or follow her on Twitter at @jsmithready.
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In SHADE by Jeri Smith-Ready, Aura was born post-Shift, which means that she can see ghosts and Shades (ghosts who have gotten really mad). She hates being able to do this and would give anything to stop it. Until her boyfriend Logan's birthday comes around, and instead of it being a great day, it turns horrific when he dies. But since she can see ghosts, she can still see Logan. So it's almost like having her boyfriend still there - but not quite. Aura meets a new friend, Zachary, who understands what she is going through and is a big piece to the Shift puzzle. But with both Logan and Zachary in her life, which one will she turn to in the end? I thought this book was so unique. The premise that people born after the Shift can see ghosts is so creative! I was hooked on the story right from the beginning. SHADE brought out a lot of emotions in me. There were times when I was saying "How can she do that when Logan has only been dead for a little while?" and then at the end, I was definitely teary eyed. The book ended on a cliffhanger. I want more! I want to know what happens next! And there are still so many questions that I have. Who are Aura's parents? Why was she the first baby born after the Shift? And a bunch more that I don't want to say so I won't spoil the story. The sequel, SHIFT, comes out in May 2011, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!
This book could have very nearly been a disaster. It could have taken the sour young-adult fantasy route that I'm experiencing more and more these days. It even had the dreaded love triangle. But, I was pleasanlty surprised in the end. This books is about a girl, named Aura (the name made me cringe), who can see ghosts. Which is not unusual because everyone born after the Shift can see the voilet figures of people who once were. The night of his 17th birthday, Aura's boyfriend, Logan, dies. He isn't completely gone though, and haunts her whether she wants him to or not. Then enter Zach: the sexy foreign exchange student who has a secret nearly as big as Aura's own. This book moved quickly and fluently, without just being comprised of action. I was sucked in nearly immediately. I was reading this on my laptop, so I began taking my laptop everywhere. The writing, while not particularly stunning, was fluidly done. The characters were strong. Aura, the main character, was no Mary Sue. Assertive and passionate, she was quick-witted enough to hold her own in the tensest conversations. Logan was perfect in that he wasn't perfect. He had a temper, but was overall very sweet. Even though he was dead for 90% of the novel, he managed to develop through out the story. And then there was Zach. Oh. My. God. I think I'm in love. All foreign exchange students are sexy, but a Scottish one? *melts* Smith-Ready must have dived into the deepest parts of my psyche, because he is a man of my dreams. And the love-triangle was well-done. All the emotions Aura felt were believable, and I think readers will be conflicted as to whom to favor. This was a smart paranormal read. The plot was original without being completely out-there. It was exciting and entertaining, with plenty of unanswered questions left at the end. Once the sequel comes out, I guarantee ya I'll be one of the first in line. Oh, and I thought the cover was ugly, but that besides the point.
i found a preview to this book in a book that i was reading on paper back..i had meant to get it since i heard it came out but always forgot..then i found it on my nook and bought it.. i wish it was a little longer just bc i wanted to keep reading other then that i loved it
Aura was the first child born after the Shift which allowed young people to see ghosts. Ghosts are now a part of everyday life. No one older than Aura can see them, but there's still a government agency devoted to monitoring them (the Department of Metaphysical Purity) and BlackBoxes of charged obsidian keep ghosts out of bathrooms and other places they're not wanted. Aura works for her aunt at a law firm that deals with wrongful death lawsuits from the families of ghosts, where the dead can give their testimonies in court, via a teenage translator. Aside from the talkative over-sharing ghosts that plague every other kid, Aura's life is normal and she's crazy about her boyfriend, Logan, who's about to make it big in the music industry. Then Logan dies and comes back as a ghost, and a new guy comes into Aura's world, Zachary, who just happens to be the last child born before the Shift. Aura has to cope with the pain of losing Logan and the fear that he'll turn into a Shade--a powerful, bad, and irredeemable ghost--while she figures out her special connection to Zachary. Aura seems very strong and capable until we see her with Logan. She's really worried about losing him, either to fame or to another girl, but I didn't think Logan was much to miss. Early on, all I saw him do was be a tremendously talented musician, squabble with his siblings, and assure Aura that she didn't have to sleep with him unless she really wanted to, when it was obvious that she was very nervous and only offering so that she could keep him happy. I need to see a little kindness or self-sacrifice in order to think a fictional boy is special, and I got none of that from Logan. The night he dies, he reveals that he's gotten Aura's name tattooed on his chest, then he consumes three and a half pints of beer, plus an alcoholic mixture of unknown content, plus cocaine. I feel sorry for him, and it hurt to see him die, but he seemed like a little kid in a teen's body, always making the absolute wrong decision. I am impressed with the mythos of the ghost-infused world, and I thought that a lot of important details were revealed unobtrusively in the first few pages. I wanted to high-five the author for doing her job so well, because the factual info was seamlessly introduced and it hooked me and made me want to read on. There's nothing really wrong with the story, it's just that almost the whole book is tied up with comforting and redeeming Logan, who I'm not really interested in. I may pick up the sequel, to see more of Zachary, who is smart, strong, and Scottish (a winning combination) and who seems to be involved in some interesting supernatural developments that will come out in later installments.
In Shade something caused a shift in the world 16 years ago giving everyone born after the shift the ability to see and talk to ghosts. There are ghosts who have unfinished business and can simply be annoying, but then there are ghosts called shades who are angry and hurt the people who can see them. The government is working to trap shades and is recruiting anyone who has the ability to see them. There isn't a specific logic to who will simply pass on after they die and who will ...more In Shade something caused a shift in the world 16 years ago giving everyone born after the shift the ability to see and talk to ghosts. There are ghosts who have unfinished business and can simply be annoying, but then there are ghosts called shades who are angry and hurt the people who can see them. The government is working to trap shades and is recruiting anyone who has the ability to see them. There isn't a specific logic to who will simply pass on after they die and who will turn into a ghost. One way to help ghosts pass on is to file a wrongful death suit and if the lawsuit is won the ghost can move on. Aura the first baby born after the shift tries to ignore ghosts in her everyday life except when she is working at her aunt's law firm translating or speaking for ghosts. Aura's mother died when she was a child but Aura has a feeling that her mother might have known what caused the shift. With her mothers journals as a guide Aura hopes to find out more. Aura's views on ghosts change when Logan, her boyfriend, dies suddenly. Even though she knows that Logan should move on Aura can't help but hold on to him. Aura even feels that she could some how stay his girlfriend. Shortly after Logan's passing she meets Zachary who is pre-shift, so he can't see or talk to ghosts, and he's stunning. Zachary tries to be her friend, but he also shows signs of liking Aura. To make matters worse Logan starts to display signs of turning into a shade and his family is quickly trying to file a wrongful death suit to get him to move on. If either of these things happens Aura will loose Logan for good. Shade is the first teen book by Jeri Smith-Ready. I first heard of Jeri when the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour was announcing authors and then again when the Haiti earthquake happened and she very generously was giving autographed books to people who made a donation to Doctors without Borders and again with the Multiple Sclerosis Society's Walk. I found the story unique and emotional. When Aura lost Logan I was in tears and I found her to be a great lead character. Shade kept my attention the entire time and I kept wondering what would happen next. At the end of the book I couldn't decide between Logan and Zachary. Overall I found this to be a great book and would recommend it to everyone.
Shade is hands down one the best books of the year! From a sexy love triangle between Aura and two utterly charming boys to an action packed plot to an enticing premise were some of the main aspects that make Shade the excellent and heart-racing book that it was destined to be. Aura was a likable character with a compelling voice from the instant I started her story. I really liked how Jeri crafted her character in a way that she never got too mopey and suicidal over the death of her boyfriend, but instead made the best of the situation, even if it did hurt at times. Also, I loved reading her interactions with Logan, her long-time boyfriend and sexy lead singer of the Keeley Brothers', and Zachary, the sweet Irish boy. If I was her, I'd have no clue of who to pick. As mentioned before, the plot in Shade was an action packed story that only gave you one choice. That choice? Rush right through it, of course, because it was just that addicting and amazing! I loved reading about the Shift and am looking forward to seeing more of it and the mystery around it in the sequel coming in '11 titled Shift. Also, I can't go without mentioning in this review how much I enjoyed Jeri Smith-Ready's writing. I can definitely see her being something really big in YA a few years from now. In all, Shade is a book that I not only highly recommend you buy, but insist that you do so; since I assure you that you will definitely not be disappointed in this one! Though, word of warning, you'll be dying to read the sequel as soon as you read the last word like I am now. Grade: A+
Reviewed by Eleni from La Femme Readers Blog Rating: 4.5 Shade was a hauntingly, endearing supernatural novel. I was utterly impressed with the flow of the plot and the unique characters. The world that Jeri created was very original and fresh. In this community, people born after the shift had the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Pretty cool right? The violet-hued spirits were friendly while the dark "shades" were unpleasant and bitter. Aura was not the biggest fan of her ability. But, when her boyfriend Logan passed away, she was grateful for the chance to see him again. The raw emotions Aura went through was quite depressing. I could not imagine dealing with not only the loss of a loved one but also being surrounded by their ghost. I was saddened when Logan passed away, he was my favorite character. There was something about his demeanor that made me feel comfortable and fuzzy inside. He would of continued to be a great boyfriend to Aura if it wasn't for his stupid mistake. *sighs* Now, throughout the book the suspense slowly developed with the mystery behind the Shift. No one with this ability was aware as to why this phenomenon occurred. Aura, a strong and passionate teen sought out answers behind her power, even though it was forbidden. I admired her determination and understanding that something shady was going on. Meanwhile, another character stood out to me, Zachary, a handsome new student from Scotland who held some interesting secrets. He genuinely cared for Aura and always kept her best interest at heart. The connection between the two was intriguing and I can't wait to see their progressing relationship in this series. Jeri concluded the first book perfectly, I am eagerly anticipating the sequel, Shift which comes out in May 2011. Overall, a great supernatural read which I recommend all YA lovers should read!
Note that this series review might contain slight spoilers for people who haven't read the first two books. The Shift is an incomprehensible and strange phenomenon that appeared exactly sixteen years ago. Since then it's been controlling the lives of everyone born after it, giving them the ability to see ghosts. The SHADE series introduces ghosts as a matter of course. They are a part of modern-day life after the Shift instead of some paranormal happening to fear. No people are being haunted. Everyone knows about them and they aren’t the scary spirits we know from other books, which got me interested to read SHADE in the first place. This series presents us with a not at all ordinary ghost story paired with scientific and cultish elements involving a lot of research about what's behind the Shift. Aura has an exceptional job, as a kind of ghost whisperer. She's supposed to hear out ghosts and work together with her lawyer aunt. Which teen wouldn't want such a job? In the beginning of SHADE she's together with her boyfriend Logan, a hot musician. And everything seems to be just cut out of a contemporary romance novel. He's celebrating his birthday, they're having a good time and are about to take the next step in their relationship, when.. yeah, when he's being a jerk and dies. His death had been announced in the summary, but I was shocked at the stupidity behind it. Now thanks to the Shift it is possible that he's coming back, even so for a larger part of the story. And with Logan, comes the music. You'll get to be a groupie and just enjoy the show with all the musical aspects Jeri Smith-Ready put into her story! In case you might be wondering - it is always one of the questions I am asking first - there is also a love triangle. Aura, Logan and Zachary. Those three have a lot of issues to sort out thoughout the entire series. As opponents, as lovers, friends and even variations in between. I often feel the need to choose between the boys who are fighting for the girl. In the SHADE series I was drawn to both of them, could equally understand their motifs and feelings for Aura. Logan's been there from the beginning and I so badly wanted him to find a happy ending, even as a ghost. Then there's Zach, the super nice and supportive Scottish beau who stole my heart with no effort. He just walked into the story and became an inseparable part of it. It's as simple as that! Aura & Logan as Aura & Zach have their sweet and sexy moments. Their relationships are steadily emerging, updating, changing. And I really liked the way their relationships and Aura's feelings took from the first to the last book. It always seemed like she was on a journey and in the end she's finally found her way home. Aura and Zach's fate - for various reasons - being so closely intertwined, adds a pretty nice touch to the story. Zach is the sweetest and it can't be summarised all that he’s doing for Aura. Their research and connection to the Shift makes up a large part of the story. There is much to discover! But their interest also turns them into targets. And soon they find themselves hunted down by a bunch of bad guys, which adds a kind of really good spy-action-thrill to the books. The Irish influences were pure joy to my heart. I've never even been there, but this country sure has something mysterious and compelling about it. Every time I see pictures or read about it, it feels like it's calling to me with its ancient history and culture. Aura and Zach travel the Irish landscape, explore the myths behind Newgrange and hopefully return with what they've come to find. Jeri Smith-Ready fitted their journey with a massive original and authentic atmosphere. 4/5 **** SHADE series - Purple ghosts, seeking love and mysteries in the heart of Ireland. This trilogy is very rock star! This is an entirely different kind of ghost story. It's funky, offers cultish references and a huge amount of musical support. There are governmental conspiracies and a bunch of really bad guys that are after Aura and Zach. Romance and action both guaranteed! Especially the last book in this series left me hoping to see a new book by Jeri Smith-Ready on my shelf very soon!
Best ghost book ever! Yeah - ghost books usually aren't my thing. Let's face it - relationships with non-corporeal beings are doomed for failure. No kissing, no touching, no sharing a dessert... it takes all the fun out of it, right? So, I approached Shade with a measure of trepidation. As it turns out, I really had nothing to worry about. Not only does Shift include a heroine with tons of moxie (my favorite kind), but it also includes a hot... SCOTTISH... boy. Who is completely alive. And, did I mention hot? Bottom line - I freaking loved this ghost book! Honestly though, hot Scottish boy aside, one of the best parts of Shade is the paranormal mythology that is all Jeri Smith-Ready. This is some completely unique stuff here, and the way she explained it was so perfect. See, people couldn't see or talk to ghosts until one second... they could. The people born before that second can't see the ghosts, and the people born after that second can. Aura was born on that second - she was the first. Zachary was born one second before Aura. He was the last. I loved how Jeri Smith-Ready created a world around the idea that some people (in this case, no one older than 17) can see ghosts and some can't. Ghosts can testify in their own murder cases. They can be waitresses and rock stars. There's a policing agency designed to keep them in line. And, if ghosts go bad - or, shade - they go to a prison of sorts. This was an amazing concept, and Jeri Smith-Ready sold it marvelously. Aura is so cool. She's fun and funny and totally in love with her boyfriend Logan, a local rock band front man. And, when Logan accidentally dies, she understandably struggles. Her devastation is confused by two things - first, she can still see and speak to Logan. And, she does frequently. Second, she befriends Zachary and finds many things to love about him, not least of which is, she can actually touch him. Can you imagine mourning a loss like that when you still can see the person you're mourning? For a teenager, she handles things like a grown-up. Zachary is, obviously, my favorite part. He's sweet, charming, smart and he has a really sexy accent. Better than all that, he really cares about Aura and wants to help her, even if that means letting her go. That right there is a keeper. Aura should take note. The mystery is so great. Although we know there's a connection between Zachary and Aura - being that they're the last and the first - we don't know what it is, exactly, yet .We also think it has something to do with Zachary's dad and Aura's dead mother. But, we don't know what that is yet, either. And, we know that Zachary and Aura both have some extra powers, but we don't understand the extent of them all yet or the implications on the rest of the world because of them. So, there's plenty of fodder for the next book, which I cannot wait to get into. I listened to the audio version of Shade, and the narrator, Khristine Hvam, did a fantastic job. Her accents were spot on, and her reading made the story absolutely come to life. She was wonderful!
I bought a copy of this book at a library book sale. I read the inside flap and was intrigued that this was about ghosts. I was very surprised by this story. At times I kind of hated Aura, but then I have to remember she's only sixteen and we were all sort of narcissistic at that age. We take things for granted when we are young and we forget that things CAN hurt and touch us in life altering ways. The story was very well written and unique. How often do you get a paranormal sort of dystopian story were everyone born after a winter solstice can see ghosts. My one issue with the book seemed to be the 'kids' that can see ghosts that are about to come of age. Now, you have what appears to be a group of extreme government agents that seem to feel the seeing of ghosts is bad and--well evil. Apparently if you are a really angry ghost you can do what is called, Shade. You black out and become just crazy roaming around all black and screaming. I am going to assume this is a form of being a Poltergist, this is how was understanding this. However, all these kids have ghosts coming to them for 'closure' they need help passing on. Seems logical right. Yet all these selfish teenagers are unwilling to help them. That was the lone thing that really put me off about the story. I was like JUST GO SEE HER DAUGHTER AND TELL HER! But instead they plug their ears and "la-la-la". It not only annoyed me but made me really lack sympathy for anything happening to the characters. Then you have NO adult encouraging this aside from ONE ghost in the story, but that is only because the lead female wouldn't let go and it was 'holding her back.' That was the only really BIG thing that bothered me. I found that Zach was my favorite character. I thought Aura as a lead was weak. She was slowly redeeming herself by the end, then at the end she does something selfish AGAIN, but I think the author is rolling with a whole love triangle thing here. As much as I really want to know what caused 'the shift' which I am assuming it is something fae related since they hint at that and it being based in Ireland, I don't know how soon I will jump into book two. I have like atleast ONE female in a book to really want to move forward, but Aura and Megan sort of just give female leads something to be desired. *I purchased a hard cover edition of this book from a library book sale*
I thought this book was just okay. I liked the idea of people getting to see and hear ghosts. But, the story fell short for me. We are not given that much info about the cause of the Shift. I also really did not like either of Aura's love interests. Not sure if I will be reading the rest of the series.
This is a good quick read.
Thiss was a good andsad but romantic book:)