by Jill Hathaway
March 27, 2012
Balzer and Bray
Source: received an e-ARC from Netgalley
Mature content: a murder, very minor drinking and partying
My summary: If you think high school is tough, try being a girl with a dead mother, a perpetually distracted father, and a conniving little sister who's taken your place in the popular crowd. Oh, and if that isn't enough, Vee's also a narcoleptic. Well, everyone thinks she's a narcoleptic. Actually, she has psychometric powers. When she touches an object that's imbued with another person's strong emotions, she slides right into their consciousness for a few minutes. When one of Vee's classmates commits suicide, Vee knows for sure the girl was murdered. Vee was there. She was in the murderer's body and saw her hands (well, the murderer's hands) holding a bloody knife. The problem? She doesn't know who those hands belonged to. And she's determined to find out.
My take: I loved this book. Vee is tough-but-vulnerable, my very favorite kind of heroine. Plus, she's funny. Since she's sure no one will believe her about the sliding thing, she pretends to go along with the narcolepsy diagnosis, all the while popping caffeine pills like a college student during finals. She has this doesn't-realize-he's adorable guy best friend who writes a 'zine about all the nasty goings on in the school in-crowd. Vee's obsessed with astronomy and her dead mother's collection of 90s music. What's not to love?
I was also impressed by how well this book works as a mystery. Jill Hathaway has brilliantly solved one of the problems that has plagued mystery writers since the days of Wilkie Collins: how do you give an amateur detective access to the details of the crime in a way that's plausible? Especially when the amateur detective in question is a high school student. I mean, can a bunch of teenagers and a Great Dane driving around in a psychedelic minivan really solve mysteries? They'd be laughed off the crime scene faster than you can say
I have studied the Amateur Detective Access problem in depth and concluded that the usual order of business is to make the amateur detective the kid of a police officer or the girlfriend of the kid of a police officer, offering them access to the details of the case. Okay, that works. But in Slide, Vee actually slips into the consciousness of all the suspects and finds out their secrets. Did I mention that there are a whole lot of suspects in this murder? Including, but not limited to: Vee's sister, her father, her favorite teacher, the hot new guy in school AND her 'zine-writing best friend?
I thought I knew who the killer was. Then I changed my mind. Lather, rinse, repeat. Jill Hathaway did a brilliant job of keeping me guessing right up until the end.
The end. That was the worst part of Slide, because it was not entirely clear to me whether or not Vee's story would continue in another book. But I s
My happiness is complete.
What are you reading this week?