By: Jill Hathaway
Publisher: Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Genre/Age: YA Paranormal Mystery
Source: ARC from Around the World Tours
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 could 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 been spending more time with Zane.
Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger, and with no one else to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.
I’m having very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love the idea of being able to slide into other people’s bodies – I think it’s a really fresh idea for a paranormal novel and I was immediately intrigued. A lot of things about the novel were done really well and overall it was definitely an enjoyable read. At the same time, I had a few issues with it and I feel like it didn’t fully live up to its potential.
Vee is a likeable and realistic character, and I really enjoyed her interactions with the various other characters in the novel. Jill Hathaway portrays the interpersonal relationships in Slide incredibly well, that was probably my favorite thing about the story. The way the characters deal with things like grief and forgiveness is particularly delicate and touching. And although there are a lot of heavy themes touched on in Slide, the novel never felt overly dark.
As I already mentioned, Vee’s ability to slide into other people’s bodies adds a really fun and interesting paranormal aspect to the story, although I would have loved more exploration into where the ability comes from, especially whether there’s any connection to her mother. There are hints that it is hereditary but it’s never really mentioned further than that. I like that the sliding is the only paranormal element of Slide and doesn’t take over; it’s still a largely realistic story.
I think my main disappointment with Slide lies in the murder mystery. Vee is a pretty crappy detective, to be honest, which at times was very frustrating as a reader. There were many things I figured out long before she did, and she had a tendency to jump to the obvious conclusions very quickly, so by the time she got to her big revelations there wasn’t as much of an impact for me. However, I wouldn’t say that the murder mystery is completely predictable, and there are many twists and turns along the way. But the story behind the murder felt very far-fetched to me. The culprit’s motive wasn’t entirely convincing and it didn’t have the satisfying “Oooohh!” that I like to experience at the end of a murder mystery.
All that said, Slide is still a quick, engrossing read that manages to entertain despite the flaws. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept and had fun reading it.