Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

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 “frie
nd” 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 s
ounds 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 to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. (summary from Goodreads)

A fast-paced narrative, Slide is an original debut novel full of mystery with a small touch of paranormal.

To everyone around her, Vee suffers from narcolepsy. In actuality, when Vee passes out, she 'slides' into the consciousness of another person, seeing what they see, experiencing what they do. All it takes is contact with something another person has impacted on emotionally - a bracelet braided as a token for a best friend, a tshirt bought for a crush, a page torn from a calendar as a threat. No matter how Vee avoids contact or sleep, however, she can't stop sliding - and every slide reveals more secrets about those around her. When Vee slides into a killer standing over the body of her sisters friend, her world changes. Everyone thinks Sophie committed suicide, but Vee knows the truth. A killer is still out there and whoever they are, they plan to strike again. As secrets pile up, Vee doesn't know who to turn to - her father who receives mysterious calls and has hidden files? The new boy, Zane, who Vee can't help but be drawn to? Her best friend, Rollins, who never lets her visit his house and avoids her the closer she gets to Zane? Everyone has a secret...but who is willing to kill over theirs?

I was thoroughly intrigued by the summary of Slide and in some ways it's more than I expected and in others not quite so much. Hathaway has created a unique concept with Vee and her 'sliding' and it's this that immediately caught my attention. It adds just that little bit of the supernatural to the contemporary mystery that Slide mostly is. The wonder for me is that Vee's sliding really just is - there's no apparent cause or explanation, despite some questioning of whether it's genetic and possibly passed along from her mother. The air of "it just is" surrounding Vee's gift - or curse, depe
nding on your standpoint - allowed it to seem not really otherworldly or extraordinary at all. The who, what, where, when, how of Vee's ability certainly isn't the focus of the story and for the most part I enjoyed that aspect. I can't help but wish some questions regarding it were answered, however. It felt to me at times that Hathaway was leading us to believe it was passed from her mother and that her father possibly knew more then he let on...but such ideas went nowhere, and so I was left somewhat floundering for more. Unfortunately, it's this feeling that resonates after finishing Slide.

I really did find Slide an enjoyable read, but turning that last page I couldn't help but feel something was missing. Hathaway wraps up the mystery of Sophie's killer completely, and while I'm glad of that, it felt too clean and too quick for me to be 100% satisfied. Early on the mystery kept me on the edge of the seat - Vee's sliding into the killer was seriously creepy! - but as clues began to be revealed the truth became blatantly obvious, to the point that it was only Vee's finally discovering the truth and the confrontation that would bring that peaked my anticipation. I was intrigued by the killer's identity and motivation, sure, but I suppose I was just expecting a bigger climax when the truth came to light. There simply wasn't quite the confrontation I was hoping for - or any at all, for that matter, and so for me, the ending of Slide fell flat. There was such a build up and where I was eagerly awaiting an explosion the story instead fizzled.

Slide's strengths lay in Hathaway's characters
and the relationships between Vee and those around her. It is these that increase the tension of the book and had me wanting to discover all of the truths. Hathaway ensures that despite any unusual circumstances, you will connect with Vee. Her being unable to reveal her secret but being privy to so many else's is a weight that readers really feel. Especially as it also allows for an insight into secondary characters we may not have had otherwise. Every 'slide' added another layer of intensity to Vee's story, laying bare Hathaway's character's struggles and motivations in vivid and emotional ways, which also reverberated through their relationships with Vee. Practically every character and relationship throughout Slide is just that bit more complex then it initially appears to be and very much flawed. They're real. I adored so much of the emotion Hathaway brings to them. The struggle of connection between Vee's father and his daughters, as well as the fragile but burgeoning strength of Vee's relationship with her sister, Mattie. The attraction between Vee and Zane that sizzles at times, full of all of the awkwardness and hope of first love. The quirky yet solid friendship between Vee and Rollins was my most favourite of Slide, their simple but impactful miscommunication causing my heart to hollow out. There's such life to these characters and it was this that made Slide for me where the mystery and climax of the story didn't quite hold up.

While Slide didn't quite reach it's potential in all ways for me, it has characters and emotions that shine. If this sounds like a read you'd be interested in c
hecking out, I'd certainly recommend you at least give it a go.


Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published date: 1 March 2012
Pages: 336
Format: e-Galley

Many thanks to HarperCollins Australia and NetGalley!

Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge;


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