Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: Slide (Slide, #1) by Jill Hathaway

Slide CoverYA, paranormal, amateur-sleuth, murder mystery/thriller

Slide (Slide, #1) by Jill Hathaway
Reading Level:
Young Adult
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 256
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Vee is a pink-haired teenager with a male best friend. She used to be part of the popular crowd but now prefers to hang out on the fringe of high school life. On the outside Vee seems fairly normal, but she has a dark secret. Whenever she falls asleep, she is in danger of "sliding" into the minds of other people if she is touching something of theirs. This experience is frightening and often disgusting to Vee as she frequently finds out things about the people around her that she never wanted to know. All of that seems relatively minor, though, compared to Vee's horror on the night an unwanted slide causes her to witness the murder of a teen girl that the police later label a suicide.

This is an ambitious book covering a lot of territory besides the expected one in a murder mystery of searching for the killer. Because of the magical element of Vee sliding, she becomes a paranormal, amateur sleuth in the same vein as TV shows like Medium, Supernatural, Angel, and The Dead Zone.

For fans of romance, there is a romantic subplot with a mysterious, attractive boy. There are also many serious social issues covered in passing, but because this is a mystery/thriller rather than a social drama, which requires deep delving into such events, they are mainly used as dramatic tools to ratchet up the emotional pain Vee suffers due to sliding. Examples of these social situations include: school violence, teen pregnancy, sexual assault, eating disorders, and the effects on teens of marital infidelity and divorce in their family.

Overall this is an entertaining, well-written book. However, it is a gritty read best suited to older teens and adults due to its mature content.

Heroine: 4

Subcharacters: 3

Fantasy World-Building: 4

Writing: 4

Mystery Plot: 4

Romantic Subplot: 3

Overall: 4

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: The Oracle Rebounds (The Oracle of Dating #2) by Allison van Diepen

The Oracle Rebounds Cover
Sequel to Oracle of Dating, a hilarious young-adult, chick-lit novel

The Oracle Rebounds (The Oracle of Dating #2) by Allison van Diepen
Reading Level:
Young Adult
Release Date: November 1, 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 208
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

I was delighted to learn there was a sequel to The Oracle of Dating, which I enjoyed very much. Comedic YA seems to be an endangered species these days, and this book is very well-written chick lit.

Soon after the book begins, Kayla's relationship with her terrific boyfriend, Jared, goes on the rocks when he asks to slow things down between them. Kayla is so hurt by this rejection that she breaks up with him. For several years she has been offering practical dating advice to her friends and to her older sister, a skill that she expanded into a dating-advice website called The Oracle of Dating in the first book of this series. In order to overcome her broken heart, Kayla decides to scan through her own breakup advice from past advice columns and use it to get over Jared.

This book works both as a sequel and a standalone book. Kayla is a realistic teen, but a very special one, with lots of spunk and a very sympathetic need to not buckle under adversity but to just keep going. Her romantic misadventures as she puts her toes back in the dating water are hilarious, and, as all comedy does, the book provides an upbeat ending.

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Writing: 5

Chick-Lit Plot: 5

Romantic Subplot: 5

Overall: 5