Written by Jill Hathaway
Published March, 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Mystery, Psychics
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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 to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.
I had really hoped that Slide would be the YA mystery novel that would finally make me sit up and take notice. Regretfully, I couldn’t find myself liking any of the characters or the narrator, and the final resolution of the mystery had me shaking my head.
As soon as I read the first few pages of Slide, I knew somehow that it wouldn’t turn out to be the sort of book I was hoping for. I realise that Jill Hathaway is a debut author, but I was sorely hoping that her first book would steer clear of the typical traps; such as the misunderstood protagonist and the ‘popular, bitchy’ girls. It disappointed me because I’ve read dozens upon dozens of stories set in high school and I’m always look out for a fresh perspective.
I struggled for a few days to really dive into the story. Our protagonist, Sylvia – ‘Vee’ – wasn’t someone I took a shine to. I just felt like I couldn’t relate to her at all and her voice didn’t come across very clearly despite the book being told through her. She seemed quite hollow to me, despite her gift of ‘sliding’. I felt like Sylvia tried too hard to be one of those characters that was wildly unique or bends the rules. She used to be one of the popular girls, but after an ‘incident’, has seemingly turned against the crowd that used to be her friends. Now with a bright pink hairdo, attitude and outcast-best-friend, Vee has a new lease on life. It just didn’t seem genuine to me, though.
Vee was one of those narrators I just didn’t like. Plain and simple. I felt she – or rather, Jill Hathaway’s words through her – were trying to be lyrical and metaphoric, but didn’t quite hit the mark. Vee’s ‘best friend’, Rollins, also happened to be a character I didn’t warm up to. The constant references to Sharpie pens being their weapons ‘against the world’ and other such nods to ‘bucking the system’ started to grate on me after a while.
Not to mention their relationship as ‘best friends’ was hardly believable. Rollins hardly spent any time with Vee throughout the book, only to slink away and get pissed-off whenever Vee started gravitating toward the new guy (yes, there’s also one of those). It didn’t seem like the sort of thing a ‘best friend’ would do to me. I also couldn’t believe the two were best friends when Vee starting suspecting Rollins. For two people that told each other ‘everything’, they sure knew very little about one another.
I don’t really have much to say about Zane, the ‘new guy’. His relationship with Vee was shaping up to be a great sort of friendship, but then the rest felt rushed. I felt that anytime the two seemed to be making some sort of believable connection to the reader, Jill Hathaway would simply pull the curtain closed over the scene and cut to another interaction of characters set hours later. I wanted the development between them, but didn’t find it.
I must say, though, that after the first 50 pages I started to want to find out who or what was causing the murder/suicides at Vee’s high school. In this regard it reminded me a little of Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series. If you’re a fan of them, then you will most probably enjoy Slide. I was constantly second-guessing every character that appeared in the story and hoping for more clues. I only wish Vee had started using her abilities earlier on in the story.
Somewhere near the end, though, Slide derailed. The murder mystery kind of just fizzled out and the resolution we were given was more than a little silly. I felt cheated of my huge ‘wrap-up’ that would make me put all the pieces together in awe. I found myself guessing little bits of the puzzle before Vee could comprehend them, but more than that, when the ‘master plan’ of the story was revealed, I seemed to just deflate. Important parts of the story (ones that were focused on heavily in the beginning) were merely swiped away as fodder in an attempt to reveal a ‘bigger picture’ that just didn’t quite cut it for me.
I accredit giving Slide a 2/5 to the fast-paced plot that developed, which kept me reading until I had finished the book. The characters, relationships and overall mystery did little to thrill or satisfy me. Slide also has an ‘epilogue’, but it’s quite unnecessary and I felt those few sentences could have been tacked on to the last chapter. If you’re curious about this book, give it a go. I do feel that Jill Hathaway has a lot of untapped potential, and I hope to see it shine in her future books. Slide just wasn’t the book for me.
Recommended to: Fans of The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting will probably enjoy Slide, as the themes and issues explored are rather similar.