Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Look at that cover! It’s a throwback to those Point Horror books that I used to read years ago. I think most of those have gone out of print now, which is a shame as they were actually pretty good, but as soon as I saw that cover I knew that that book would be gracing my bookshelf.

The story was the icing on the cake. It sounds freakalicious – a mix up between freaky and delicious!

Title: Slide
Series: Slide #1
Author: Jill Hathaway
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 250
PoV: 1st person
Tense: Present tense

Story: 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.

Thoughts and impressions: From the cover, I kind of thought that this book would have more of a horror vibe. As it is, it’s really caught somewhere between thriller and mystery. The school cheerleaders are killing themselves. Suicide, they say, it’s like dominoes. Except that, due to her ability to slide, Vee knows that the first suicide was really a murder and she highly suspects that the second was too.

But how can she prove that this is the case without telling the truth about her ability? No one will believe that when she sleeps, it’s not really narcolepsy but something she can’t really explain: she’s moving into another person’s body, merely a spectator to all of their actions. They’ll either think that she’s lying or that she’s lost it; either way, it’ll do no good. So Vee finds herself taking matters into her own hands.

Early on in the book, Vee explains that if she’s touching an item that a person has emotionally imprinted on, then she’ll slide into that person’s head when she loses consciousness. To avoid this, she claims to go out of her way to keep from touching items that others could have imprinted on.

I say “claims” because that is what Vee tells the reader through the narrative. What we see is a very different story. In the first day alone, Vee slides three times into three different people because she’s placed something of theirs against her skin. This seems a bit careless for someone who supposedly goes out of her way to avoid imprinted items. After all, she’s bought a book brand new so that there’s no way anyone could have imprinted on it, but then she just slips a friendship bracelet made for her little sister onto her wrist. Surely if anyone’s going to emotionally imprint on something, it’d be a friendship bracelet made for their best friend. These two sides of Vee seem entirely at odds with each other. This was the only thing that really stuck out to me as not being entirely smooth.

All of the characters have skeletons in their closets: from the best friend with the secret home life, to the former best friend who would have left Vee to be raped simply because the boy chose her, to the emotionally distant father who leaves his teenage daughter to fill the role of parent. Vee eventually comes to realise that she can use her strange ability to uncover some of these secrets and she starts to slide on purpose. I really liked this Vee who wasn’t afraid to use everything at her disposal in order to get to the bottom of things.

The mystery of who is behind the killings is tightly knit, keeping both Vee and the reader guessing for a long time. I’m not entirely sure that the reader is really given enough information to be able to draw the right conclusion until close to the end of the novel, but that is mostly because this is a first person narrative and Vee doesn’t have that information herself.

As a reader, I wish that I’d been given the chance to get to know Rollins, Vee’s best friend, a bit better. It started out really well and I loved their friendship – especially the anecdote about the time they bought an XXL shirt and pretended to be conjoined twins for a day. Unfortunately, he was sort of pushed out of things for much of the book in order to make room for Vee’s investigations and for the new boy in town to come and sweep Vee off her feet. Vee’s interactions with Zane, particularly when they first meet, are an eye-opening look into the girl she is when she’s not branded as the narcoleptic freak at school or trying to fill the shoes of a replacement parent at home. She was more open and friendly with Zane than she appeared to be with other people.

The “love triangle”, and I put that in quotation marks as I’m not sure that it can really be called that, was very different. There were two boys vying for Vee’s affections, but this never takes precedence over the mystery. But this in turn means that I felt connected to the best friend from the scenes that we’d seen with Rollins and Vee hanging out, but I didn’t really feel connected to Zane as a lot of what goes on between him and Vee goes on off page.

Vee’s home life was particularly well drawn. Her little sister seems to be bending to the peer pressure that’s sending her off the rails and her father spends more time helping other people cope with having lost a loved one to cancer than he does his own daughters with the loss of their mother. Is it any wonder that Vee is not exactly the image of a well-balanced teen?

The last thing that I want to mention is the dependence on American pop culture. I read a lot of novels by American authors that I have no problems with, but in Slide I found that occasionally Vee would be talking about something, taking it for granted that I’d know what it was, but in reality I didn’t have the slightest clue.

Style: Fairly simple but this seems to go hand in hand with present tense use in YA novels.

Final verdict: I didn’t get the horror story that I was expecting from this book – after all, the blurb makes it sound like Vee will see through the eyes of the killer multiple times – but I found that I did enjoy the story I was given. 4 stars

Extra notes: Bad language is present, sex is not.


  1. Wow. I didn't think you liked it. Why so high?

  2. It wasn't that I didn't like it, it was more that it wasn't what I'd expected. I was expecting horror (or at least that seeing through the eyes of a killer would play a bigger role). This is more of a mystery as the main character learns to accept her supernatural abilities in order to bring a killer to justice.

    Taken for what it was, it was a good read minus Vee telling the reader one thing while she goes about doing another. It was probably closer to 3.5 but I tend to round up in these cases.

  3. That happened to me before, too. Reading a blurb - expecting a certain kind of story...just to have it turn out to be *not so much* what you thought it would be.
    This book sounds like a cool YA (especially bec of the mystery), but I find myself reading more ya contemporary romance than anything else. Interesting concept though!
    _yay_ @ BookthatThing!

  4. Im glad you liked it :) It sounds like a good book :)

  5. I really need to read this one. I actually have two copies. One of them I won. But from your review I can say it must be good so thanks for sharing!

  6. Hey, I didn't even think about Vee's carelessness, but now that you mention it, I think I agree. I enjoyed this book too, and I'm looking forward to the sequel. I agree with most of what you said. Great review as always! :D


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