Sunday, May 20, 2012
Everyone knows that Vee Bell has narcolepsy. She can pass out anywhere at any time. What they don't know is that she slips into other people's consciousness when she has an episode. She can't read their thoughts or anything, but she can see what they see and experience what they experience and it is not always pleasant. She has viewed some people's most private moments and it's all through touching things that they touched when feeling emotions. She sees teachers drinking, her sister cheating on a test, and the true colors of one of her friends at a school dance. Then she witnesses the worst thing she has ever witnessed: the murder of one of her sister's friends through the eyes of the murderer. Everyone assumes it was a suicide, but Vee knows better and has no way to prove it. Can she catch the murder and solve the mystery before he or she kills again?
Slide really drew me in with its unique premise and murder mystery plot. It could have easily been filled with typical teen cliches and conventions with little substance. On the surface, the characters are cliches: cheerleaders, popular kids, the outcast, etc. But Jill Hathaway infuses her characters with dimensions and realistic points of view. Vee may be an outcast that used to be a part of the popular crowd, but she has a special power and is surprisingly worldly for a teenager. She doesn't burden her grieving father with her problems and works hard to deal with them herself. Her little sister may be cheerleader who gets drunk with her friends, but she's actually very intelligent despite the fact that she caves under peer pressure. Vee's two love interests, newcomer Zane and her best friend Rollins, were both likeable and the romance of the sort of love triangle never overpowered the mystery.
One aspect I really liked about the novel was the examination of responsibility when it comes to witnessing something horrible happening. Vee feels a responsibility to solve this crime and clear the name of the girl who everyone assumes killed herself. More murders follow the first in a similar fashion and Vee works to solve the mystery even though she witnessed it in a way no one would ever believe her. On the other hand, one of her old cheerleader friends witnessed Vee's date dragging her unconscious body to a private space at a party to take advantage of her and that friend did nothing. A serious crime could have been committed and Vee was only saved by someone else. I find this situation frankly monstrous and callous. It's easy for anyone, not just teenagers, to rationalize away a responsibility like this to report or help someone they see in trouble.
I really enjoyed Slide with its new and interesting premise and teen sleuth plot. It really had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-like vibe with the ex-cheerleader solving mysteries and shouldering the burden of a paranormal power. It's a fast read that really draws you in. I would recommend it to fans of non-romance centered paranormal books.
My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins