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Radiant Shadows


Slide - Jill Hathaway Good pacing, the suspense of a murder-mystery and an interesting paranormal-ish twist combined to make Slide a pretty entertaining read. While I did find the plot to be a little predictable, guessing the murderer relatively early on, and even though high school stereotypes were unabashedly exploited, I empathized with the protagonist, Vee, and was kept fascinated by her evolving ability to slide into others.Vee was a wonderful protagonist. While her transformation from prep-to-goth was stereotypical on the surface, her reasons behind the bright pink hair and 90s grunge music really pulled at my heartstrings.I was tired of looking in the mirror every day and seeing her, missing her.Dyeing my hair couldn’t disguise the other parts of her that lived on in me, though. The way my laughter borders on cackling when I find something hilarious, just like hers did. The way my skin refuses to tan, no matter how many hours I spend in the sun.A truly complex and emotionally layered character, I loved watching how different Vee’s relationships were with everyone in Slide, but that her ability to keep them grounded was a constant. Passing out in school didn’t stop her from comforting Sophie, who was throwing up in the bathroom. Dislike for Amber’s attitude didn’t stop Vee from consoling her as she fell apart at Sophie’s funeral. Hurt over his emotional distance didn’t stop Vee from trying her best to ease her father’s worry, even if it meant lying to him about the truth behind her narcolepsy. It seemed that every person in her life depended on her for something, and she was always able to set aside her own issues in order to be there for them. And not once did she use her angst, over her mother’s death or her father’s negligence or her friends’ abandonment, in order to excuse her behaviour.But the absolute best part about Vee was her relationship with her sister, Mattie. Their relationship was so similar to my relationships with my younger sisters growing up, that it was almost like deja vu. They had their moments of sister bonding, where Vee shared her memories about their mother since Mattie was too young to have made any of her own, and they had their moments of sibling rivalry. But most of all, it was obvious that they loved each other. Vee did everything within her power to keep Mattie safe from the person harming her friends, but there was nothing she could do to regain Mattie’s childlike innocence, and it physically hurt her to see her baby sister carrying the burdens of someone much older. Their relationship was everything a sibling relationship is – passionate, fragile, messy and beautiful – and more than anything else in Slide, it truly resonated with me.I also really enjoyed watching Vee’s ability to slide evolve, from something completely out of her control, to something she used as a tool to catch a murderer. Her hints that her mother might have had the same condition really piqued my curiosities.I remember her falling asleep sometimes while watching television or during dinner. When she woke up, she’d have the strangest little smile. I’d give anything to know what happened to her while she was asleep. If she was like me. If she slid.Just when I began to accept her sliding as fact, she would throw out a comment that had me wondering how she got it – was it genetic? Would her mother have been able to explain more, if she had lived longer? Or was she touched by the paranormal? While I would have liked some explanation, the mystery surrounding Vee’s condition added a level of suspense that any explanation would have ruined. As Slide’s plot progressed, I really like watching her try to take control of something that she had mostly lived in fear of, and that she did it with such honorable intentions.But as much as I loved Vee, and regardless of how intriguing I found her ability, Slide’s plot was a little too predictable for my liking. The high school cliches – popular girls are cheerleaders (and bitches), the hottest guy that every girl falls for is a jerky jock, the popular teacher who’s loved by the student body is the teacher accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student – were abundant and noticeable. Even Vee and her best friend Rollins were cliched, being the goth girl and the new guy who became friends because everyone else at the school snubbed them. And honestly, I think I could have gotten past the cliches if the murder-mystery had been fantastically done. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. With clues dropped left and right, there were the obvious paths (which I saw right through, because they were so obvious) and then there was the not-so-obvious-obvious path, which led right to the killer. Considering how quickly Vee put certain clues together, I was frustrated with how blind she remained to the killer’s identity, until the killer all but bit her. It made for a pretty anticlimactic ending, considering everything that was revealed I had guessed early on in the book.As a whole, I really enjoyed Slide. Vee as a protagonist was written well enough that I was able to mostly ignore a lot of what was bothering me – namely the stereotypical YA treatment of high school and an overly predictable plot. With enough thrills and suspense to keep me reading, I would recommend Slide to anyone who’s looking for a quick read, with a great protagonist, and a relatively likeable plot.