Publisher: HarperCollins (Balzer + Bray)
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Type: ARC, won
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.
This is one of those books that had a lot of things I liked and a lot of things I didn't and it's left me completely unsure of how I feel about this book.
There are some things that Jill Hathaway does wonderfully. The way she handles family dynamic is fantastic; I absolutely loved reading about the relationship between Vee and Mattie and their father. It was complex and real and incredible. The characters themselves were also, for the most part, very complex, with real thoughts and feelings and secrets they'd rather not share. The writing is smooth and occasionally brilliant, with some lines that I'd reread several times over because they were just that clever. And perhaps best of all, I think Jill Hathaway does an amazing job of portraying what it is like to lose someone. Loss is woven throughout this book, and it is portrayed in a painfully realistic manner.
But despite the many things I liked, there were two things that really dragged this down for me: the stereotypes, and the insta-love.
The stereotypes weren't as huge a factor as I'd originally feared. Hathaway did try to make her major side characters be more than just the flat stereotypes that they could've become. And I think she did pretty well. But the rest of the side characters, the ones who weren't as relevant, were a loose mass of stereotypes forming a background for the main characters. The cheerleaders were mindless sluts (even Amber and Stephanie, who were given a little bit of extra flavor, would fit in this category). The jocks were horny douchebags. The whole drama-rama atmosphere that many books and movies now attribute to high school was uncomfortably present.
But I think I could've dealt with that if it weren't for the insta-love.
Ahhh, insta-love. Unfortunately, this is one of my biggest pet-peeves. I strongly believe that love is something that happens over a long period of time, when you come to know a person from cover to cover, when you would place their happiness over your own. Not a teenybopper "oooh he's so hawt he makes my skin tingle we kiss I'm in love." The speed at which relationships in YA today progress saddens me. In this case, it isn't even that I disliked Zane; I didn't. I thought he was cute and interesting and sometimes I even thought he was a great match for Vee, which doesn't always happen. He wasn't one of the love interests that I would leap into a book for, but he's nice. My problem does not lie with him. It lies with them, together after days of knowing one another. Claiming that they're "falling for each other," and "in love." While there weren't the typical dramatic declarations of love (thank goodness), it just left a sour taste on my tongue.
Despite what it may sound like, I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit. However, I've been playing with two ratings for a while now and cannot settle on one. While I've been debating between a three and a four, I feel as if either of these would be inappropriate. So I am just not going to rate it. This was a good book, with a fast plot and intriguing characters, and if you can handle the stereotypes and insta-love, I would highly recommend it.
*Note: This is a review of an unpublished copy, therefore nothing in here is absolutely final.