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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Review: Shift by Em Bailey

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, we all know that.
But what if someone wants to replace you, and not just be like you?

Em Bailey's chilling psychological YA thriller debut is sure to make readers think twice about letting people get close too much. The bonds of friendship is stretched tight up to the breaking point in this shuddery tale of one girl's identity and her struggle to find out who she really is deep inside.

Title: Shift by Em Bailey
Pages: 320
Release Date: September 1st 2011
Published by: Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: Publisher (thanks, Jennifer!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads):

Olive Corbett is definitely NOT crazy.

Not anymore. These days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with.

She doesn’t need a boyfriend. Especially not a lifesaver-type with a nice smile. And she doesn’t need the drama of that creepy new girl Miranda, who has somehow latched on to Olive's ex-best friend.

Yet from a distance, Olive can see there's something sinister about the new friendship. Something almost... parasitic. Maybe the wild rumours ARE true. Maybe Miranda is a killer.

But who would believe Olive? She does have a habit of letting her imagination run away with her…

Olivia Corbett's life is a wreck. She used to be best friends with Katie, the most popular girl in school. She used to be pretty, outgoing, with a happy family, but after the "Incident", Olive doesn't even recognize who she was anymore. Shunned, different, fat, crazy, on medication, with a brother having nightmares every night and a mother left by her husband. All she has is Ami, and she sure doesn't want anyone else getting close, especially the new boy in school, Lachlan, who thinks he knows who she truly was inside. How could he? Things were fine until Miranda arrived. Miranda, the rumored killer. Soon popular Katie is fading into the background, and Miranda's stealing everything away from her, including her life. Now Katie's dead and Miranda is still there, waiting for her next victim. And now she has her sights set on Olive...

Olive wasn't crazy, that I'm sure of. Extremely paranoid, but not crazy. People tend to obsess about how other people perceive them, and in Olive's case that drove her to the edge of her sanity. She had a difficult time dealing with her emotions, and what she had become when she was friends with Katie. She knew she was wrecking lives, not just of her friends but also of her family. Maybe she was partly to blame for what happened, but what was important was that she tried to change, and I admire her for that.

Surprise came into the form of Ami. She was a particular twist in the story I wasn't anticipating at all. It's always a delight to be able to read a book where surprise plot twists appear out of nowhere. The unpredictability adds to the charm of this book and the fact that the characters are highly flawed. It makes you feel the realness of each and every single one of them and adds to the real life aspect of the book.

And Lachlan, oh Lachlan, where do I start describing you? He's the lifesaver, literally. He rescued Olive from all the evils of her life. For someone as unstable as Olive, Lachlan is the stability she needs. It's a given that he's gorgeous, but he's strong and understanding and he sees Olive for what she really is. He's the kind of guy you wish was real because he's not interested in the superficial beauty of a girl, instead he sees you for the person you are inside.

A valuable lesson this book teaches is to be wary of choosing who you'll be friends with. Olive watched as Katie wasted away in Miranda's grasps and she almost fell for Miranda's madness as well. From the mousy, new kid, Miranda slowly took all that Katie had. It's chilling to the bone to read of a person who's manipulative streak appears in full force. For Miranda, words held power, and she may not be an alien, but she's certainly a 'shapeshifter'. A real menace. She twists and bends and shape a person the way she likes them to be, someone inferior to her, and kill them with her words and ideas, often toxic and deadly. She plays with emotions. She toys with people's lives. She gets satisfaction in the demise of her so called friends. I cannot believe such a person can exist.

Shift is one of the most intense YA psychological thriller I've read this year. This book is not for the faint hearted. Shift is a spine chilling tale about the dark and distorted side of friendship and all the things that could possibly go wrong. It takes the readers to a gripping ride into the ugly mind of the viciously wicked. Shift will mess up your mind. It will frighten you. Fear is a great motivator, and that is what you will mostly feel while reading this book. But don't worry, as this book is not just about the evilness of one's heart or the ugly side of friendship, but also of family and first love and a story about how we look at ourselves, how we treat ourselves and how we love ourselves.

A healthy dose of creepiness combined with a generous amount of volatile moments and emotions gave birth to this terrific novel. What a way to introduce Em Bailey to the writing world!

Em Bailey is an author to watch out for! Shift is a masterful and mind blowing debut! Believe me when I say that this book will just not give you the creeps, but it will make you take a close look at how you form relationships and probably make us a little wiser and more cautious of forming bonds with the right people.

My rating:

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Absolutely fabulous!

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:

The creepy cover adds appeal to this book.


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