Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Review: Shift by Em Bailey

 Shift by Em Bailey
Author: Em Bailey. Goodreads|Facebook
Published: 7 May 2012 (Electric Monkey)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Amazon: Paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: Paperback
Book Depository: Paperback

Source: Borrowed from library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
"There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even started at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And the second was that they were dead because Miranda had killed them."

Olive used to be the school queen-bee. But that was before her breakdown. Now she's the class loner, and can only watch as new girl Miranda latches on to Olive's ex-best friend Katie. Soon Miranda is talking like Katie, dressing like Katie - even going out with Katie's boyfriend.

My Review:
There were two things that drew me to this book; the cover and that amazing plot summary, so I was really excited to start reading it and find out more! Shift follows Olive as she tries to deal with demons from her past whilst facing the mysterious new girl at school, Miranda.

When I first started reading this book I was pretty much hooked straight away. Early on it's mentioned that Olive has had some trouble in the past with her dad leaving and she's spent time in a clinic, but it isn't revealed just quite what has happened to her. That made it totally intriguing and I wanted to keep reading to find out just what went on. The whole book was like one big tease that kept you on the edge of your seat!

I really liked that Olive had that bit more to her character as well. There was obviously a lot to explore with her and it just made her really likable. Even though she was troubled she wasn't a nasty character at all. I loved the relationship she has with her brother in particular, and I thought some of her characteristics - like her obsession with her favourite band - were really relatable. 

If you like high school drama then this book is positively bursting with it! It starts out with Katie who's the Regina George kind of figure - popular and influential, but she treats her friends like crap. Katie and Olive have a history which was really interesting, and when the new girl Miranda turns up the whole situation shifts (no pun intended!) as Miranda and Katie become inseparable and Miranda finds her way into the spotlight.

Up until that point the book is pretty much you're average YA contemporary, but after the genre lines start to blur a little bit. It felt like there was more going on, something which is mentioned and referenced throughout the book but never fully explained. I wasn't quite sure I liked how that was done as at times I would just feel a little confused and disappointed that it wasn't delved into a bit more. Nevertheless, if you ignore the genre problems, the plot is still gripping, tense and inventive. There's something inherently creepy about parts of the story as well which really added to the atmosphere.

One of my favourite parts of this story was probably the romance side, which is always there in the background but doesn't take over the plot. The main guy Lachlan was my absolute favourite character - I couldn't wait for him to crop up again each time! Seeing his friendship with Olive develop was something I really enjoyed.

I was still unsure about how I felt about the book until about halfway through when bam! - something I totally didn't see coming was revealed and absolutely blew me away. From then on I absolutely devoured it. I think it's definitely a book you have to read to get a real feel for because there's so much about it I can't really mention without spoiling anything! Despite the few problems I had with it it's definitely a clever book, and one I would recommend. It manages to handle some pretty big issues (including mental health) and does that pretty well. If you like your contemporaries with a bit more substance then this is for you, and I think even readers who aren't a big fan of contemporary will find something to like about this book.

Rating: 4*
Books like this: In Your Dreams by Amy Martin, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate, Becoming Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty


  1. I completely agree with all of your points. I loved Shift and read it in the summer. Lovely review! :)

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  2. Definitely intriguing. The girl, Miranda sounds really creepy and the main character looks troubled but adorable.
    LOVED your review, Sarah
    Your reader,

    1. Absolutely - creepy is the word! Thank you so much Soma :D


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