SLIDE (Slide #1)
Paranormal-ish Young Adult
Balzer + Bray
Available March 27th
Received through Teen Book Scene for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Slide is a story that draws us in quickly, making us feel vulnerable on a level rarely experienced while reading and binding us to Vee as we tread precariously through the strangeness of her life. Not only do we have the vulnerability we typically feel as passive observers to fictional action–stuck outside the pages with absolutely no ability to direct or alter what’s unfolding before us–but with Vee’s story that usual vulnerability is compounded by her ability to slide into the minds of others without effecting change while she’s there. Thus, we find ourselves observers of someone who’s an even more intimate observer of others, leaving us helpless not just on a single default level but on a far deeper level as well, and making the reading experience a kind of fascinating exercise in facing our own impotence.
Vee is a young woman whose gift superficially seems like it might be something we’d like to experience, but the more time we spend with her, the more her ability takes on a darker, almost sinister edge, turning us all into unintentional voyeurs invading the privacy of others without their consent. Her sliding also leaves her body starkly exposed, her mind unable to protect its physical form while occupied in the mind of another, and we therefore feel an intense need to protect her despite our deep-seated knowledge that we are unable to do so. Still, Vee’s safety–emotionally and physically–becomes important to us, and we envy the strength she possesses to deal with such unusual circumstances and the horrors she is sometimes subjected to as a result.
Though Vee is a heroine it’s extremely easy to root for and we are rapidly swept away into a world where seeing is not just believing but also experiencing, the overall feeling we are left with upon finishing is one of slight disappointment. Ms. Hathaway has written a gorgeously dark story with characters who have problems and pasts that keep us riveted to the pages, however, we are denied deeper, richer access to them. Reading this story is a bit like being children in a candy store–we want nothing more than to touch and taste everything within reach of our greedy fingers, but the firm hand of our parents restrains us, their authoritative voices reminding us we are to look only while fully indulging in nothing. There’s an intriguing relationship with Rollins of which we only get a brief flash, just as there is a great deal of pain and loss in Vee’s own past that we get a little snippet of when everything comes together at the end, but those tiny tastes, however delightful, make us feel the absence of something weightier all the more keenly.
Overall, Slide is a very quick and entertaining read, one that is done just well enough that we can’t help but want to immerse ourselves a little more thoroughly in the world and its characters, thereby causing the inability to do so to affect us more than it might in another book. Ms. Hathaway is certainly an author going on my “authors to keep track of” list, and I look forward to whatever she releases next.