I attended a writer's conference this past weekend and had the distinct pleasure of meeting debut novelist, Jill Hathaway. She's smart, funny and cute as a button. And if she teaches English the same way she presented at the conference, her students are some of the luckiest in the world.
Out of professional courtesy, I bought a copy of Slide. After opening to the first page, professional courtesy went out the window. I was hooked by the premise and the voice.
Vee Bell has the unfortunate ability to slide into the body of another person--an uncontrollable and unpredictable quirk that literally puts her behind the eyes of a killer.
When she awakens holding a dripping knife, she can't tear her gaze from the body of her sister's best friend. Nor can she tell anyone the suicide was a murder without revealing her secret.
Yet for Vee, learning secrets is a by-product of her ability, and her suspect list grows as she slides more and more frequently due to sleep deprivation and worry for the cheerleaders who seemingly have been targeted by a cold-blooded murderer.
As the body count piles up, Vee must learn to use her ability to scratch names off her suspect list before her cheerleading sis is scratched off by the killer.
The things I loved most about this novel are the relationships that populated Vee's life. She has a little sister she's raising, a work-aholic father, a distant best friend and a budding romance. In my opinion, these four main relationships were well-fleshed out and realistic. I felt connected to each of them as they grew and changed over the course of the book.
The thing that surprised me most about this novel was that I had figured out the who-dunnit long before the big reveal. That said, I cut my teeth on mysteries and I rarely get surprised by the end "Aha!" in most novels, so take this comment as you will.
Over all, I think it would have been a bit more satisfying to have fewer issues introduced in one novel. While Jill Hathaway hits nearly all the major issues teens face today, there isn't enough time in a single novel to really tackle them at a deeply relevant level.
The pace was great, the writing was clean and easy to read, and the premise intriguing. Slide was a quick, fun read that I enjoyed immensely for the break it provided me from reality.
I give Slide by Jill Hathaway a smidgen shy of four onion blooms.
*As an aside, I would have loved more info on sliding. Specifically, how/why does one come back from a slide?