Thursday, June 21, 2012
REVIEW: Shift by Em Bailey
I will always be drawn to stories of mental health, and I loved the way in which our main character, Olive, questions her own sanity throughout the course of the novel and the way in which that uncertainty plays a role in what happens. I thought it was done beautifully.
Olive is a character that I connected with very easily. She used to be popular at school but after 'the incident' in which she finds herself in a mental institution, things haven't been the same at school with her friends or at home with her family. Everything, including Olive seems to be that little bit broken. Now, Olive only has the one friend, Ami, and she mostly sticks to herself and tries to stay unnnoticed at school. But things begin to change when two new students appear at school, the hot new boy Lachlan who seems to see Olive for who she really is, and Miranda the girl who is rumoured to have killed her own parents.
What follows is disturbing and emotional and sweet. On the one hand we have Olive, who is slightly paranoid and mentally fragile who is the only one seeing this destructive relationship that begins between Miranda and Olive's ex-best friend, Katie. Miranda begins to imitate Katie, the way she speaks and moves and does her best to worm her way into Katie's life completely. Only Olive and Ami can see Miranda for what she is, a parasite intent on taking over Katie completely, but will it be enough to save Katie? or Olive herself? At the same time as the scary stuff is going on between Miranda and Katie and Olive, there's also the sweetest story of first love between Olive and Lachlan that made my heart melt!
What goes in Shift is creepy to say the very least. But what I loved so much about this book is how I was completely left guessing as to what is going on. I was completely at the mercy of Em Bailey as she spun this tale that bordered on the paranormal but also of identity and friendship and romance.
There's all kinds of craziness going on in this book, dangerous, creepy craziness. And I loved every page of it. Highly recommended!