fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsYA fantasy book reviews Jeri Smith-Ready ShadeShade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Everyone in the world who is Aura’s age or younger can see ghosts, while older people can’t see them. Aura dreads her “gift” (mostly) until her boyfriend, Logan, dies of a drug-alcohol overdose and returns to watch over her. Despite Logan’s lack of a physical body, their relationship deepens.

Meanwhile, Aura begins to fall for a living boy: Zachary. Zachary was born scant minutes before Aura, and whereas she was the first born with the ability to see ghosts, Zach is the last child born without that ability. As Zach and Aura grow closer, Logan’s ghost begins to “shade,” turning dark and ugly. It’s up to Aura to save him if she can, while resisting the strong-arm tactics of a group of government agents who lock dangerous ghosts up for public safety. They are are well aware of Zach and Aura’s special status and are observing them closely.

is an enjoyable read. Jeri Smith-Ready has a real talent for writing highly evocative romantic (not a euphemism for erotic) scenes between people who are not yet sure how they feel about each other. The primary relationships in the novel were all quite strong, and the novel overall was a compelling read.

What’s not to like? Well, maybe this is picky, but the subplot where Zach and Aura are the first and last children born before the “shift” seemed a bit of a stretch. Similarly, the motivations of the characters seemed simpler than in some of Smith-Ready’s other works, though this may have been because of the younger target audience.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Shade and intend to continue reading the series. Parents should be aware that in the opening chapter, Aura intends to consummate her relationship with Logan and there are several references to this as well as to make-out sessions (sort of) on her bed after he’s a ghost. Overall, I would have no qualms with my own teenager reading Shade, but parents may want to preview it for themselves.

Shade — (2010-2013) Young adult. Publisher: Love ties them together. Death can’t tear them apart. Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan’s band playing a critical gig and Aura’s plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend’s life. She never thought it would be his last. Logan’s sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He’s gone. Well, sort of. Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan’s violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost. It doesn’t help that Aura’s new friend Zachary is so understanding — and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit. As Aura’s relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura’s heart… and clues to the secret of the Shift.

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  • Stephen B. Frank

    STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

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