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Shade Me Hardcover – January 19, 2016
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“SHADE ME is a wild ride, illuminating the gritty side of Los Angeles and the beautiful people who populate it. Fans of Veronica Mars will fall in love with Nikki Kill.” (Michelle Gagnon, author of the Don't Turn Around trilogy)
“This dark tale hits all the hallmarks of a traditional hardboiled mystery, full of dirty secrets and potential betrayals. Brown (Torn Away) skillfully uses Nikki’s condition to put a fresh spin on time-honored noir conventions.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Nikki is a force to be reckoned with.” (School Library Journal)
“Nikki’s endearingly heedless with a careless confidence, and her tenacity may earn respect.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Nikki is a complex character with potential for growth, and her gritty determination to find the truth, while it almost undoes her, is what makes her compelling.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
About the Author
Jennifer Brown is the author of the young adult novels Shade Me, Bitter End, Perfect Escape, Thousand Words, and Torn Away. Her debut young adult novel, Hate List, was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives in the Kansas City, Missouri, area with her husband and children. You can visit Jennifer online at www.jenniferbrownya.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
And if all of that sounds ridiculously silly and gives you no real idea of what synesthesia is really like or how it could possibly help solve an attempted murder, well, too bad. That's all you get. Well, that and a hard-smoking, hyper-violent heroine who's equal parts damaged and overconfident.
To me, Brown's channeling a bit of Chandler here, in the sense that her heroine solves her case not so much through solid and careful detective work but by employing the Phlip Marlowe method of showing up at various places and pissing people off until someone beats the crap out of you and somehow that's a clue...while sleeping with someone else who may or may not be one of the good guys. (Okay, so there's a bit of Hammett in there as well.) It works in Chandler because of the sheer attitude and Marlowe's gift for one-liners. Here, it does keep the plot moving right along, but without the zippy dialogue all you've got is relentless forward motion toward an ending that you're probably not that invested in (and which you've likely figured out by about page fifty).
All the points Brown earns for crafting a heroine who looks after herself (because every adult in her life is weirdly absent) get negated by the silliness of Nikki's stubborn refusal to go to the police even when it's very, very clear she's in over her head, and the author's main hook (synesthesia!) never gets conveyed well enough to feel like anything more than a gimmick. Apparently technicolor simply isn't my my shade of noir.
I found Nikki to be a very likeable character, and she does possess a level of bravery and smarts far above her age. She also kind of gave a Jessica Jones vibe, and the setting seemed similar. That being said, the co-incidences that lead her to solving the mystery felt too co-incidental. It was like mostly serendipity that she arrived at an answer - things that could be anything but somehow turned out to be a lead. I also couldn't believe that the police was so incompetent that a teenager could get ahead on their case. So, if you can suspend disbelief, this is a very enjoyable book otherwise.
Received a free galley from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Epic Reads and HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC for an honest review through the Early Readers Program.Read more