Monday, 9 March 2015

Shift by Em Bailey

Title: Shift
Author: Em Bailey
Published by: Electric Monkey
Publication date: 7th May 2012
Pages: 304
Genres: YA Contemporary/Romance/Psychological
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought.

There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even started at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And the second was that they were dead because Miranda had killed them.

Olive used to be the school queen-bee. But that was before her breakdown. Now she's the class loner, and can only watch as new girl Miranda latches on to Olive's ex-best friend Katie. Soon Miranda is talking like Katie, dressing like Katie - even going out with Katie's boyfriend.

And then Katie dies. Everyone seems to believe it was a tragic accident, but Olive isn't so sure. What if the wild rumours are true? What if Miranda really is a killer...?

I had just recovered from reading one of my favourite books, The Originals, when I saw this book cover for the first time. I remember thinking they looked very similar, and instantly popped it onto my wish list, without looking at what it was about. Somehow nearly three years zoomed by and then I decided to look into it. I know, I know. But then I discovered it was a psychological thriller which made me even more excited, and boom - into the virtual shopping cart it flew.

Reader, here's some slightly hypocritical advice from yours truly: try not to get your expectations so high that you can't see over them.

The first half of the book was great. There was lots of mystery, lots of intrigue, and lots of unanswered questions that I was excited to see tied up at the end. The characters were interesting, the dialogue was dark and creepy, and then came along the most amazingly disorientating plot twist that made me doubt everything and want to go back to the beginning.

But, as we all know, what goes up must come down. Shift went from being a definite 5-star review to a 2-star review. The book had been holding my attention because I wanted to find out what happened to Olive but, in the end, it turned out to be a massive disappointment, even after the mind-blowing plot twist. For a start, Olive became annoyingly gullible, and more often than not I found myself wanting to shake her.You know when you're watching a horror movie and you're constantly screaming at the television because the characters are doing everything they logically shouldn't be doing? Olive was that person. It fit with the plot and I understood why she was like that, but it got overwhelmingly irritating.

And then the ending was like a balloon slowly deflating after having reached its limit. "Heart-racing climax" is one of the phrases used on the back of the book, but I don't feel like there was one at all. There was so much potential, and yet it was all a bit "and they lived happily ever after." I mean, seriously. For a start, Miranda - dark, creepy, emotionally manipulative shape-shifter - literally walks off into the sunset, and in response, Olive vaguely wonders what Miranda is doing in her new life, in the same way that you might wonder what old school friends are getting up to these days. She even admits to missing her. Olive, she tried to kill you twice, and actually did kill someone you once considered a best friend. But sure, miss her.

So, not only did Shift have an extremely irritating and stupid ending, but the whole shape-shifting thing was never explained, either. Why was Miranda a shape-shifter? How? And what was going on with her freakish aunt? I guess we'll never know, and I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

In the end, it just seemed like satire, although it clearly wasn't supposed to, and all in all it was consistently clumsy. Unfortunately, it's not something I'd recommend you spend your money on.


  1. Darn, this sounded quite good. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it after reading this review. Thanks for saving me. ;)

    1. I think the majority liked this book so there's still hope!

  2. Aw, that's a shame. I've vaguely considered buying Shift, but now I'm glad I held back... It just sounds a little weird. I do like the idea of it taking place in a school (I'm in the mood for YA contemporaries at the moment), but I'm not so keen on the unexplained shape-shifter element. Yeah, I think I'll be leaving this one for a while.
    Beth x