Monday 16 July 2012

Book Review: Shift by Em Bailey.

Product details:
Publisher: Egmont
Release date: May 7th 2012
Paperback, 320 pages.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore.

She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After "the incident," Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past.
But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost . . . parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life.

But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?

A chilling psychological thriller that tears through themes of identity, loss, and toxic friendship, Shift will leave readers guessing until the final pages.

A psychological thriller reminiscent of Rachel Klein’s The Moth Diaries and Poison Heart by S.B. Hayes Em Bailey’s Shift welcomes us into the world of Olive Corbett, a girl with a whole lot of problems in her life.  Following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage, which in turn led to her own personal breakdown, Olive no longer cares about school, or the popular girls and hot guys who were once so important in her life.  All that matters now is her family, her friend Ami, and her meds.

But then one day new girl Miranda Vaile arrives at school, and rumour has it that Miranda is a murderer, killing both her parents when she was just a little girl.  Right from the off, Olive senses that there’s something not quite right about Miranda. Maybe she’s just another mean girl, but Olive reckons that there’s something far more sinister at play. After a couple of minutes spent searching the internet, Olive is convinced that Miranda is a Shifter,  one who feeds on the energy of others before taking their lives as her own.  And it looks like Olive ex-best friend Katie might be her next target.

Can Olive find out the truth about Miranda before it’s too late?

Shift has a totally intriguing premise that hooked me right from the start, but as I got further along in my reading of this one, my interest started to wane. For me, Olive wasn’t a particularly interesting or likeable character.   With all she’s been through, it’s easy to understand why she’s such a defensive person, but with her constant sarcasm and downright rude behaviour at times, she began to grate on me pretty quickly, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why hot surfer guy Lachlan was so taken with her and stuck around even though she generally treated him like dirt.

My main issue with this one though wasn’t the characterization, but the absolute vagueness of the plot, certain seemingly major points of which meandered into nothingness.   I’ve read quite a lot of books of this type –psychological thrillers that hint at paranormal goings on – and they are by their very nature, vague, but with this one there was just too much left unexplained and unresolved, and I found the conclusion particularly limp and unsatisfying.

When I read a psychological thriller I want to be shocked, but I’m afraid that never happened with Shift.  There are a lot of tried and tested plot devices used here, including the kind of major twist that I’ve seen used to great effect in other books of this type.  Here though, what could have been a shocking turn of events was just predicable and something that I figured out early on in the novel. Maybe if I hadn’t read several books with this same twist I would have been more surprised, so I will just blame myself for that one!

Overall, I was a little disappointed with Shift.  Usually when a book doesn’t give me all the answers I need, I find myself pondering on it for days afterwards.  But unfortunately with this one, it was a case of out of sight, out of mind.


  1. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties16 July 2012 at 09:33

    Ah, sad to hear you found this disappointing.  I picked this one up at ALA and I was excited to read it---I'll have to go in with lower expectations, then maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised! :D

  2. Hmm, this sounds really interesting! It's such a shame that the vagueness didn't work this time. I know there could be good cases for unreliable narrators and guessing but sometimes it's TOO vague. 

  3. Awh this did have an intriguing premise, so it's sad to see it wasn't all that good. I might still give it a try but my expectations won't be as high as they were. Thanks for the honest review.:)

  4. Glad I read your review. I saw this one and the bookstore and was drawn to the cover. I didn't end up getting it. The premise does sound interesting, but sorry to hear it ended up being disappointing!

  5. Ah it's a shame this was disappointing. I don't like vague plots either, everything is just too confusing and unexplained! Thanks for the review :).

  6. I've been considering this one for a while so it's a shame to hear it's not that great. I totally get what you mean about psychological thrillers with paranormal twists-mara dyer being a prime example-but it seems like this book takes that a step too far, plus Olive doesn't sound all that great. What a shame

    Cait x

  7. This sounds really interesting, I have it on my shelf already as I was intrigued by it, it's a shame you were a little dissapointed with it though.

  8. daisychainbooks17 July 2012 at 16:21

     You might love it! I've seen a lot of positive reviews around, but it just wasn't for me.

  9. daisychainbooks17 July 2012 at 16:24

     So true! And also, I was my own worst enemy with this one because I've read a ton of similar books!

  10. daisychainbooks17 July 2012 at 16:25

     Olive didn't really work for me at all! I'd recommend this one if it sounds like something new or different to you, but for me, I've read so many other books that follow a similar pattern to this one that there were no surprises for me.

  11. daisychainbooks17 July 2012 at 16:25

     I hope it works out better for you than it did for me! :)


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