11 September 2011

Book (P)Review: Two YA Novels for Spring '12

Slide by Jill Hathaway features a largely realistic setting with one aspect of fantasy, or suspend-your-disbelief, for the reader: Vee Bell suffers from narcolepsy, but when these sleeping fits overcome her, she "slides"into another person's mind and sees the world through their eyes for a little while.  Which is how she knows that her sister's friend, Sophie, didn't kill herself--she was occupying the killer's mind and saw the knife.  But of course how can she possibly go to the police with this information?  So instead of blocking these slides she tries to encourage them, hoping to learn more.  When there's another "suicide" at the high school, Vee knows she has to work even faster if she wants to prevent the killer from striking again.  Along the way we get a cast of suspects, a budding relationship with the new boy in town, and new insight both into her father's life and her best friend's life.  A little learned empathy is never a bad thing, right?

This book reminds me largely of a book from earlier this year--Clarity by Kim Harrington--and the denouement in this book is fairly similar.  Although this book is for a slightly older audience, fans of one will enjoy the other.

I was never personally convinced of the "sliding", and I could see the ending coming from a good ways off.  But I think younger teens in particular will respond well to this book. Overall, though, I think this book will find an eager audience, even if it's not my cup of tea.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith is light and sweet and a little something more, and I mean that in a good way, not damning with faint praise.  It's the story of seventeen year old Hadley Sullivan and how four minutes changed everything in her life.  She's supposed to be on a plane to London where her father is getting remarried to a woman she's never met, but instead she gets into a fight with her mom and is running late by just four minutes. She's put on the next flight, seated next to sweetly funny Oliver, and what starts off as the worst day of her life turns out to be, well, surprisingly awesome.  After their plane lands in London, Oliver and Hadley are just smitten enough with each other and know just enough personal information to be able to track each other down later in the day, with surprising results.

Hadley starts off as a typical teen, self-absorbed and unable (or maybe just unwilling) to see her parents as anything other than their relationship to her, but by the end of the novel (which takes place in just 24 hours) she's able to see them as adults who have lives and interests and priorities beyond being her Mom and Dad.  And she realizes that while she may not have a say in their life choices (much less like them), she *can* choose how to react to their decisions, and that maybe forgiveness is a good place to start, both with herself and her new family.

So no, this isn't an exciting do-or-die adventure, nor is it a romance for the ages, or full of angsty vampires.  It's simply a good story, well-told, replete with first love and second chances.  Teens who like Maureen Johnson's novels or who are looking for realistic fiction that's not Gossip Girls/The Clique will enjoy this book a good bit and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a movie in the works soon. 

NB: I read both of these books in ARC form, courtesy of our publishers' sales reps.  The former releases from Harper in 4/12 and the latter releases from Hachette in 2/12. 


  1. great recs for my 19 year old..thanks Em

  2. First one isn't quite my style, but hmmmmmmmmmm to the second. I'm all for books about people falling in love on planes.

  3. Wow, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight sounds amazing. Sometimes that's just what you need. Something light and fun and romantic.


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