Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Olive Corbett is definitely NOT crazy.
Not anymore. These days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with.
She doesn't need a boyfriend. Especially not a life-saver-type with a nice smile. And she doesn't need the drama of that creepy new girl, Miranda, who has somehow latched on to Oliver's ex-best friend.
Yet from a distance, Olive can see there's something sinister about the new friendship. Something almost . . . parasitic. Maybe the wild rumours ARE true. Maybe Miranda is a killer.
But who would believe Olive? She does have a habit of letting her imagination run away with her . . .
One word. Whoa. SHIFT was such a hard-kicking debut novel for the author Em Bailey and I admit, this book took me by surprise and not to mention threw me off balance most of the time while reading it. With little set expectations, this title is one of those few books that you see on the shelf for a while and you're not entirely sure what to make of it, let alone know whether to pick it up or not. But most importantly it's the kind of novel that you wished you picked up sooner and I would recommend this one to EVERYONE I know because it's amazing in all aspects of young adult fiction. Whether you have a love of twists and turns or a simple love for something new and exciting . . . this book will appeal and adjust to all readers taste.
The thing is - I loved the plot. It was edgy, original and it had a dark side. Already being a fan of psychological thrillers, I thought this book nailed the genre perfectly and it was fantastic since it hooked you within the very first chapter. It's rare to do that. Our main heroine, Olive Corbett, is beautiful, witty, sarcastic and has her own set of problems. Ever since her father left, she has never been her 'normal' self. She's somehow convinced that she was the reason her father left and she's the one to blame. But things go haywire when the new girl enters the scene - Miranda.
Now Miranda isn't your normal new girl. Since she arrived and with rumours flying around about her supposedly being responsible for 'killing' her parents, for some odd reason Olive is intrigued. But when Miranda starts hanging around Olive's ex-best friend and begins to act too much like her (in a creepy-crazy-stalker kind of way), Olive starts her own investigation. And one word comes up: Shape-Shifter. A person-like organism that can stick onto its host and drain the life source out of them. Now with little is known about Miranda's past and whether she's a shifter or not, there's one thing Olive knows for sure . . . she needs to find out before time runs out for her and the people around her.
While I loved the problematic Olive, but damn Miranda's character was nailed to the very core of her evil existence. Trust me she was evil and very good at it too. Sure, we knew Miranda was a social climber of the typical high school life but I never knew what to expect from her. One moment she's super friendly and the next she's completely done the turnaorund - turning into something not-so-human and scary. It was wonderfully written in Miranda's case. On the other hand, Em Bailey wrote a great and quick romance with a boy named Lachlan. He was a great character! He was handsome, didn't have any interest in the popular and hot girls that most guys were into, and he was very sensitive and not to mention sincere towards Olive. Gotta hand it to him. He won my heart. Just when Olive's sanity is questioned and eventually plummets into the unknown, Lachlan was right there to support her and I loved him to bits.
Overall Em Bailey's writing is one of the great hightlights from the book. It's both engrossing and thrilling. It reads between the fine line of reality and the paranormal. And most importantly, it leaves us readers to shout out high praises on this new definition to young adult thriller books. I was hanging onto every word of this book. With SHIFT wonderfully written, exciting, dark, mysterious, and suspenseful, it's no wonder why so many people thought this book was a remarkable debut novel and I'm looking forward to seeing what Em Bailey writes next!