Monday, June 18, 2012

31. Shine

Book #31: Shine
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Published: May 1, 2012
416 Pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.

As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

Aura's world caught my attention the moment I fell into it. The first book in the series, Shade, introducing us to a world where ghosts haunt the living and living deal with it. After a mysterious occurrence called the Shift happens, all those under the age of eighteen can see and talk to ghosts. Aura is one of those who has to deal with listening to ghosts complain and try to move on with their afterlives. But when Aura's rockstar boyfriend, Logan, dies suddenly on his birthday, she is suddenly glad she can see ghosts. Throughout the first two novels, Shade and Shift, Aura digs into the mysteries behind the Shift and gradually moves on with her life so that Logan can pass on. This process is sped up with the help of Zachary, the gorgeous Scottish exchange student, who captures her heart and waits ever so patiently for her to move on from Logan.

In this third and final installment, Aura has discovered more about the Shift than the government would like. They now know that she was the first person born after the Shift and Zachary was the last before, and will do anything to hold them in order to find out what they can do. And boy can they do a lot. Aura, as the first, can help Shades turn back into ghosts, and Zach, as the last, is like a living black box, no ghost can come near him. When they kiss, aura takes on Zach's ability and vice versa, leaving them with the thought that they may be the only two who can end the Shift. But it won't be easy. The government holds Zach in containment and Aura is desperate to find a way to help him and to discover everything she can about the government trying to find them.

Aura and Zachary's relationship is beautiful and heartbreaking. When they are apart, you can feel Aura's agony in every breath she takes. And when they are together, it's only them against the world, trying to hold on before they are separated again. Smith-Ready knows how a heart feels when it is torn from its other half. The long distance that you feel when even though you can see them on a screen, all you want to do is touch them. Their reunion is magical, eager and too short. As they explore Ireland together, connecting the pieces of the puzzle in order to keep the world from ghosts, their love grows stronger and more inimate. There is still so much pain between them and as a reader, all I wanted was to see them have their happy ending. From the beginning, I knew Zachary was the right guy for Aura (yes I know Logan is dead, but she still loved him dearly) and I'm glad that Aura stepped out of the darkness and saw the light burning in front of her. Together, they are the key characters needed to end the Shift, and together they find a way to fall in love even when they are living on opposite sides of the ocean.

Ireland has played a key part in all three books. Logan has Irish roots and plays in a Celtic band. And Ireland is birth place of the Shift. Smith-Ready captures the magic and lore of the Isle as well as the accents and manners of the Scots. The whole world is believable and scary and the minor characters light up the scene just as much as the ghosts do. I've found a new favourite author in Smith-Ready and I can't wait to see what other magic she has up her sleeve.

“His soul's fabric was weaving itself with mine. I loved the frayed ends where it came unraveled, and I loved the strength at its firm, solid center. I loved every thread.” 

Also, don't forget to nominate Logan and/or Zachary in this year's YA Crush Tourney

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