Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

SHIFT by Em Bailey

Em Bailey’s novel Shift has an interesting premise that sucked me into her dark world several times. I liked her character and the fact that Olive has had problems and is trying to get right with her world again, and the fact that she is having trouble fitting into her life no matter what she does. She’s a good character to read about.

I also really liked the premise of the novel, how it focused on the social networking teens do in school. The way that the author yanks that sense of vindication away from her readers (by at first playing up the payback button because we quickly learn to despise the first victim in this story) by making her more human than we expected was nicely done. I even felt a little guilty about not liking her and for not seeing there was more to her.

The book’s setup is well done and flowed right along, but somehow it didn’t seem to take the story long to become slow and circuitous. Where the first half of the book seemed to be entertaining and inventive, filled with nice touches, the last half of the book just seemed to drag. Almost like the novel had finished early and the author had to add pages to get it up to the word limit.

Teens may enjoy the romance angle in the story, but I felt like it was almost hammered in as an afterthought because it would be the focus of the story for a little while, then would practically disappear. It was very uneven for me.

There was some nice reveal stuff done with Olive’s backstory, and with her younger brother Toby. Some of it I could see coming, but for teens not already versed with a lot of fiction, the surprises will still work well.

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