Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shift - a book review, or Ghost Adventurers Gone Wild

Shift (The Shade Trilogy)
Jeri Smith-Ready
400 pages

It's been several months since I updated this blog and by proxy, a few months since I've read Shift. It's been almost a year since I read Shade. After finishing Shade I also stopped blogging for a few months. In both those times spans I also stopped reading young adult fiction.

This is not a coincidence.

If you have short term memory loss, as I do, you might remember that I didn't like Shade all that much. I even coined the term coitus spectrophilia (sex with ghosts) to describe it, and I believe I invoked The Holy Jerry Seinfeld "Ehhh. I'm out." quote.

So why the hate for The Shade Trilogy?

The very first book in the Shade series is about a girl trying to fuck her boyfriend (he's a ghost). The first part of this book--the sequel to Shade--is about the same girl trying to fuck her ex-boyfriend who is still a ghost but only sometimes. BUT it turns out ghost-fucking is hard, because you can't touch ghosts, so fucking them is a little difficult (also, said ghost has abs and a button-up shirt that's always open).

I have never had a complete "fuck this book" moment until Shift (and I have read the collected works of Ayn Rand). I am sure some of you are saying "But Adam, we need examples..." WELL BABY I GOTS EXAMPLES.
"Since ghosts are frozen in the happiest time of their lives, a lot of men appear in sports or military uniforms--or nothing at all. At least this one was wearing socks."
This is about the time I threw my Kindle in the microwave (I would've used the popcorn setting had this really happened). To further expand upon the quote: in this book people who die are frozen in time as ghosts--they appear as they were in the happiest moment of their lives.* Which explains the open shirtness, ab-ness of previously said Fuckable Ghost.

So let's examine--in nifty list form!--why this one part offended me oh so badly (Please note: this is only one example).
  • Not all men like sports.
  • Not all men like sex.
  • Not all men's happiest moments happened in bed or in battle.
  • You are generalizing men in the worst possible way.
  • You are generalizing girls in the worst possible way.

So wait wait wait wait is what you're saying at this point. It can't be that bad. You're making mountains out of molehills, Adam (I hate this third person speak I started writing in). LET ME BREAK DOWN THE CHARACTERS IN THIS FUCKING BOOK:

  • Logan - He died after taking cocaine. (He took cocaine so he could bang his girlfriend Aura).
  • Zachary - He just wants to bang Aura. (He even sets up a special date for her to lose her V-card).
  • Dylan - Wants to fuck Aura. (He's 16 but has banged sooooo many girls).
  • Aura - Our female lead, who, well, just wants to fuck three different dudes.
  • Logan's Other Brother - I remember nothing about this character.

The only male character who isn't out to game some ass is Zach's dad.

This is a serious book? This is what this author thinks about boys? And girls? This is the impression given to teenagers who read this book? I find this offensive. I never underline sentences. But here we are.

It seems the YA genre has gone in an opposite direction recently; it's gone anti-male, and it's something I've ignored up until this point. It's been pushing more boys away than its drawn in. The audience is predominately female now. It's gone rogue in the worst possible way. It's come to the point where reading these kinds of books is seen as girly. It's become a problem, and Shift has added to it.

I don't intend to touch on the plot of this YA novel any further. Or to delve into the topics I'm touching on here (someone else with better writing skills should attempt to articulate what I'm feeling). If I did it would look something like this:

It goes on to the absurd at one point: Aura, out to get some tail herself, is tasked with picking between a ghost, a Scot, and a 16-year-old. Throw in the popular girl and the best friend; everyone wants to fuck one another. Teenage romance has never been so polyamorous.

If you enjoyed this book? It isn't a bad judgement on you. I need readers to understand this: there is no such thing as a bad book. I honestly believe it. And Shift is not horrible. There is a such thing as an insulting book, though. And in this regard Shift is awful.

Basically, if I wanted to read a trashy romance novel I'd get one while I'm at the grocery store.

One Out of Five Fucks Given

Side Note:  Jerry Smith-Ready is not a terrible writer; I just don't jive with her male characters. I find them awful and generalized, if I were to ever meet her I would want to sit and talk to her about it. I would probably ask "So, you think having a penis means wanting to bang everything?"

87 comments:

  1. YA isn't a genre, though, it's a target audience. But the rest of the points here stand pretty well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, people keep correcting me on this, but I keep forgetting the distinction. You say it's a target audience, I say it's a genre. This might be a WTFF post. And yes, I am responding almost a year later. I was stuck in traffic for a bit.

      Delete
  2. Also, it sounds like this book is trying to move beyond the "girls as objects only acted upon by men's desires" trope, which is super damaging. I'm teaching middle school now, and the most common label thrown at girls to get them in line is "slut." Girls have desires and should be allowed to act on them in the same manner as boys without damagin binary labels like a virgin/whore dynamic or the sluts vs studs labels. Sarah Dessen's latest novel manages this really well. I would applaud the ghost book write for the attempt, although it sounds like it fell very flat in the execution.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Welcome back Adam. Hilarious review as always.

    While I can't say that I completely agree...I can definitely see where you are coming from. The third book in this series was my least favorite by far. You definitely do not want to read Shine. If the first two books caused you to take a lengthy break...you would call it quits all together after Shine.

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  4. Ghost Adventurers Gone Wild is a great book. Other than the outrageous premise of a ghost coming back to help solve problems, the plot was great! Always exciting, quick-moving, keeps your interest, many twists and turns..... Love this series!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Shift was just an okay read for me. The concept is unique and I love the paranormal element of the storyline. The writing was fast paced and full of suspense. However this time I felt that there was too much relationship drama and it annoyed me to the point I thought about giving it up. Just when you thought things would settle down with Aura and her love life and new problem would appear and completely overwhelm the story.

    ReplyDelete
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