Wow. Let me just say I was not expecting this when I started Shift. Honestly I only read it because my reading pile was empty. But once I started it, I was hooked.
Olive was popular, beautiful, fun, and bubbly, but when her dad left because of her suicide attempt, it all spiraled downhill. Suddenly Olive has a new life and is shunned, teased, and bullied by everyone including her ex-best friend, popular girl Katie. Only Ami sticks with her...but htere's something about her that's different. Something Olive never expected...
Newbie Miranda Vaile comes to town, niece of crazy Loony Oona and she's fresh meat for the vultures of high school. Yet somehow, she pushes everyone away and becomes Katie's best friend and confidant...but something creepy is happening because just as Miranda's looking more and more like Katie every day, Katie's becoming paler, sicker, and tired by the minute. Everyone isn't noticing it though, and soon enough Olive starts to doubt just what is real. Becuase, when you're going crazy yourself, who's to know what's real and what's not? Even when you know what's going on.
Em Bailey masterfully blurs the line between reality and imagination. I swear, there was not one time I was sure if what Olive saw and discovered was real or not! Em wrote beautifully, the prose leaning into paranormal then falling back into reality. The creep factor is high and I think that if anyone read this entirely at night...you'd definitely dream about it. Maybe not bad enough for a nightmare, but it will definitely leave an impression on its reader.
Olive was a great protagonist. Because of her problems, you, like I said, could never tell what was reality and what was her mind. I mean, Miranda would mouth words that Katie had said mere seconds later, act like Katie, dress like Katie, and slowly start to look like her. And even htough Olive suspected Miranda to be a shapeshifter, I couldn't be sure. Especially with what Miranda makes Olive realise. What was mind-blowing, though, was the fact that the most obvious things were the things that surprised me the most. When there was a twist, I would think "what? That's not possible!" But the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many hints were pointing at it.
There was romance! I know! I wasn't expecting it, but when the romance came I was pleasantly surprised! THe love interest was sweet and understanding and this was one romance where I loved the guy being kind and not mischevious and bad. The apocalypse is coming, isn't it? But yeah. Lachlan was just ADORABLE and I loved him!