Title: Shade Me
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: Nikki Kill Series
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Published: January 19th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)The summary of Shade Me from Goodreads:
Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.
Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.
The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?
As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.
Shade Me is award-winning author Jennifer Brown’s first book in a thrilling suspense series about Nikki Kill.
Honestly, when I read the words “thrilling suspense series,” I got nervous. I thought the premise of the book was unique, but I was worried it wouldn’t hold up to the “thrilling suspense” talked about in the summary. Fortunately, the book definitely lived up to those words.
I’m a sucker for a good mystery novel. I love being lost in the twists and turns that leave me confused and wondering just how everything will be unraveled. Shade Me does a good job of weaving stories around until you think you know the answers of how people are involved, only to find that a different breadcrumb changes the answers.
The idea of synesthesia being used as a tool to uncover elements of the mystery that no one else could see was fascinating. It definitely added another layer to the story because Nikki could see more parts of the story than other people could. She could see more, but she didn’t always understand what she was seeing and how it connected the little pieces of the mystery.
While I usually get frustrated when there are so many questions and only a few of them get answered, I didn’t mind in this book. I felt like those questions were important ones for Nikki to ask, but she wasn’t entirely ready for the answers yet. They’re too much that could change in her world if she suddenly had all the answers. There were enough answers to wrap up the novel, but there’s still enough for the series to work with.
The characters were also interesting. I liked how no one was what they seemed, including Nikki. She’s been trying to handle her synesthesia, but she hasn’t had an easy time of it. She’s developed trust issues stemming from how people react or believe the truth of her diagnosis.
Every character has a facade and the truth. I don’t think we’ve seen the whole truth in the characters yet and I love that.
The absent parent. I kind of blame Disney for this, in a way. I get that her father’s absence served a greater purpose, but I just don’t enjoy the trend where parents just don’t seem to care what their children get up to.
I think the series has promise. Shade Me does a fantastic job of introducing a greater mystery while at the same time solving a smaller mystery within the confines of the novel. It’s not the most complex mystery, but it has enough twists and turns, as well as layer characters, to keep me turning page after page.
I even read the book while working out. Usually when I exercise, I just focus on how much I hate what I’m doing, so for the book to take away all those feelings and just let me focus on the words and the story really demonstrates how involved I was in the book.
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Thank you to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegan Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.