Shine Hardcover – May 1 2012
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About the Author
Jeri Smith-Ready is the author of the Shade trilogy for teens, and her adult novels include the WVMP Radio series for Pocket and the Aspect of Crow trilogy for Luna. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two cats, and a retired racing greyhound. Visit her at JeriSmithReady.com or on Twitter at @JSmithReady.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
My phone glowed bright in the dusk-drenched cemetery. But the words on its screen filled me with a dark, heavy dread.
FLIGHT 346: NO STATUS.
I reloaded the web page for my boyfriend Zachary’s flight, then forced myself to look away. Calm down, Aura. But the black-on-white words left an afterimage floating in my vision.
NO STATUS. Blink. NO STATUS. Blink. NO STATUS.
To obliterate the image, I focused on Logan’s headstone beside me. His birth and death dates were etched in granite, seventeen years and one day apart. But the stone would never mark the date and time most important to me and to everyone Logan had haunted.
June 22, nine p.m., when he’d passed on for good. Five minutes ago. After eight months as a ghost, Logan had finally found peace.
A feeling I wouldn’t share until this stupid airline’s flight-status page started making sense.
The silence was getting to me. On this hot, still evening, no breeze stirred the trees. The two violet-hued ghosts wandering among nearby graves didn’t speak to me, maybe mired in memories of their own lost loved ones.
I plugged my earbuds into my phone, which automatically started the music player. It shuffled to a Snow Patrol song Logan and I had always adored: “Make This Go On Forever.” For the year Logan was my boyfriend, and for the last three months when we were just friends, Snow Patrol was always our band.
“The final word in the final sentence you ever uttered to me was ‘love.’ ”
My throat lumped as I realized that lyric was true.
“Don’t forget me, okay?” Logan’s golden-white glow expanded, erasing the violet from his ghostly form.
I laughed, because it was ridiculous. “I’ll never forget you. I’ll never forget your voice or your face or your dumb jokes. And I’ll never forget your love.”
He’d hushed me then. I’d thought it was because I’d gotten too cheesy, but now I realized it was because this song lyric had come to life.
Logan filled the silence with one last “I love you, Aura.” Amid a final ethereal embrace, his light faded, then winked out.
It already seemed like hours ago. Fear was replacing the peace Logan had left behind. Staring at the phone screen that gave me no answers, I felt more alone than ever.
The bouquet of white roses I’d brought seemed to glow against his dark gray headstone. I pulled out a single bloom to keep for myself. A stray thorn scraped my palm, leaving a thin red stripe but no blood.
The song’s last, quiet chord seemed to call to the handful of stars appearing above. They were a pitiful showing compared to the silver-studded sky blanket Zachary and I had lain under last night.
Hmm. Our star-gazing field was only a half hour from this cemetery north of Baltimore. I longed to return to the field, to feel close to Zachary. But first I wanted to be sure his flight had taken off.
My voice mail alert bleeped. I sighed at Aunt Gina’s half-hour-old message. Why couldn’t she nag me via text like everyone else’s mom did?
The music stopped while her message played:
“Aura, it’s eight thirty. Don’t forget we’re getting up at five a.m. for your DMP interview, and we still need to go over what you’re going to tell them about Logan’s concert. I don’t want to be rehearsing in the car on the way to headquarters.”
“Fine.” I deleted the message and returned to the browser, which I refreshed again.
This time nothing happened. The status page for Zachary’s flight was now blank.
“Damn it!” My outburst drew the attention of the nearest ghost, a boy near my age wearing an old-fashioned high-school football uniform, the kind with leather helmets. Since ghosts are captured in the happiest moment of their lives, this guy could’ve been older than his apparent seventeen when he died. I imagined his “best day ever”—winning the state championship while his favorite cheerleader shook her pom-poms just for him.
The song switched to the swelling opening strains of Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start.” The drums slapped my brain and the guitar crunched my nerves.
Propelled by the music, my longing took on an edge. Zachary had been unofficially deported for causing trouble for the Department of Metaphysical Purity. We’d sworn to meet up in Ireland for our birthdays in December, in defiance of every obstacle. But I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever see him again.
Hell, I didn’t even know if his freaking plane had taken off. All I knew was that in the airport, he and Logan had met for the first and last time.
In a fresh browser window, I brought up the airline’s home page again, then thumbed in 346, Zachary’s flight connecting through London on his way to Glasgow, Scotland.
The site paused, searching, searching, searching. . . .
My grip on the phone grew slippery with sweat. I fidgeted with the seam of one of my worn black Skechers.
What was I worried about? Was I creeped out by the headstones’ lengthening shadows and the slow pacing of the ghosts? Like everyone in the world born after me, I’d lived with ghosts my whole life. They never scared me, unless they turned into the bitter, toxic versions of themselves known as shades, which were still pretty rare.
In the corner of my eye, something moved, dark and gray. I yelped and spun around, yanking out my earbuds. A squirrel skittered away to watch me from the top of a low-set headstone.
“I gotta get out of here,” I muttered. “This place is making me crazy.” Clearly, since I was now talking out loud to myself.
My phone buzzed, making my heart leap. Maybe it was Zachary with news about his flight.
But then it warbled the ring tone assigned to my best friend Megan. The screen said TIFFANY. I’d replaced my contact names with code versions after the DMP had confiscated my phone last week. Last night Zachary and I’d bought new phones, both red, to communicate solely with each other.
“Hey!” I answered. “Guess who I saw at the cemetery?” Everyone, including me, had thought Logan had passed on at his farewell concert two nights ago.
“Are you still there?” she blurted.
“I was about to leave. Gina’s bugging me to—”
“But you’re not driving now?”
“No,” I said impatiently. “Aren’t you gonna guess who I saw?”
“Aura . . . you don’t know, do you?”
“Know about what?” My laugh was nervous, even though Megan was known to go Maximum Drama over celebrity breakups and cafeteria gossip. “What happened?”
“You’re sure you’re not driving.”
She paused for the length of a shaky breath. “What was Zachary’s flight number?”
The world stopped. Even the nearby ghosts seemed to halt in their tracks.
“Why?” I whispered with what felt like my last exhale.
“It just came on the news. A London flight out of BWI. It took off at eight thirty and—it went down. Flight 346.”
My body went numb. My eyes fixed on a stranger’s grave across the lane. A pensive angel stared back from her perch on a rose-marble headstone.
“Aura? Are you there? Was that his flight?”
I could barely feel my lips part. “Uh-huh.”
“Oh my God.” The last word was a squeak.
I swallowed, ready to topple. “Did they—were there any—” The word “survivors” wouldn’t come.
“They’re saying there was an explosion. It came down in—” Her voice broke. “Aura, I’m sorry. It came down in pieces.”
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One of the many things that makes the Shade series so fantastic is the very honest and occasionally messy portrayal of teen characters. So often in YA fiction, issues get sanitized or glossed over. Neither SHINE nor the preceding books in this series shy away from the raw and emotional scenes that give these characters breath and life. There is nothing gratuitous about anything in this book, but when characters screw up, we see it. When they have to face the unpleasant consequences of their actions, we see it. Likewise when new experiences occur, we don't get the everything-is-perfect-right-away scene. We get the pain, the awkwardness, the shyness, which makes the whole thing more tender, more sweet.
How good is a book when you're already bemoaning the fact that it's the last one by the end of the first page? Expect emotions to run wild while reading SHINE. Outrage at the increasingly totalitarian actions taken by the DMP, exhilaration when Aura and Zach are finally reunited, grief filled heartache at last moments and remembered memories of Logan, bittersweet goodbyes, tragic losses, and hope so bright and shiny you can almost taste it. SHINE is everything I wanted it to be and more. I only wish it didn't have to end.
Very few YA series earn readers love so completely with a debut, fewer still take that love and fan it into a blaze of emotion so intense that it burns a permanent place in your heart. The Shade series does that. Every page is better than the last and SHINE is the almost painfully perfect ending to one of my all time favorite YA series. Make plans to hit the bookstore on May 1st. You won't regret it.
A non graphic sex scene, several implied sex scenes
I've never read a book with a love triangle in which I was a fan of both of the males in the triangle. Usually there is one that I am rooting for, and the other that I despised. I can't help but love both Logan and Zachary. At the end of Shift, Logan passed on, and I missed him terribly in Shine because I absolutely adore him. But his passing in Shift seemed perfect. And with Logan's passing, you would think that now Aura and Zach can finally be together? Nope, from the very first chapter of Shine, Aura has to fight for Zach.
I read the first chapter of Shine a few months ago when the author put it up on her website. The first chapter definitely starts out with a bang. Not wanting to spoil things, I prayed that no one would be so cruel to let something like that happen to Aura once again. I decided to have faith, and no the author wasn't that cruel. But as I previously mentioned Aura has to fight for Zach. She is put into a situation that no soon to be 18 year old should be faced with. Do you side with your country, or the man you love?
In Shade Aura is 16 and in Shine Aura turns 18. Aura is such a strong female. She has gone through so much in the past 2 years of her life, that it makes her very admirable. I know that I would never be able to handle all that she has in her young age. But what I most admire about her is that whatever is thrown at her, she throws it back just as hard without losing her morals.
As for Zachary there were numerous times that I just wanted to give him a hug in Shine. I was happy that he had Aura. Aura and Zach parallel each other in so many ways. But when they are together they are so strong. I was able to see their connection so strongly in Shine. I found myself smiling a lot at the scenes that they are together. I believed in their love, and was rooting for them.
I will miss the Shade series very much. Aura, Zach, and Logan were such a joy to read about. I hope that maybe one day the Shade trilogy could be turned into a movie.
Wow! What an emotional read! Ms. Smith-Ready has created a masterpiece of world-building peopled with remarkable and memorable characters. The combination of normal teen concerns juxtaposed with the global implications of the facts that are gradually uncovered through the three novels form a mesmerizing read. The author's sensitive handling of major life-changing events such as death, establishing intimate relationships and the temptations facing young adults as they mature makes this a storyline that will appeal to a wide breadth of readers. I was enthralled by the characters even as I ached for the turmoil that they were experiencing and certainly hope that there will be more titles in this enchanting series.
© Night Owl Review
A copy of this title was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Aura and Zachary do have their struggles, but they both go though it with strength and determination. We see the Keeley family their loss of Logan is still sad for them. Aura and Zachary are changed through their experiences.
I think that this series also introduces the reader to new bands and music. I loved that Aura still loves Logan , but also loved Zachary.
It was the perfect ending to the series. There are questions answered, and some amazing scenes.
Best Line: Because I'm stupid. A kilt's like lingerie to you American lasses, isn't it ?
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