Review Blog

Sep 05 2011

Shift by Em Bailey

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Egmont, 2011. ISBN 978 1921564390.
(Ages: 12+) Thriller. Recommended. A new girl at school, Miranda,catches the attention of Olive and her friend, Ami, as the rumours fly that she has killed both her parents. The rumour seems odd however, when the girl herself is so dreary and thin, quiet and mousey, until she latches onto Olive's former best friend, Katie. Olive and Ami notice with suspicion that the once vibrant, vivacious Katie, the centre of attention, begins to pale in comparison with her new friend, Miranda. So much so, that Olive is most concerned, Katie looks thin and emaciated, she seems lost in the background, and then when she is admitted to hospital, Olive is devastated. All the while hints are made about Olive's own state, as the hospital where Katie now resides is also the hospital Olive was once in.
Katie's death is the catalyst for Miranda to begin to move in on Olive, and Ami's voice keeps warning her that she is a shapeshifter, one adept at taking over other people, just as she did with Katie. Lachlan too, warns Olive to stay away form Miranda, but the lure is compelling, as Miranda has become friendly with Dallas, the singer in a band whom Olive likes.
A well written horror story, Shift will have readers eagerly staying until the end of the book, following the exploits of Miranda as she plies her villainous tricks upon the school cohort. Behind it all is the boy who has shown interest in Olive, but who Olive keeps at arm's length, lest she reveal too much of her background. Cleverly, the author deals with some bigger issues, teen suicide, anorexia, bullying and the breakup of families, but not in a slavish manner, wanting this to be an issue book, but rather as the background to a well written and chilling thriller.
Fran Knight

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