ARC Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Title: Shade Me
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: Nikki Kill #1
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date:  January 19th 2016
Pages: 448
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
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.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

  I had been so interested in this book from the moment that I first read its synopsis. I mean, a girl who sees the world in colors? I've never heard of such a thing before! On top of that, it's not just an ordinary contemporary romance novel, but a contemporary mystery novel! I was intrigued!

  Nikki Kill was living life normally when one day she receives call from the police asking her to identify a Jane Doe who only has her number in her contacts. Turns out Jane Doe is actually Peyton Hollis, daughter of famous producer Bill Hollis. Nikki wants to just forget everything that happened, but she can't get things out of her head. Why was she the only contact on Peyton's phone? She just had to find out, so she started investigations of her own. What she will find out is completely unexpected.

  I won't pretend to know much about mystery novels because I rarely ever read them, but I thought that the mystery in this novel was really good. I was really hooked in the mystery. So hooked, in fact, that it had me turning the pages so quick and my blood pumping. I wanted to know everything as soon as possible, and it got me out of my reading slump because I just had to know. I was really surprised by the turn of events. It was not predictable, although it still kind of made sense. Well, not really if I think of it in terms of happening in real life, but it did, in terms of the story.

  So if I liked the mystery so much, then why am I not giving this book a higher rating? While I was really hooked on the mystery, I found myself skipping most paragraphs of narratives because I felt like I just couldn't be bothered to read them. A lot of them didn't feel important to me, and so I just skipped over them. That is a problem for me, because when I read mysteries I usually want to read every word for the fear of missing something, but with this book I actually didn't mind that much. And I just can't give a high rating to a book that can't compel me to read everything.

  Another thing is that I was slightly annoyed with Nikki's actions. I mean, she was just so reckless at times and clearly looking for trouble. Even after she suspected Dru of something, she still didn't stay away from him, and I just can't believe her! It's not like they had a relationship before either! They just met recently, and I just find it hard to believe that she would let lust instead of fear cloud her mind in those moments. I don't know, it just felt unrealistic and stupid for me.

  At the end of the day, however, I really liked the main idea of this story. I liked the plot - except of Nikki's stupidity - and I definitely liked the mystery. It's clearly well thought of. And although this is not a hardcore mystery where there are many clues left and I would try to "solve the mystery" on my own, this was just exactly what I needed to read to pull me out of my slump.

3.5 page-turning stars

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