Nikki has synesthesia, a rare condition that causes her to see colors that indicate emotions. She's had a hard time because sometimes the colors take over and keep her from doing her schoolwork or other things she needs to do.
Nikki gets a strange phone call from the school's rich, prima donna, Peyton Hollis, who she doesn't even really know. Peyton asks for help and then the call abruptly ends. Peyton turns up in a hospital severely beaten and unconscious. The only number in her phone was Nikki's, and Nikki doesn't understand why.
So Nikki gets wrapped up in trying to figure out who did this to Peyton, even though they weren't friends. Nikki's synesthesia supposedly helps her figure out clues, but I really didn't get that part. I don't think this condition has much to do with the story, except that (I can't say; it's a spoiler.) I didn't mind that this was a part of Shade Me, but I think the same story could have been just as effective without it. And that's not what made me start skimming.
About halfway through Shade Me, Nikki discovers the place where Peyton was beaten, and Peyton's car is hidden there. The police don't know. Nikki decides not to tell the police, even though she has a relationship with the detective working the case. Not only that, but she contaminates the scene with her fingerprints and meddling. I just couldn't handle this stupidity. I know it served the story, but who was Nikki to think she was better equipped to find the perpetrator than the police? It ticked me off and really made me want to throw the book. So I started skipping and skimming, because I had to know what happened, but wasn't really invested any more.
And while there is a sometimes surprising and circuitous route to get to the end of Shade Me, it wasn't a big surprise. And I don't think Brown intended it to be. The other surprises were more important.
There's a lot of action and I think teens will have an easy time with Shade Me. If you are a fan of Brown, I wouldn't hesitate to pick this one up.
Published by Katherine Tegen, January 19, 2016
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
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