CBCA's Notable Australian Children's Books for Older Readers 2012
"There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even arrived at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And the second? They were dead because Miranda had killed them." Olive Corbett is definitely not crazy. Not any more. These days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with. She doesn't need a boyfriend.
Especially not a lifesaver-type with nice eyes and a broad back. And she doesn't need the drama of that creepy new girl Miranda trying to make it with her ex-friends. But then, against all odds, Miranda does make it with them. Or she best-friends one of them and makes the others go away. As Miranda emerges from the shadows, Olive begins to realise something sinister going is on. Something almost...parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or those crazy rumours are true. Maybe Miranda is a killer. But who would believe Olive? She does have a habit of letting her imagination run away with her...Shift is a sinister psychological thriller that tears through the themes of identity, loss and toxic friendship.
About The Author
This is the first YA novel from Em Bailey, also known as established Australian children's author Meredith Badger. She has written for the Go Girl and Zac Power series, as well as the Fairy School Drop-out and Tweenie Genie trilogies.
The intriguing plot points and themes on offer here could easily power several novels; frustratingly, none is fully developed. Olive Corbett, the mentally fragile, unreliable narrator, dresses bizarrely and mutters to herself. A social outcast at her Australian high school, she takes refuge in the music of an indie band, Luxe, to drown out feelings of guilt for her father's departure and her brother's nightmares. The arrival of new student Miranda Vaile, rumored to have killed her parents, is a welcome distraction. Lackluster Miranda is inexplicably taken up by Olive's former best friend and A-list queen bee, Katie, whom Miranda dominates, then eclipses. Meanwhile, despite her issues, Olive's pursued by hunky Lachlan Ford, who ignores behavior that would give most boys pause. Following a plot twist that won't surprise alert readers, the school setting all but disappears as Miranda pursues an obsessive friendship with Olive. The untidy plot leaves a plethora of loose ends. Did Olive take refuge in mental illness to escape her popular-girl persona and make a fresh start? Why does Miranda choose Olive? Is Miranda a parasitical shapeshifter? (The prospect of celebrity shapeshifters who use their status to stoke jealousy and draw power from sycophantic, wannabe victims presents rich possibilities that remain largely unexplored.) If the pacing is too leisurely for suspense, sheer inventiveness should keep readers turning pages in this debut for teens that serves up half a delicious meal. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)
Audience: Teenager / Young Adult
For Ages: 14+ years old
Published: 1st September 2011
Publisher: Hardie Grant Books
Dimensions (cm): 15.5 x 23.6 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.43