Publication Date: January 19th, 2016
Series: Nikki Kill (bk. 1)
Genera(s): Contemporary Thriller
Subjects: mystery, crime, mental disorders, abilities, synesthesia, musicians
Setting: Brentwood, California
POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Nikki Kill
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 441 pgs.
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegen
Summary/ product description: “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.”
My Review: Shade Me is a unique crime mystery. The main character has synesthesia. Every number, letter and emotion has a unique color to her. When Nikki gets a call from a classmate in trouble, and then a call from the hospital, she wonders why was she the one called? What does the famous Payton Hollis have to do with her? Payton was beaten to the edge of death and is in a coma. Nikki starts to dig into the mystery of who attacked Payton and why would she have a phone with only her number on it.
Nikki is a really awesome main character. The way she describes her synesthesia is really cool. Her synesthesia has been a problem most of her life, though. In school is distracted her. Math and English class especially. In high school it’s affecting her Chemistry grade the worst. To Nikki, 3’s and E’s are purple and she gets them confused. 0 is black, 1 is brown, 2 is pink, 3 is purple, 4 is silver…ect. Words have unique colors from the separate letters. Fear is bumpy gray and brown, danger is sparkly white. It’s really amazing how the author came up with all of this. She must have made a color list to keep track of everything so Nikki’s synesthesia is consistent.
Her synesthesia makes her unique, but she’s also a black belt in tae-kwon-do. She’s really kick-ass at it. I was in tang-soo-do for a few years and only made it to high blue belt (next would be brown, high brown and then black). I love how dedicated she is to her martial art classes. It’s such a cooler sport than cheerleading or soccer. Self-defense is important, but Nikki is sometime on offense in this book. My sensei would have never approved of her risky behavior.
The other characters in the book are pretty well thought out. Nikki’s dad is a photographer, and very lenient. He doesn’t punish her or ground her for getting bad grades or skipping school. The Hollis family is messy. Dru is Peyton’s brother and bit of a player. He and Nikki get romantically involved, but he’s also a suspect in the attack. Luna, their half-sister, is a total bi-otch, Peyton-wannabe. Their father is a movie director and a jerk. His wife isn’t that great either. There’s also Detective Martinez, who’s investigating the attack. He’s kind of young and helps Nikki. Nikki keeps her own investigation a secret mostly. No one but her dad and a counselor know about her synesthesia.
Shade me is a thrilling mystery and I recommend it to fans of YA mysteries about crime, such as Dangerous Lies and Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick. The Masked Truth by Kelly Armstrong, No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale, Clarity by Kim Harris.
Cover Art Review: Simple and cool. Love the colorful type treatment. Kind of don’t like the girl’s face though.