Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 19, 2016
Series: Nikki Kill #1
Genres: Young Adult, mystery, Suspense
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
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 the first book in the young adult mystery and suspense thriller, Nikki Kill series. Nikki sees emotions as different colors. It is a phenomenon known as synesthesia, and I find it completely fascinating. I have read a few magical books where witches or the like have an ability that is similar to synesthesia, but it was really very interesting to see Nikki in a more contemporary/mystery suspense setting with this ability. I found Shade Me to be a really fun ride of a read. The mystery was kept me interested and engaged until the very end. I didn’t always love the characters, but I did like them, and with as action packed of a plot, liking them was more than enough for me.
Nikki is the main character, and I can see where she would feel completely overwhelmed by her synesthesia. That has to be like sensory overload. Which could account for why I sometimes found Nikki to be a bit too brash. Even so, I was really into her using and interpreting all the colors and emotions around her as clues. It made for a very interesting detective hunt, while she tried to piece together what happened with Peyton.
What I dug most of all about Shade Me was the creepy atmosphere. It reminded me of Sin city. (That was how I pictured it anyway.) All black and white with pops of color. Very crime noir. Jennifer Brown did a great job creating a suspenseful atmosphere. There were a few bumps that I had, but without spoiling anything, I will just leave it at that. Nothing major though, and nothing that took away from my overall enjoyment of the story too much. I still very much would like to continue the Nikki Kill series. Now that I know some of the secrets of the story, I am even more interested to see where Jennifer Brown is going to take us in the next book.
Bottom line: if you like suspense/mysteries and you love the flair of seeing emotions, this is a really interesting and pretty well done mystery.
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