Thursday, 24 April 2014

Review: Shift by Jeff Povey

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: April 24th, 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Amazon summary:

Get ready for one apocalyptic detention. These misfits are going to save the world! Meet Rev, Billie, the Ape, Johnson, GG, Carrie, the Moth and Lucas, a motley crew of bickering teens who find themselves totally alone in the world after a strange power surge hits their classroom during detention. With no answers as to why or how the rest of the world has disappeared, the mismatched group is soon facing a bigger nightmare than they could ever imagine… Standing between them and the only way home are lethal duplicate versions of themselves, super powered teenagers who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Our unlikely heroes must somehow work together to save themselves… or they'll never see home again.


Shift is like the TV show Misfits, but better. It instantly hooked me and raced along at breakneck speed for all three-hundred pages. The dialogue is snappy and witty, the characters are all likeable and the action is relentless. It actually reminded me of Sophie McKenzie's Medusa Project series, which is also fast-paced and overflowing with energy. Shift is a much-needed change of pace in the world of YA fiction and has the added bonus of appealing to boys and girls. There's something here for everyone!

Rev, Carrie, The Ape, Lucas, Billie, Johnson, The Moth and GG are a group of teenagers thrown together in detention. They couldn't be more different if they tried, and obviously they'd never all be friends if they didn't need to be. A strange power surge hits their school and suddenly they find themselves alone - everyone else has disappeared and they're the only ones left. Well, they think they are, until deadly duplicate versions of themselves start appearing and try to kill them. Just your average, run-of-the-mill trip to detention!

The premise of Shift is so cool and yet terrifying at the same time. I mean, how weird would it be to see another version of yourself, all suped-up and enhanced? I don't know about anyone else but it'd freak me out, no questions asked. The gang all deal with their doppelgängers fairly well; no-one faints or attempts to leave the country, though it does take them a realistic amount of time to wrap their heads around it. I'm glad they didn't immediately accept their new situation and go on with life as normal, 'cos who would believe that?!

There are a lot of main characters in Shift, eight to be exact, and then *another* set of those characters, making a total of sixteen people to keep track of. I'll admit it did confuse me sometimes, especially with all the duplicates having the same names. As an example, they're differentiated by being called Ape (real) and Non-Ape (duplicate), which didn't really help with my confusion but is something I got used to eventually. This is my only criticism really, because it did make my head spin every now and then, especially during certain high-octane action scenes.

Each character has different qualities that they bring to the table, from strength to intelligence to plain old cunning. If I had to choose a favourite I'd have to go with Johnson, though I'm still deciding between normal Johnson and doppelgänger Johnson. It's a tough decision! I'm also quite fond of GG and The Ape who, along with the other six teens, are about as different from each other as you can get. But together, well, these eight misfits make one formidable team!

Shift is a very welcome addition to today's shelves of YA fiction and is the start of what could prove to be an excellent, long-lasting series. Once you start it you won't want to stop until everything has been explained and revealed, leaving you wanting more straight away. I think the second book is due later in 2014 and I hope it's just as good as this!

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