Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 448 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Nikki Kill (#1)

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.  
- from Goodreads

Jennifer Brown is currently my favourite contemporary YA author and I was wildly looking forward to this, her new book. However, I am at a loss how to rate this book and we'll see what I come up with after writing this review. The main female character, Nikki Kill has synesthesia which is cool, but otherwise, she is a vile, angry, selfish, unlikeable character for the entire book. Supposedly she hates the privileged self-centred kids from a very elite rich family but she has the very same qualities she dislikes in them. She has major authority issues, having no respect and outright disdain for all adults from her dad, to the cops to teachers. Her general attitude to each being "blah, blah, blah shut up talking so I can get out of here and do what I want." She has sex the first second she can with a character she knows is potentially dangerous. She is a high school student and there is sexual tension between her and the cop investigating the crime which is seriously creepy, perverted and downright unethical. Nikki jumps into dangerous situations and the reader has to completely suspend disbelief to think the situations happen even in the fictional world of a book. Not one single character is likable in the book, so I didn't care who died, who was guilty, who got accused, who went to jail, etc.

So, after all that, did I hate the book? Well, no, not capital "H" hate. At the 60% point, I knew I was invested and would have to finish the book. This isn't up to par with Brown's previous books in which I've always fallen for, or at least been emotionally attached to, the characters. Big let down, though.


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