Shade -- her first young-adult book -- is available in bookstores and online today, and it's a hell of a read. Picture this: Ghosts are real, and suddenly, they're commonplace and visible... but only to kids aged 16 and younger -- people born after a mysterious moment dubbed "the Shift." For this new generation, the world is very different, and immeasurably more complicated. Especially when your boyfriend dies and comes back as a ghost. Is it okay to start seeing other flesh-and-blood people?
And -- well, look, Jeri's put up a description on her website that says it better than I could, and, more importantly, gives away only the plot points she wants given away. So let me just say that the premise of the book, where no one over a certain age can see ghosts -- is a deft allegory for how all generations see the world differently from the ones that precede them. The story isn't about this generation gap -- it's a more personal story than that -- but it takes place in a world with a chasm that separates young from old more efficiently than technology, the way we do it in our world. (No, I don't have a Tumblr account.) In Shade, nature has made that divide crystal clear, and, as ever, parents just don't understand.
I've read all of Jeri's books, and this is my favorite. Jeri writes with confidence and charm, and opens a new world to us where death is not the end, but only teens can see what's next. (Shade also got a fantastic review from Publisher's Weekly. I don't think a direct link to the review is available online, so Jeri's reprinted it on her site. If you need a convincer, it'll do the job nicely.)
P.S. Had a great time at Lady Jane's Salon last night, where Jeri read from Shade, along with Christina Britton Conroy, who read from One Man's Music, and Leanna Renee Heiber, who gave a delightful reading of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, a Victorian haunted romance that promises a lot of spooky, proper fun. Also, we hung out in a glass room full of comfyness, including leopard-print beanbag chairs, with some of Jeri's other friends -- one of whom I'm blanking on her name* (beer was involved, and it's best not to guess), and the other of whom a check of Twitter reveals is Kate Milford, whose debut novel The Boneshaker hits the shelves in three weeks, and looks phenomenal. Congratulations to you, too, Kate.
*UPDATE: Thanks to Twitter, I was able to find out/confirm her name, too, and it's what I'd have guessed -- Julie! Although there's no reason for you to believe me. But the fact is, I has considered doing a little parenthetical John Edwardy type thing (not schtupping a woman who's not my wife, that's John Edwards with an S; I mean the cold-reader phony-baloney "psychic"). So I would have been all, like, "I'm getting a "J" and hope that someone would chime in with Julie, and then I'd say "Yes, Julie, I knew it all along." I was like 85% Julie, 12% Judy. And 3% Yuengling, but that was the beer talkin'.