Monday, August 10, 2009


There’s something supremely satisfying about reading a novel set during a blizzard—satisfying, that is, if the place you’re living in is currently 114 degrees outside. To a desert dweller in summer, a blizzard sounds like a delicious escape. Not so for the characters in Shimmer by Dallas Reed. A blizzard has them trapped in the tiny mountain town of Winter, Colorado, and unfortunately evil has been unwittingly released, so it’s not just the snow threatening the lives of the local teens.

It all begins at Justin’s party. When Tess, the queen of the Cools, opens a strange box she’s been warned not to touch, a swarm of shimmery moth-like creatures emerges, enveloping Tess and sending the party goers scrambling for cover. Tess was a mean girl before; now she’s positively evil. Whatever has possessed her quickly spreads through the population. Soon the entire town of Winter is behaving like lunatics, all of them motivated by one of the seven deadly sins. Justin, his budding love interest,Emma, and Emma’s best friend, Betina, find themselves running for their lives when a mob of their fellow classmates tries to gain possession of the box, or the “vessel” as the obviously possessed Tess now calls it. These kids are willing to kill for the box, and Emma knows she can’t let them have it—or something worse will come to pass. In the meantime, working class teen, Russ, who is secretly crushing on Emma, and his best friend, Kit, are fighting their own battles for survival. Eventually their paths meet, but will any of them escape the craziness spreading like a plague through their town?

Shimmer is action-packed and plot-driven with a touch of romance. I’d call this low-gore horror. There’s some blood but it’s not over the top in its description. The novel probably won’t win any literary prizes but it moves along at a fast clip and keeps the reader guessing about who will and who won’t survive. The book has a very cinematic feel. I could easily see it being turned into a movie. If you like Shimmer, the author has another novel in the works from HarperTeen. The Calling looks like it’s about demons. Sounds cool to me.

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