Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: The Pace by Shelena Shorts

Title:  The Pace
Author:  Shelena Shorts
Publisher:  Lands Atlantic
Genre: YA (romance)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN:  0982500505
Weston Wilson is not immortal and he is of this world. But, aging is not part of his existence, and eighteen-year-old Sophie Slone is determined to find out why. In doing so, she could also uncover something about her own life expectancy that she may not want to know. Suddenly, immortality will mean everything and nothing all at the same time.
Intensely fascinating and rich with determination, The Pace brings together romance, mystery, and suspense in a compelling bond that is sure to have readers asking for more.  (cover photo from, summary from

Overall rating: 7/10 flowers
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The Pace is a romantic YA novel with a sci-fi/paranormal twist.  Wes and Sophie’s love story is one that seems to defy time, and it is difficult not to find yourself intrigued by their relationship.  This book is the first in a trilogy, and I look  forward to finding out where Sophie and Weston’s future leads them.

What I Liked:
-     The premise of this series is interesting and has a lot of romantic potential.  It is difficult to say much without revealing too many spoilers, so I’ll just say that their relationship and connection to one another is unique and intriguing. 
-     Sophie and Weston share several very sweet moments.  Their relationship has a soul mate quality to it that isn’t based on lust or casual interest.  It also has an innocence and a timelessness that I found compelling.
-     The heartbreaking portions of their love story are genuinely heart-wrenching & I found myself reading through tears a few times.
-     Sophie and Weston have a lot in common with Bella and Edward.  Not only is Weston strikingly handsome and wealthy, but he has supernatural qualities and is protective, chivalrous, restrained, and sincere in a way that your average 19 year boy generally is not.  Sophie shares Bella’s introspective nature and has a fairly unsocial disposition.   She also just moved to town, has an unconventional relationship with her mom, is defined by her selflessness, and seems to be a bit of a danger-magnet.  Plus Weston and Sophie’s romance is of the soul mate variety & poses potentially devastating risks to both of them. 
-       Some of the differences between Sophie and Bella were among my favorite aspects of this book.  She demands answers from Weston on a few occasions & is ready to break off the relationship when she suspects he is lying to her.  Her reaction to heartbreak is also different from Bella’s in a way that I liked.
-       This story is not driven by a love triangle.  (I don’t mean to imply that I dislike love triangles, but sometimes the ‘love of a lifetime’ kind of romance is nice too & The Pace is that type of love story.)
-     I liked that Sophie is attending an online high school.  It fits the story and her situation well, and I loved seeing  non-traditional schooling represented accurately and positively.  Sophie is intelligent and responsible, and the online high school seems an excellent choice for her.

What I Wished:
-     At times, Sophie’s narration seemed too distant from the emotional content of the scene.  In those moments, I felt as though she was clinically describing the details of a scene rather than living within the scene.  Basically, I wanted more showing & less telling.
-      I was pleased with the suspenseful nature of the last couple pages of the book & satisfied with the conclusion, but I was not a fan of the final plot twist that led to that conclusion.  It felt contrived & too coincidental to me.  Then again, the idea of destiny is vital to this series, so perhaps the coincidental nature of that twist is tied to fate.   I’m hoping that the second book in the series will successfully convince me of that last twist’s plausibility.
-      As I’ve mentioned, several aspects of this story are reminiscent of Twilight (including many that I didn’t describe in detail here to avoid sharing significant spoilers).  In some ways, those plot & character similarities contributed to my enjoyment of The Pace, but it was also a bit distracting to find myself inadvertently drawing lots of comparisons as I read.  I hope more differences will become apparent as the series continues.   Thankfully, I suspect that the second book, The Broken Lake, will not remind me nearly so much of Twilight because the challenges confronting Sophie and Weston by the end of The Pace are quite different from those Bella and Edward faced. 

The Pace will appeal to hopeful romantics who enjoy soul mate stories.  The premise is intriguing and will leave readers looking forward to discovering where Sophie and Weston’s future leads them in the next two books.  Fans of YA romances like Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver will want to check out The Pace.  If you want to learn more about this trilogy or about debut author, Shelena Shorts, please visit the series’ website or the author’s website.  I loved the Secondhand Serenade songs on Shelena’s playlist for The Pace and felt they were remarkably appropriate for Sophie and Wes.  The second book in this trilogy, The Broken Lake, which will be released in August  is already available to pre-order on Amazon. 

Side note:  The Bookologist is currently hosting a  prize pack giveaway for The Pace.  You can enter to win that contest here.  (ends 3/31)