Review: THE ME YOU SEE, by Shay Ray Stevens

UnknownA true fact: I am a bad friend to many of my fellow independent authors.  Why is that? Because I am horrible about reading stuff on my Kindle, and the majority of us publish our work as ebooks.  The fact that my own books are not yet available in print has not changed this behavior.   Now, for what it’s worth, I’m generally pretty good about buying people’s books– I’m just godawful about reading them, which I think many ebook authors would argue is sorta the point.

I am, furthermore (and this puts me into “bad person” territory as opposed to “idiosyncratic about technology”) somewhat paranoid about Amazon and their Evil Algorithms, and some of y’all have reviewed my books over there– which, grossly, means that I’m less likely to review yours, because I’m worried that Amazon is going to pull both of our reviews once they realize what has happened.

But!  I told myself that I was bringing my Kindle, and only my Kindle, with me on the trip to Michigan this weekend, and I read me a mess of ebooks over the weekend.  So expect there to be several reviews here over the next week or so, as I process what I’ve read and talk about it.

So.  Yeah.  That’s a long intro into what’s actually going to be a fairly short review: you should go grab Shay Ray Stevens’ The Me You See from Amazon right now, and you should read it, and you will enjoy it, and I’m really tempted to not tell you much more than that, because to tell you much more is going to be tricky if I’m not going to spoil anything.  (You should also follow Shay Ray on Twitter, because she’s entertaining.)

Here’s the premise– it’s pretty simple.  The main character dies in a hail of gunfire on literally the first page of the book.  It’s too early for that to even be a spoiler.  And the entire rest of the book, chapter by chapter, is different people from her life talking about her.

Like I said, simple, right?  But Stevens’ fine grasp (grasp, WordPress, not grapes, jeez) of characterization and dialogue and a nicely unfolding sense of mystery as we get deeper and deeper into everyone’s different understandings of seventeen-year-old Stefia made the book literally impossible to put down.  I read this in one sitting.  Now, granted, I was in a car, and I wasn’t driving, so it wasn’t like I was going anywhere.  But still.

There is a twist at the end.  You may or may not see it coming.  I didn’t.  It will floor you if you don’t.  I was halfway through the book when I Tweeted at Shay Ray that the book was “totally fucked up in the most strange and wonderful way,” and you’re just going to have to believe that that is very much a compliment and that the feeling did not go away by the time I finished the book.

The Me You See is the first entry on my shortlist for Best Books of 2015, and I just– as in literally right now– ordered a print copy, because this belongs on my shelves.   Go.  Read.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

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