Are you a king or queen of regrets?
Have you ever thought of how it would be if you could undo your decisions?
Some bad mistakes, rash words, embarrassing situations, even fatal accidents –
don’t worry, just press the rewind button and start from scratch!

 Scott Tyler, a boy who calls his life mundane and mediocre, is sixteen when he learns that he is a Shifter, one of a few teenagers with the ability that allows him to go back over his choices and take alternative paths. Sounds like a glorious day, huh? In fact, it isn’t one of his best moments in life. While trying to impress some wannabe friends he climbs up a high electricity pylon, falls down and – nothing. When his lights come back again after a short unconsciousness, he is lying on his back quite a distance away from the pylon as if nothing has happened at all. And in fact, in this reality really nothing has happened, no embarrassing stunt, no critical injuries – he has not even tried to climb up the pylon, much less fallen down. Of course, Scott is confused and it does not help that an unfamiliar girl accuses him of Shifting in public to show off to his mates. When she understands, that Scott doesn’t know at all what she is talking about, the girl, Aubrey, explains this ability to Shift. Now, you probably expect some magic, mystery or Star Wars SciFi drivel, but no, you are on the wrong track: It’s all plain and simple quantum physics, including Double Slit Experiments and infinite potential realities. Don’t worry about loads of incomprehensible scientific info dump, it’s just scratching the surface of the science background.

Back to the story: Soon, Scott realizes that Shifting potentially has disastrous consequences he has never anticipated. And then there is the secret government agency ARES, the Agency for the Regulation and Evaluation of Shifters, that tries to track down and control all Shifters. They train Shifters, try to keep them secret and use them to manipulate history, hopefully for the better. But are they really the good ones?

I absolutely enjoyed Curran’s concept around alternate realities and the butterfly effect; Scott’s special power that is spectacular at first glance but then full of unforeseeable risks that he has to take not only for himself but also for supposedly uninvolved persons. You might say that the story line is not so sensationally new when it tells about a teenage boy with super powers and the resulting conflicts, a boy-meets-girl part and the hero’s quarrel with an obscure powerful government agency and a power-crazed maniac. But then, the story is fast-paced, full of action and twists and turns and is narrated from a very interesting male POV. In my opinion SHIFT is a great fast and fun read for male and female teens.

It offers good material for some deeper reflection about our daily small choices and the consequences they have or might have, but these ideas don’t come along with the wagging finger and really never get preachy. You can stop for a moment and think about ethical or scientific questions but you don’t have to and simply enjoy the thrilling action.

SHIFT is a great start into a new YA series – five stars.

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