[eARC Review] Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Title: Wild Awake
Author: Hilary T. Smith
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen

Amazon | Chapters | TBD | Goodreads

 Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

I have recently found myself reading a lot of contemporary fiction and I am surprised because I have always been a paranormal/fantasy type of reader. Wild Awake was on my must read contemporaries list from the moment I saw the cover and read the synopsis. This book was everything I expected and more.

Kiri is a very interesting character. She is far from the "good girl" image that most main characters in his genre have. She smokes pot plays in a band, has a horrible attitude problem and is obsessed with hoking up with her band mate. But what I really loved was that she had aspects, like being classically trained in piano, that you wouldn't expect when you are first introduced to her. And everything you think you know about Kiri changes the moment she gets a phone call from a man claiming that he knew her sister and that he has her things. Her sister died five years earlier.

With that phone call, this book morphs into a story I did not expect and it sucked me into Kiri's world that began to dissolve after every page. I loved reading his book for many reasons, and one of those reasons being Kiri's character development throughout the novel. With every passing chapter she evolved, or devolves depending on the situation and I found it engaging. Kiri spiraling out of control made for a very interesting story and it made her a very unreliable character to read. Yet I found myself wanting to believe every word she said, and every thought she had.

The love interest seemed a little sudden for me, but when you think of Kiri's character and her need to connect with people in order to feel alive, it makes sense. And I believe that the cast of secondary characters made this story even more amazing because they added depth and character to every scene. Overall Wild awake makes you question what mental illness looks like and makes you question what is real and what is not. This was an amazing story of tragedy, love and self discovery that will leave you breathless.

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