Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Publisher:  Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: May 28th, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 378 pgs
ISBN:  9780062184689
Source: From Edelweiss for an honest review and subsequently bought a copy

Summary from Goodreads:
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.


My Review: 

 Wild Awake is an extraordinary tale that I wasn't expecting.  I have to admit when I first read the summary I thought it would be similar in style to Mlynowski's 10 Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have).  I mean they both have teen girls with no parents and the summary makes it seem like a light-hearted contemporary novel.
Well this book is anything but lighthearted.  It actually deals with mental illness and a young girl's descent into an episode.  Kiri is a young pianist who is left home alone for a few weeks.  One of her first nights alone she receives a call from a stranger saying that he has her dead sister's items for her.  Kiri is unsure what to do with this information but decides that her best option is to go and gather her sister's things.  Along the way she learns new things surrounding the circumstances of not only her sister's death but also her sister's life.  I will not go into too much detail about this because it would spoil the storyline but this new information sends Kiri into a tailspin. 
Kiri also meets a young boy who is also suffering from some form of mental illness.  This does not fair well for either party.  I have to say that I quite enjoyed seeing this type of romance in a book.  One that may be slightly volatile yet while reading it you can understand completely why the two are drawn to each other. 
This novel is beautifully written and is not like anything I have read before. I don't know how Smith is able to take on the persona of someone going through such a state and I give her kudos for that. 
Overall it was a well written book but my only negative is that because the main character was going through so much it was hard to relate and at times hard to follow what was happening. Again, this is hardly a negative though since that was kind of the point of the story.  If you are looking for something different and refreshing then this is your book. 

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