03 June 2013

Review: Wild Awake By: Hilary T. Smith

Title: Wild Awake
Author: Hilary T. Smith
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, 375 Pages (May 28th, 2013)
From: the Publisher & Amazon Vine
Format: ARC
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis: 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.

Review: 2.5 Stars - Wild Awake, the debut novel by author Hilary T. Smith was an instant must read once I heard about this title. It quickly became a book I was eagerly anticipating.

Oh, I have been thinking about this one for a couple of weeks and I still don’t know where to start. I wanted to love it. I wanted nothing more than all the promise I saw in this one to come shining through and for the characters to be forever embedded in my mind and soul. Because that’s the feeling that I just “knew” would happen when I heard about the book.

I’m all for a mystery and this title screamed mystery. I couldn't wait to find out what this phone call from a stranger was all about.  In the end, that part of the story took a back seat and I was overcome with… well, confusion. The more I read, the more confused I became. While there is some beautiful writing in the book I felt extremely disconnected with the characters and what the heck Kiri, and then Skunk were both going through.

Kiri seemed like a pretty normal teen aged girl at the beginning and then before I knew it I had no idea what was going on. How quickly this book changed and how confused I felt continued for most of the book. I kept reading because of Skunk. To me he turned out to be the most mysterious part of the book and in the end there were no true answers about him either. I could understand they had issues and why Kiri did, but then…. What? I felt like both of their story was cut off somewhat mid-sentence.

I wanted nothing more than to understand this crazy, wild ride of a book and I hoped that by the end I’d have some semblance of an answer or two and while there was kind of one, I still found myself scratching my head wondering what the heck I had just read??

If I was asked what the book was about, I’d have to say self discovery, growing up and a bit about family. Yet without giving too much away, there’s more to the story than JUST that. What kept me reading was the interesting boy Skunk, looking for answers to round out the story and the writing which was brilliant within the madness of the Kiri’s world/life.

All in all, I guess it’s best to say that since I’m still wondering about it that Smith did her job well in making the story memorable. It’s sad when a book you’re looking so forward to doesn't live up to what you were hoping. However I am looking forward to seeing what Smith does next because she does have a knack for words and stories that leave a mark. For those wondering who I would recommend this title to – anyone who likes a standalone YA contemporary title that’s very different and as the title says, ‘Wild’. I have a feeling this is going to be you either love it, or will find yourself scratching your head like I did, kind of books. I hope for future readers it’s the latter.

FTC Disclaimer: I did NOT pay for this book, nor have I been compensated at all in any way or means for reading and writing this HONEST review.

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  1. I'm glad to see someone else who was confused by this book. I just finished it last week and I still have no idea what I read. I wanted a lot more but like you, I'll definitely be checking out what Hilary T. Smith writes next, since she is a great writer. Thanks for the honest review!

  2. Ooh noo. I was looking forward to reading this too! I'll have to put it aside for now.. Thank you for the honest review.


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