Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild Awake

Title: Wild Awake 
Author: Hilary T. Smith
Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: May 28th 2013
Pages: 375
Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source:  Audio


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.

This book caught my attention right away. I will admit that what I had thought would a thrilling adventurous story was not, but it was something quite better. I felt as if I went into this book blind, and I am glad I did. I read the synopsis but the synopsis really didn't give much away at all. This book was a very well written story built on a huge range of emotions. Sadness, happiness, anger, love, and more. It was a wonderful experience.

Kiri Byrd always followed the rules, spent hours mastering her music, and was always a loyal friend. Everything changes when her parents leaver her for the summer to fend for herself. 
Something that was always on her mind was her sister. She lost her older sister years before in what she always thought was a car accident. After receiving a very mysterious phone call, secrets are revealed and Kiri has a new obsession that takes her off the deep end. Along the ways she discovers herself, and how to deal with loss and love. 

I am having a hard time putting my thoughts and feelings into words for this review. I liked the story, it was a strong story line and the writing was exceptional. I was really able to feel the main character. I felt myself up and down with her emotions and felt I was really getting it, what she was feeling, experiencing… going through. I found myself needing small breaks to be pulled back down to earth. For sure the writing stands out and is enough to be applauded on its own. Amazing writing in both storytelling and character building. I was sucked in and sucked in hard.

The story wasn't much of a mystery as the synopsis had me believing. The little mystery that was in the book was solved very early on. The rest of the book was a great realistic fiction about a girl and her mental stability.  I enjoyed the story very much. I do wish there was a bit more to the mystery, I love good mysteries, but the actual reality of the book was pretty darn good. 

 The characters were strong too. I wanted to hug some and slap others, a very good mixture of loving and hating. The main character was a bit to deal with. I didn’t find her annoying or whiny just all over the place. She was not in a great mental state and there was definitely something going on inside of her the entire book and was brought out more the further the story went. The author did such an outstanding job of bringing this character to life. Every stupid choice she made, every emotion she felt, and every thought that ran through her mind I found to be understandable. There wasn’t anything rational for they was she was acting but yet it made sense in a strange way. Its very hard to explain, but I felt that if I was her in the same situation under the same mind set, I would be acting the same exact way. Rational or not. I didn’t like or dislike the character, I was the character. Audio may have helped this to become as real as it did. The narrator was exceptional and added the awesome writing it was phenomenal. 

The parents I wanted to slap. They just didn't get it. They hid so much from Kiri and when she finds out the truth of things, she ends up losing it. There were many clues there and even observations made from others, yet it took her parents a bit to see. They didn't seem to really be involved in their children's lives. Kiri's brother started out blah but ended up really coming through. I didn't like then liked him. Kiri's best friend was pretty cool but he let them drift apart. I don't feel that he tried enough. I absolutely adored her love interest, Skunk. He had his own set of problems but he was the only one who really got Kiri and as much as he hindered her, he also helped her. 

The only complaint I have is there wasn't a real ending. It didn’t have quite the resolution I needed to her story. I felt there should have been more… I felt a bit left on the edge looking down wondering how I am going to get to the bottom. There was an ending, but not enough to keep my mind grounded in the end, instead I am left still thinking about what happens next. Other than the ending, the book was amazing. I don’t think this is a book I can easily let go. I was completely immersed into the story from the very beginning.

It was definitely a wild ride, maybe not the one I expected but it satisfied me in the end. 


  1. Great review. Thanks for the motivation to read this one :)

  2. Great review...I agree, not the wild ride I was expecting, but still wild all the same. :) I loved the audio, too. That narrator was faboosh!


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