Book Review: Wild Awake

Wild Awake CoverBook: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Published May 2013 by HarperCollins|259 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Wild Awake on goodreads & Hilary Smith on Twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

In Wild Awake, Hilary T. Smith’s exhilarating and heart-wrenching YA debut novel, seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd has big plans for her summer without parents. She intends to devote herself to her music and win the Battle of the Bands with her bandmate and best friend, Lukas. Perhaps then, in the excitement of victory, he will finally realize she’s the girl of his dreams.

But a phone call from a stranger shatters Kiri’s plans. He says he has her sister Suki’s stuff—her sister Suki, who died five years ago. This call throws Kiri into a spiral of chaos that opens old wounds and new mysteries.

Like If I Stay and The Perks of Being a WallflowerWild Awake explores loss, love, and what it means to be alive.

What I Thought:

Wild Awake is definitely a book I was intrigued by, but it’s also a book that turned out to be just okay for me.

I kind of felt like Wild Awake was a bit scattered and wasn’t sure where to go.  I felt really disconnected from what was going on, and I couldn’t completely connect with Kiri.  She seems all over the place, and I felt like she was just going through the motions.  There are quite a few issues we see in Wild Awake- like love and grief and mental illness, but they all see to be randomly thrown together and oddly disconnected and disjointed.  It definitely meanders, and that made it a hard book to get into because I wasn’t always sure what was going on or where the book was headed.

Usually I have no problem talking about why I feel the way I do about books, but Wild Awake is one of the books where I have a lot of trouble pinpointing my feelings about it.

I will say, I don’t get her parents.  They won’t let their daughter drive, because they’ve told her that her sister Suki died in a car accident, but they go on a cruise for 6 weeks, and leave her by herself. And as it turns out, Suki was murdered…I mean, I get her parents have to be gone and leave a 17 year-old girl by herself for weeks on end in order for things to happen, but it just makes no sense to me.  Even if Suki did die in a car accident…why would you leave your 17-year-old daughter home alone for 6 weeks with no one to check up on her?  And they didn’t seem surprised that she finally learned that Suki was murdered. I felt like they were all, “oh, you found out Suki was murdered? That’s nice, that you finally know.”  At least, that was my impression.

Wild Awake is definitely different, and there is, I suppose, something very different about the chaos that is Kiri.  It’s definitely something people are going to either love or hate, and it’s not the book for me.  There is something compelling about Wild Awake, but I couldn’t tell you compelled me to keep going, other than a bizarre need to see what was going to happen next.

Let’s Rate It:

Wild Awake is an okay read for me, for reasons I can’t really pinpoint.  I think what I expected was something different than what I found in Wild Awake.  I couldn’t completely get into it, and nothing really stands out.  Wild Awake gets 2 stars.

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