Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Review: Wild Awake

Wild Awake
Title: Wild Awake
Author: Hilary T. Smith
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | TBD

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.

“There are no mistakes—just detours whose significance only become clear when you see the whole picture at once.”

Reading this book felt like I was in a hazy dream. I even listened to Magic Wand’s Aloha Moon album while reading to add to the effect and I tell you, it was effective. I spent time thinking about what to write about this and until now, I honestly don’t know. I don’t know what I feel about it. I requested this because it involved music but I never expected it to be a wild and crazy roller coaster ride with Kiri. 

Everything about this book screams grief. Here, we get to meet Kiri, who tried to be the perfect daughter with perfect grades and perfect piano skills after her sister died 5 years ago. When a stranger called their house and told her to pick up her sister’s stuff, that’s where the whole craziness started. 

This book was one of the few most unpredictable books I’ve ever read. Each time I turn the page, I can’t help to anticipate something crazy. Though Kiri’s adventure started with the truth about how Sukey died, the whole ride was so much more than that. Through that, she learned to discover herself, accept some truth, helped others find themselves and eventually made peace with her sister’s death. 

Aside from the part about her parents leaving her alone for 6 weeks, everything else feels so real. Even the unpredictable turn of events felt real. It somehow shows how crazy life really is and how you’ll obviously screw up some things and make really bad decisions, but it’s how feeling alive is. Smith really did a good job in writing Kiri’s character and how she reacted with everything that happened to her. She really captured how a teenager would probably react that it made her silliness real.

On the romance part, at first I had a hard time believing that Kiri and Skunk would be serious. Although it was quite obvious, I really didn't pegged him as a boyfriend material at first. But the thing about him surely blown my mind. Some might think these two are the cliche scarred-people-completing-each-other but it's not. Both of them grew up individually and although the other might also be part of that reason, they obviously did it for themselves.

Although I’m still lost on what I should feel about this book, I’m quite sure that it left something in me. This story sure felt like meeting a kindred spirit. To those who are in doubt about this book, give it a try. You might surprise yourself and fall in love with this book.

This copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.