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Wild Awake

Wild Awake
By Hilary T. Smith
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
Audience: Older Teens

Source: Edelweiss/NetGalley

From Goodreads:
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 was SO not what I was expecting.

What I thought I would get: A sad adventure featuring a responsible young lady whose story is interesting but not disastrous.

What I did get: A complex, melancholy look at a teen girl who has too much to handle on her own, and when she receives shocking news about her sister, breaks. With this story I completely understood that the main character didn't even realize what was happening as it went along. She was all on her own and dealt with everything as best she could, but she was a teenager and shouldn't have had to carry all of that on her own.

Normally, I don't read books about drugs and mental illness and such because the authors seem to want pity from the reader for the character or teach a harsh lesson in consequences. It gets depressing. That wasn't the case with this book. I was captivated with it and it seemed that one thing led to another until, suddenly, Kiri realized how out of control things had gotten.

This is a well-written book, and Hilary T. Smith is now on my auto-buy list. I hope to read this again, and much more by her in the future. My review doesn't do justice to how this book made me feel. Just read it!

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