Friday, May 23, 2014

Novel Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: May, 2013
Spoilers?: No.

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.

The Cover:

I rather like this cover. The colors and the fact that it's artwork and the fonts all work well with the book. I think maybe the position or something bothers me, but overall I rather like it.


  • "The Book’s cover shows a goth girl sitting against a brick wall, her kohl-rimmed eyes gazing out from beneath the edge of her tattered black hood. She’s holding—absurdly—a graphing calculator. Like she ran a few equations, found out the world is more effed than you can possibly imagine, and is just chilling by this brick wall, waiting for the zombies to arrive.” (ARC, pg. 3)
  • "I hate that question. ‘Are you okay?’ It’s like asking someone if they think you look fat. You’re almost guaranteed to get a lie.” (Pg. 67)
  • "'She said, “The soul has a house of its own, and I want to live in that one.”’” (Pg. 248)
  • "I’d never realized how loud the world was, how filled with cold and impersonal noise. It’s a wonder we ever find each other at all in its clamoring thickets. It’s a wonder we still try.” (Pg. 248)
  • "People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.” (Pg. 282-283)
  • "...that Sukey would have said any kind of pain is worth it if [it] makes you brave.” (Pg. 323)


This book was not quite what I expected. It took me on a journey that I was surprised by--in a good way.
I wasn’t expecting Kiri’s journey to go quite where it did. And I liked that.
I liked Kiri, and I liked watching her grow up, find out what happened with her sister, her parents, as well as learning about love a little bit. She struggled a lot, and there was some drug use, but it ended well. I liked her, and I liked Skunk a lot, too. Skunk is quiet and wary, but sweet, and really cares for Kiri. I really liked their relationship, how it started and developed.
This was a really good book. I really liked the writing, it’s thoughtful and portrays Kiri’s voice and what state of mind she’s in really well. It was easy and fun to read. It was thoughtful, it was surprising, and fun, and a little exciting, and very funny. I’m really glad that I picked it up, and am interested to see what Smith releases next.

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