*This review will not contain any spoilers. I was going to give away all the surprises, but Hilary T. Smith broke into my house in the middle of the night screaming and punching holes in my walls like a madwoman!
"If you even think about putting spoilers in your review I'll come back here and rip down all your Luna Lovegood posters!" She found my weak spot. I was defeated before I even had a chance to fight.
"Stop being a bitch-nacho." -Wild Awake
I mean...is there really anything else I need to say?
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith is my favorite contemporary YA read of all-time.
I realize that's a bold statement but I mean every word of it. I don't know Hilary outside of a few tweets and emails, and I'm not being compensated for this review in any way.
Wild Awake follows 17-year-old Kiri Byrd through six crazy-ass weeks of being home alone. Six weeks of discovering family secrets, love, loss, chaos, music, madness, heartbreak, and...
My prediction is that Wild Awake will go bat-shit crazy with the "I don't read much" teenage crowd.
-Every character is authentic, believable, relatable, and memorable. If you hear someone talking about the characters in this book and they say, "well, that's not how teenagers talk." Grab them by the ears, put your face directly in front of theirs, and as loud as you can, yell, "BULL SHIT!"
-Clean, crisp, clear setting. I'm NOT a setting kinda guy. Books that go on and on and on about setting make me and everyone else with ADD wanna drink a case of Mountain Dew and play foosball for 9 hours. Action, baby. Gimme some action braided in with setting. Setting is usually the only part of a book I struggle with. I can't stand books that describe things like what color the front door of the house is, and how wide it is, and what color the door handle is, and the scratch on the lower left side, and the bush to the right with three leaves missing, and the blade of grass next to the bush that's cut a half inch shorter than the other blades of grass, and the blade of grass next to that blade of grass that's a little slimmer than the blade of grass on the other side of the cement sidewalk...the sidewalk that's three and a half feet wide that Grandpa helped put in. The sidewalk that stretches down to the dirty road filled with old cars parked along the filthy curb speckled with Burger King cups and Chipotle napkins. Two feet from the napkins are more blades of grass. There's a little worm sunbathing. There's a ladybug buggin'. There's a little green grass snake about 12 inches long and about .34 inches wide. It has a smile on it face that's about .12 inches across.
Ya feel me?
I was lost in Kiri's world without ever realizing it. I can still picture everything. Everything.
-Hilary writes in a way that won't scare the "I only read when I'm forced to read boring books in school" crowd. And at the same time, more advanced readers will be like, "Damn, yo! H. Smith got skillz!"
I mean, let's face it the average teenage boy thinks about food, girls, food, girls, food and girls.
"So, average teenage boy, what did you think about the plot in that classic novel you just read in English class?"
"I liked the sex part."
Had I been assigned to read Wild Awake in high school, I would have read it and been excited to discuss it with my class. I would have been engaged in writing essays about the deeper themes laced throughout the story. I wouldn't have spent entire class periods staring at the hot girl with tan legs sitting across from me while the teacher rambled on and on about...?
There's more emotion packed into Wild Awake than there are ingredients in my burrito (and that's A LOT). I lol'd so many times that I started keeping track. Then I got so lost in the story that I forgot to continue keeping track. Then I thought I'd read it a second time and really keep track. Then I read it a second time and got so lost in the story that I forgot to keep track. I am a failure.
Wild Awake is an Emotion Smoothie. A well crafted mix of joy, pain, loss, gain, happy, sad, crazy, mad. (That's right, bitches...rhyming skills.)
"Oh, so you laughed a lot?"
"So it's like...a funny book?"
"Well, some of it is."
"Oh, so you cried?"
"I didn't cry!"
"Stop looking at me like you know I cried! Someone shot me in the eye with a pellet gun while I was reading!"
Buy this book, read it, then give it to a teenage boy that doesn't "read stupid books." Tell him there's sex, drugs and Battle of the Bands in it. When his eyes glaze over...that means he's thinking about it. Quick! Repeat this part, "Sex. There's sex in it."
He might not make eye contact with you, but he'll take the book.
I give Wild Awake 10 out of 10 nachos. I'll even throw in a side of guacamole and some jalapenos.
Order Wild Awake here.
Follow Hilary on Twitter here.