By: Melanie | October 31, 2013 | (24) Comments

Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. SmithWild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont Australia
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Pages: 375
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 seemed to be an endless supply of completely mixed reviews for Wild Awake so I went in with low expectations and then got swept right off my feet. I see where this book could have gone upside down for some, however this madness? I loved every bit of it.

Kiri has always believed that her sister, Sukey died in a car crash five years ago. That’s what her family told her and she never questioned upon it. Yet when she gets a phone call from a stranger that has some of Sukey’s stuff, she gets on her bicycle and collects the bag. And from there on, she discovers the truth; her sister was not killed in a car crash but murdered. Kiri’s life then turns black and white. Wild Awake’s main points that I see that will not work for people are the amount of drug use and lack of plot. Surprisingly, I was not the slightest bit bothered by these two aspects as I deem that the way Hilary T. Smith used them (drugs and insomnia—aka madness) was perfectly reasonable and gave this book a new dimension. Too many authors are scared to put in drug and sex so often. That’s where most authors will fail. They worry, they put it in and it won’t necessarily turn out well because they were too weak in putting it out there like cold water on a hot summer’s day. All these mature themes in Wild Awake were not placed in. They were flung in with a BAM. And, the result was very pleasing. As long as authors don’t shy away, these topics are actually reasonable, especially if written well.

And it just so happens that Hilary T. Smith has one of the best writing skills I’ve ever observed. It’s bold, taking on topics that too many authors hide from. It’s beautiful, the descriptions, setting and way life was portrayed was blurry and defined all at once. It’s raw, this book was a complete mess and it was perfect like that. A beautiful story of madness and how a new discovered truth can take toll on a person that’s only known to long for happiness. I am in complete envy of Hilary T. Smith’s writing. Can I steal? Please?

The main thing that took of one star was the romance. I wasn’t really feeling it. There was not much of a build-up or development between the two. They had only met for a few days and instantly, they were kissing and having sex. It made no sense I felt rather behind it all. There was not much of a chemistry between Kiri and Skunk (don’t worry, it’s a nickname).

Despite the flaw in the romance, Wild Awake was one of the most beautiful novels I’ve read this year. It’s quite scary and interesting to see one event trigger a whole new line of sequences that are completely life changing–and damaging. This one is a must read for everyone, regardless if you will like it or not in the end.


~Thank you Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for sending me this copy!~

4 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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24 Responses to Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

  1. Amelia says:

    Ooh this one sounds so freaking good! Up to lending it to me any time soon 😉 This one really does seem like something I would love–all the bold things. Fabulous review, Melanie 😀

  2. Jasprit says:

    I’m so glad that you ended up enjoying Wild Awake Melanie, I think it didn’t work for me, as I was totally expecting one thing and got something completely different. But I agree Smith’s writing is definitely one not to be missed out on. I will certainly be picking her books up in the future! Gorgeous review!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Fangirl by Rainbow RowellMy Profile

  3. I actually love it when I like books that so many people don’t. It’s like a saw the special thing not one else did. Happy this was a good one for you.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…NetGalley November Challenge (And Happy Halloween!)My Profile

  4. This actually sounds really good, so I’m going to check it out now. The cover is gorgeous too so I might add it to the massive list of books I need to get from The Book Depository.

    Great review, Melanie!
    Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary recently posted…Falling out (and in) love with blogging…My Profile

  5. It’s a shame that the romance didn’t live up in this one, but I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the story otherwise, Melanie! Lovely review 🙂

  6. I’ve put off reading this book because there has been so many negative reviews for it. The main character sounds strange, so I don’t think I would really like her much. Plus, insta-love is not my thing.
    I’m glad that you liked it though, Melanie. Great review!
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Blog Tour Stop : Entangled Embrace Pre-Launch – Trouble Comes Knocking by Mary Duncanson & Ruined by Jus AccardoMy Profile

  7. Celine says:

    Hmm, the romance would usually be kind of a dealbreaker for me, but this does sound very good otherwise! You’ve made me curious: I really want to read her prose now. It sounds really good, so I think I’ll give it a try someday!
    Celine recently posted…Book Talk Topic: Lack of InspirationMy Profile

  8. This sounds…different, I guess. I’m not really sure if I want to read this or not. But the way you described it makes me really want to. I’m a little put off about the romance but the blurb and your review are very compelling. Oh well, I’ll give this book a try some time soon. Thanks for the great and honest review, Melanie! 🙂
    Eunice @ Book Overdose recently posted…Review: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerMy Profile

  9. I’m glad you enjoyed this, despite the lack of believability in the romance! That’s always a negative…but regardless, the premise sounds intriguing.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Review: Hallowe’en Party by Agatha ChristieMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I think the romance wasn’t a main focus even though it was there for quite a bit of the time. All the madness of this book does make you forget the flaws of the romance ever now and again

  10. Candace says:

    I’ve read a wide range of reviews for this so I had no idea if I would read it or not. I think your review has convinced me it’s worth trying though. The drugs wouldn’t bother me, and the madness, if done well, sounds like it would make it an unpredictable ride. Definitely curious about it!
    Candace recently posted…Discussion: Social Media & Blogging- Let’s Talk Facebook!My Profile

  11. I’m glad you loved this one so much, even though the reviews were really mixed. I was one of those negative reviews, but I’m glad that you found the use of drugs and sex well done. I can see where you’re coming from though when you say that it brought Wild Awake to a whole new dimension.

    I’m glad you ended up enjoying this one! Fantastic review <3
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Waterfell by Amalie HowardMy Profile

  12. This sounds really good, and I am glad that you tried it and loved it. I am very curious about this, and of course life lists never go like we plan..LOL
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…One Lucky Vampire by Lynsay SandsMy Profile

  13. I’m so much more excited to read this now! The writing sounds amazing. It’s too bad the romance isn’t so great, but everything else sounds awesome. Love the review 🙂
    Montana @ The Book Belles recently posted…Notable by Marni Bates Book ReviewMy Profile

  14. Great review Mel, I’m glad how you said the author didn’t brush over sex or drugs and she did it boldly. That’s signs of some excellent writing skills!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Giveaway & Book Blitz: The Dream Slayer by Jill CooperMy Profile

  15. Annie says:

    “don’t worry, it’s a nickname” – LOL. Lovely review honey. I’m disappointed that the romance was a bit ‘wham, bam, thank you mam’ but quite interested in her writing itself – the fearlessness, the beauty of the quote you included. I would definitely consider reading this one, although I do usually read for the romance (not always though…). 🙂 Glad this one blew you away!
    Annie recently posted…NaNoWriMo: Writing SoftwareMy Profile

  16. Isn’t it awesome to be surprised by a book!? This one sounds like something I would like!
    Bethzaida (bookittyblog) recently posted…Omens by Kelley Armstrong ReviewMy Profile

  17. I really loved this one, Mel, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I think it was so bold in its vision and though the romance wasn’t my favorite, I thought it was fitting for these characters. Wonderful review, my friend!
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Mini-Reviews: Hawksong, Nine Coaches Waiting, and Crossing StonesMy Profile

  18. For some reason I keep hesitating with this one, but clearly I have been silly–I mean, Tonya loved it, too! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Mel, and I love the Aussie cover for this, too. Ours is a little too cartoony for my taste.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Champion prize pack giveaway!My Profile

  19. Rachel says:

    I’ve read enough about this book to determine this is not my type of read. I know Kiri would drive me nuts. I’m glad this read worked out for you, though, Melanie. Great review. 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Monthly Recap #2My Profile

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