Griffin Free Public Library – Auburn, NH

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REVIEW: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Note: This review was written and submitted by one of our great young adult library users. We are delighted to host this review on If you are interested in submitting a review to be posted, please let us know!

Wild Awake caught my eye on the New YA books shelf, and after reading the quote on the back cover, I was super excited to get it home and start reading:

It’s amazing how well you can get to know a person if you actually pay attention. 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 floodlit statue or a skyline. 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

Kiri Byrd starts out an average seventeen-year-old girl, constantly practicing her piano for the Showcase she’ll be performing in at the end of the summer, working on music for the band she’s in with her best friend (and crush) Lukas, and bringing in the mail and watering the azaleas, as her parent’s told her to do while they’re away on vacation and she’s left home along for half the summer. When she gets a call about her dead sister and having to retrieve her stuff from a firend, her summer turns into a whole new adventure. Kiri meets new friends, learns about her sister’s death, goes slightly crazy, and falls in love.

I enjoyed this book very much and found it difficult to put down; I even managed to finish it in two days! The characters were excellent and I got very attached to a few of them. I didn’t like the sane Kiri as much as I liked the “monomaniac” Kiri; however, both of them were somewhat difficult to relate to. For the most part I liked the characters who were supposed to be liked and disliked the ones that were supposed to be disliked. Skunk, my favorite character, was tough and quiet at first, but as the story went on I got to know him better and he became more personable.

The way this book is written is fantastic. Smith keeps the language fairly simple, but has a great way of writing with sensory details, metaphors, and similes. The content of the story is very serious, but it’s kept light by Kiri’s point of view. Aside from a few things (see the next paragraph) the plot was great. There was a budding romance, but it wasn’t totally focused on that. Kiri had an adventure of learning about her sister and coping with it. The story is so unique and unpredictable that you never know what Kiri is going to do next. It was very fun to read.

There are, unfortunately, a few things about the book that I didn’t like. Kiri gets herself into trouble with alcohol and drugs a few times and it was insanely aggravating to me. She is only 17, and she obviously couldn’t handle herself in those states. It took away a lot of ways I could relate to her and I found it unnecessary and overdone. Another problem was that the book is kind of far-fetched; Kiri is too brave and too trusting. If Kiri experienced a real city the way she experienced the one in the book, things wouldn’t turn out as well. Although the book is supposed to be realistic fiction, I didn’t find it that realistic.

Overall, this was a very good book. I wouldn’t call it a favorite, however I would definitely recommend it. I think high school girls interested in a romantic, adventurous story would enjoy this. Some content would not be appropriate for readers under high school age. I give the book an overall 4 stars out of 5.


This entry was posted on August 7, 2013 by in Reviews.


Griffin Free Public Library
22 Hooksett Road / PO Box 308
Auburn, NH 03032



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