Review | Awake by Natasha Preston

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Title | Awake
Author | Natasha Preston
Pages | 314 pages
Publisher | Sourcebooks FIRE
Series | None
Release Date | August 2015
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

Scarlett Garner lost her memory at the age of five. She accepts her parents’ story – that it’s due to the trauma of seeing her house burn down – that is until a car accident causes her to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar childhood.

Noah is new to town and immediately sets his sights on Scarlett. The two grow instantly close, but Noah’s hiding something that can fill in the missing pieces of her past. Scarlett’s family keep secrets for a reason.

The truth can be deadly.

Scarlett grew up in a cult.

And the cult want her back.

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Before I moved onto YA books, I was an avid Wattpad reader, with several popular books of my own. Those days are long gone now, but I adore seeing talented authors branch out and away from the online writing website, gaining publishing deals and physical editions of their hard work. Natasha Preston may not be a name that many people know straight off the bat, but back in 2011, in my tween years, Natasha Preston’s writing kept me sane. I genuinely mean that. Her first work, The Cellar, had me bloody hooked and ever since I’ve been like one of her own personal cheerleaders. That’s why when she published one of her latest works, ‘Awake‘, I was more than over the moon. Sadly it sat on my to-be-read lost forever, until today I finally decided enough is enough. I finally read the book and here are my opinions.

As if he was going to take her over the desk right now just because she’d been the same age as him that little bit longer than me.

Authors have good books and not so good books. Take J.K Rowling for example – worldly notorious for the Harry Potter collection, yet her recent release in that series was little more than a flop. Just an example. In all god-honest truth, this wasn’t one of Natasha Preston’s strongest works. I’ve seen other bloggers completely slating the story and leaving unread between 5 and 20%. What a shame. Not because they’re missing anything, but because they fail to appreciate that the author has put in a lot of time and effort. She still deserves a brownie point or two for having the drive to write, and to continue to write considering some of the harsh things people have been saying. I’ll start with a positive note, because too many people have been neglecting to point out the good things. The storyline was pretty amazing. I’m not going to spoil it, because unlike some people, I do want others to read this and make up their own minds. Awake was incredibly original, and had a unique storyline which I have never come across in fiction, let alone YA fiction, before. Natasha Preston has a knack for tacking taboo or controversial storylines and weaving a wonderful tale with it. This storyline was just another example. Sure you have to look past the flaws of the book, but when you do, you can really appreciate the story for what it is trying to say.

His light eyes sparkled. Actually bloody sparkled.

The character of Scarlett was incredibly naive and had a horrible personality. She is one of those rare cases where you don’t relate to the protagonist and have little sympathy as the story develops. Like in many other YA stories, Scarlett has had an incredibly horrible experience. In those moments, I really do feel deeply for her. Yet her attitude, her disregard for friendship and her blatant stupidity where boys are involved were a little too much to overlook. Writing this does make me feel incredibly harsh, but it has to be said. I felt her need to slut-shame her so called ‘best friend’ (on several occasions, might I add) was totally rude. Fair enough, she was just dishing back, but with friends like these two, who needs any enemies? Also, the shaming was not a private affair. Oh no! I hate the drying of dirty laundry in public, and this was something that the characters had going on. Guys, get a grip! There are literally no #strongfemalevibes in this novel at all. Scarlett is the damsel in distress who makes you want to leave her with the villain. I didn’t care for her much, which sucked considering I was supposed to be #TeamScar all the way. Noah – nope. Let’s just skip Noah because I don’t think I can even. All I want to say about him is that he is a character that proves it is never too long to turn the bad around and make things right again. The general feeling in this generation is that if its broken, throw it away – if you did wrong, its over. Noah and his personal journey highlight just how wrong these ideas are to live by, and that we can correct our wrongs no matter what.

“I’m not proposing, Scarlett, you’re not forced to be with me forever.”

The book touches on a very serious issue, which I can’t divulge without ruining the plot. Sorry, no spoilers here folks. This is why I advise you to get a copy of the book and read it. It is an issue I’ve only ever looked at once, at the age of seventeen in my optional A2 sociology class – and that was sheer dumb luck because it was included in the module. I feel we need more YA fiction touching upon this subject, and if you have read Awake and know of books like it, please comment them below because I would love to read them. On another topic, the cover is very pretty. I adore the simplicity of the covers which Natasha Preston’s uses on her writing. At the same time as being eye-catching, they’re not overly confusing and are very much focussed on the book.

I  was hopelessly in love with her. And our love was hopeless.

While my opinion of Natasha Preston and her books will not change, I do not see myself giving this book a high rating. Pacing was quite slow and that created certain parts feeling dragged out. Certainly the pace of the relationship made absolutely little sense and completely made me feel off with the story. The characters were not my favourite in the slightest. But Natasha Preston still provided quite an important message and does deserve major brownie points for accomplishing all she has. I will continue to read and review her books, but this one unfortunately receives a two out of five snowflakes.

2 stars

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Still unsure on whether this book is the one for you? Have a look at what other bloggers have to say.

C.J @ Deadly Darlings says “Unfortunately, my feelings about Awake were lukewarm.

Jordan @ Young Adult Book Madness says “The last few chapters are adrenaline-packed and full of uncertainty.”

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Usually a book goes through several cover changes in its lifetime. Most variation depends on the publishing location. Awake is available in the following cover formats.

 

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