Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 4, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Thriller
Source: eARC from Publisher
Reading Challenges: ARC August 2015, Booking Through Summer, COYER Scavenger Hunt
Scarlett doesn’t remember anything before the age of five. Her parents say it’s from the trauma of seeing her house burn down, and she accepts the life they’ve created for her without question—until a car accident causes Scarlett to start remembering pieces of an unfamiliar past.
When a new guy moves into town, Scarlett feels an instant spark. But Noah knows the truth of Scarlett’s past, and he’s determined to shield her from it...because Scarlett grew up in a cult called Eternal Light, controlled by her biological parents.And they want her back.
I did as I was told because there was little else I could do right now. After soaking in a bubble bath, using most of it up as my own little screw you, I got out, dried and went back to my room.
Unsurprisingly the dress I was to wear was full-length and white. It was pretty and thankfully not a slim fit so I would be able to run properly in it. I held it up—this is what I’m supposed to die in. Not many people knew what their last outfit would be. I instantly hated it.
I pulled it over my head. It fit me perfectly. It had long, loose fitting sleeves, a modest neckline, and waves of material on the skirt. I pulled it and was satisfied when I could stretch both arms out to the sides.
There were no shoes, and I was afraid I’d have to run through the forest barefoot but there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. I couldn’t ask for shoes and have them question why I’d need them if I was getting in a lake. Besides, I’d run barefoot over a bed of nails or hot coal to get away.
I looked in the mirror and took deep breaths to calm my nerves. I could do this. I was strong.
“Scarlett, are you ready?” he called.
Time to fight for my life.
Two things entered my mind as every member of Eternal Light stared at me from the meadow. One, no matter how hot it was outside it never warmed the water enough for it to not be cold. And two, if this didn’t go to plan I would be dead in forty minutes.
Since they’d stood up and opened their eyes they hadn’t stopped staring at me.
I pretended to look around, turning my body so I could take a few unnoticed steps back towards the other side. Running in water wasn’t easy and I would be slow to get out, giving them plenty of time to make it around the lake. I had to give myself as much time as I could. At least they would be further away as they called upon nature to accept and cleanse me for the final time.
Soon I had to run for my life in a cold, wet dress. I had no idea how long it would be before I could change. Or how cold it was going to get in the forest at night.
In the distance I could just about see their lips moving but I had to strain. Some of them had their eyes closed again. Why couldn’t they all do that? My heart started to pound. How long would they chant for, and why hadn’t Noah called me yet? Had someone realised that he’d slipped away? He said they’d be so focused on what they had to do to that he didn’t see a problem with getting away. I couldn’t be so confident—this was my life on the line.
Awake is a young adult thriller. I absolutely love the cover of Awake with the rose and the barbed wire, and the concept of a cult, because I don’t read too many books with cults in them. I was in the mood for something creepy, and I had heard amazing things about Natasha’s last book, the Cellar. Alas, Awake didn’t work out quite the way I wanted it too. I liked it alright, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite. Most of the reason that I didn’t flat out hate this book was because the concept was intriguing to me, and I genuinely wanted to see where the author was going to go with it. Which to me means that Natasha’s Preston’s writing was not the issue for me. Awake was a technically solid book, as far as writing goes.
First, and this is a minor point, but the summary says that Scarlett couldn’t remember anything before the age of 5, but the story has the age at 4. I know that is a little point, but honestly 5 in the story would have been better. Because I can’t remember anything before the age of 4! (or 5 for that matter) The things that I do remember, I am pretty sure are not my own memories, but rather memories of stories that other people have told me. But fine, if Scarlett is freaked out because her lack of memories feels scary or weird to her, I could get on board with that. It is everyone else’s reactions that had me pulling me hair. They were flat out shocked whenever they found out that she couldn’t remember. Like it was the weirdest thing they had ever heard. And that was where the author started to lose me. It felt like a disconnect with the summary and with the story. I know that sounds weird so let me try and explain that means. (I have seen different versions of the summary floating around as I format this post, but the issues with the story remain the same. These things still bugged me even though the summary cleared it up. I am glad that the summary was modified though, I think that will help with other readers checking out Awake.)
My other main issue was with Summary Noah and Noah in the story. In the summary, it makes Noah seem like he is going to be protecting Scarlett from the cult, but then when I was reading the book, it really did not seem to be that way. You do get more answers as the story progresses but I couldn’t connect with either of the characters because they just seemed so out there to me. Noah is creepy beyond belief and Scarlett just fell flat for me. I found Awake to be confusing and too many things just didn’t jive and add up in my mind to make this story work. Fans of creepy stories and cults and darker versions of people (think really messed up) might get the appeal of Awake. I wanted this book to work out for me, but it just didn’t. I didn’t hate it, but I really didn’t love it either.
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