Book Review: Awake
By: Natasha Preston
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Thriller
Scarlett is a teen living in England with no memory beyond her fifth year. It's not uncommon for people to not recall a ton about their early childhood, but to have a huge blank slate is also far from normal. Scarlett chalks this up to a tragic fire that occurred around the time she was four. She's never stopped to question her memory or wonder why her family might be keeping secrets from her, but all that changes when Noah moves to town.
Noah is the new guy we all dreamed about in high school. He's handsome, down to earth, and only has eyes for one girl. Scarlett can't believe her luck and the pair soon become joined at the hip. The instalove in this one was so overwhelming it gave me a toothache - too much over the top devotion and sweetness for two people who barely knew one another. They've barely started dating when Noah begins drawing pictures of their future home together. I felt this was unhealthy and creepy.
In fact, Noah is hiding a creepy secret. He is a member of a cult - one that wants Scarlett back. She was stolen from the cult as a child, but has no idea. Noah knows if he takes her back, she will be harmed, but he wars with his culture and his heart throughout the novel.
One major problem I had with this was that Scarlett's parents didn't recognize Noah and his family. I'm pretty sure if I ran away from a cult, I would remember who was in it so I could avoid them in the future. Perhaps Noah and his family drastically changed their appearance, but this was never explicitly mentioned. There were little discrepancies throughout the plot like this one that irked me.
My second major problem with this novel was the writing style. It felt too bare bones in some places and the pacing was clunky. I don't feel like I truly connected with Scarlett or Noah. I only scratched the surface with both of them and never formed any sort of attachment to either. I know some people love this writing style, but I want more sensory details and descriptions.
While I did have some frustrations with this novel, I did find the twists and turns to be interesting. I think there is a lot of potential with this plot, but it needs the right sort of reader to truly love it.
One Last Gripe: I didn't like that Scarlett often wanted to change for Noah. For example, she mentions not enjoying the outdoors, but after one walk with Noah and a creepy drawing, she wants nothing more than to spend her time in nature with him.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Scarlett's backstory
First Sentence: Imogen nudged my arm, nodding toward the classroom door.
Favorite Character: Scarlett
Least Favorite Character: Imogen - she wasn't always a great friend which bothered me
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.