Awake by Natasha Preston ★☆☆☆☆

9781492618522_35ba1Scarlett Garner doesn’t remember anything before the age of four—but a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her…and a secret that could get her killed.

Awake has a lot of problems. Let’s start here:

“How old are you?” I asked. “You look older than fifteen or sixteen.”
“Sixteen,” he replied. “What about you?”
“She’s just sixteen,” Imogen cut in, clearly annoyed at being ignored. “I am too.”
I wanted to roll my eyes. As if he were going to take her over the desk right now just because she’d been the same age as him that little bit longer.

Did you know that they are sixteen, because they’re sixteen, but Scarlet is less sixteen than Imogen is sixteen, but they are both–apparently–less sixteen than Noah.

Imogen and Scarlet are best friends. Is this how best friends speak to/about each other? And Scarlet is just too stereotypical. She’s a girl. Not her own person, but exactly what we’d expect to see of a girl.

“Well, I’m glad you’re here.” My eyes widened to the point of pain. Why on earth did I just say that out loud? I cringed. You didn’t tell a guy you kind of liked him right away– especially when you’d only known him an hour.

This reaction to blurting out your feelings is omnipresent in bad literature. Oh no! I’ve said what I was thinking! How could I, a girl, express myself in such a forward way?

Another issue I have with Awake is that Scarlet remembers nothing before age four. Well duh. No one does. Your brain makes new memories and pushes out old ones, of course you don’t remember much before age four when you are sixteen.


“I would just hate to have four years and a lot of experiences I couldn’t remember.”

This means he literally remembers everything in his life. Everything.

Noah is a creep. Scarlet is a moron. Imogen is a horrible friend. AND I MIGHT ADD–so is Scarlet. They both just shame each other and compete with each other and that is not what friendship is about. Nor is a relationship about being so incredibly physically attracted to someone that you just blurt things out at them.

Poor examples all around. Leave Awake on the shelf and buy something else.

By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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