Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

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WildAwakeWhen 17 year-old piano prodigy Kiri discovers that her older sister was murdered and not, as her parents had told her, killed in a car accident, her life goes off the rails.

Kiri is not particularly likable, though her snarky and brittle narration is entertainingly readable. She makes a host of poor choices, but after years of being the good girl in the family, and having iron discipline over her piano practice, the chaos that ensues when the facade is cracked is commensurately large. Obsessively playing the piano for hours, taking drugs, and not sleeping or eating, she ends up nearing a breakdown. Smith skillfully and queasily captures Kiri’s neon bright and hallucinatory wakefulness (nicely captured by the cover artwork), and her floundering to find control in her life feels very real.

As Kiri bikes around Vancouver, gripping her handlebars as tightly as she has gripped her life, she meets other lost souls. Her developing relationship with Skunk, who is looking to regain control of his life after a psychotic break, brings some balance to her life, but, in the end, it is Kiri alone who can find what is important to her life rather than what is expected of her.

Many casual references to drug-taking and a protagonist who, perhaps, doesn’t know herself as well as she thinks she does, make this fine book best suited to older teens.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith | bibliobrit

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