Awake by Natasha Preston

AwakeSourcebooks Fire, 2015

Scarlett Garner’s doesn’t remember anything about her life before she turned four. She knows a fire forced her family to move, but she can’t remember their first house or even their town. The fall she is fifteen a new boy enrolls in school and Scarlett is swept into a romance. Everything is wonderful until a concussion from a car accident begins to shake loose her early memories. Those memories start her life on a new, terrifying course. Suddenly, everyone close to Scarlett seems to be lying to her and the only thing she knows for certain is that she’s fighting for her life.

Fast-paced and romantic, Awake moves quickly and got me reading faster. I’m never one to enjoy being kept in suspense too long. The themes of betrayal and protection loom over the book and make for a compelling story. I found the pacing satisfying until the very end. The final chapter felt tacked on and hurriedly written and could be skipped. There’s the perfect thread here for a sequel and I’d love to read it to find out what happens.

This story is filled with the emotions and questions adolescents face: How do I know I’m in love? When is lying okay? What do I believe? What decisions can one person make for another? This should prove a popular library read.

I read this book as an electronic advanced reader copy courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsDelacorte Press, 2014.

Four friends, three of them cousins, one a poor city mouse, meet each summer on a private island. They are called the Liars. They name each summer with their age. Together they explore privilege,  their friendship, forbidden love, and the mythology and reality of being a Sinclair.

Summer 15 something big happened, if only Cady could remember what. I can’t tell you any more without spoiling the book. But I can say, I usually steer away from books about these sorts of privileged kids. They turn me off. This one didn’t.

We Were Liars kept me up late reading. The suspense and clues seemed perfectly balanced. I was engaged in wanting to know what happened. I received enough information to avoid being frustrated but not so much information that I guessed the end far in advance.

I got We Were Liars from the local library because I remembered how much buzz it had generated and how many agents have been using it as an exemplar of what they’re looking for. I’m glad I read it. Read it yourself. I think you will be glad you did.