I just finished Wide Awake by Shelly Crane, but before I start this review, I would like to give a shout-out to Ms. Crane, for being a fighter and finishing this book while she was going through multiple personal struggles. I am so impressed by you and hope that things have been looking up.
Here’s the description from Goodreads:
A life she can’t remember.
When Emma Walker wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of how she got there, she learns that she’s been in a coma for six months. Strangers show up and claim to be her parents, but she can’t remember them. She can’t remember anyone. Not her friends, not even her boyfriend. Even though she can’t remember, everyone wants her to just pick up where she left off, but what she learns about the ‘old her’ makes her start to wish she’d never woken up. Her boyfriend breaks up with the new girl he’s dating to be with her, her parents want her to start planning for college, her friends want their leader back, and her physical therapist with the hazel eyes keeps his distance to save his position at the hospital.
Will she ever feel like she recognizes the girl in the mirror?
Now, on to the review (Caution: fangirling ahead):
This book had a little different feel to it than Ms. Crane’s other books. It was a little, not necessarily darker, but deeper, maybe? Heavier? I’m not exactly sure what word I would use to describe it, but it took me a little by surprise. Not in a bad way, just in an unexpected way.
As always, Ms. Crane has written an excellent story. The characters were real and dealt with real, if extreme, troubles. I think that, even though most people do not go into a coma and lose their memories, most people can relate to this story. This is the story of a girl trying to figure out who she is and what her place is, both in her family and in her world. Everyone has expectations for her and she has to look past that and figure out what it is that she wants. The story is relatable, and I know that I thought there was no way that it would be.
Emma. She is strong, yet caring. She tries to make the people around her happy, but eventually learns that she has to be herself and let people accept her for who she is now, not who she was before. I will be the first to admit that I did NOT like pre-accident Emma. She was shallow and not a nice person, and I felt Emma’s pain right with her as she found out more about this person that everyone was trying to get her to be. I am so glad that she was able to stand up and tell everyone that she couldn’t be who they wanted her to be and that they needed to accept the new her. She was strong and is someone to look up to.
Mason. He was exactly what Emma needed. He was the only one that never pressured her to be anything other than what she was. He has such a caring personality and when his personal demons were revealed, it only made me love him more. He had been dealt a difficult hand in life but was doing his best to live his life and take care of those that depended on him. He is a big softy. He was really great.
The Romance. Emma and Mason took things slow. He wanted to give her time to figure things out and settle back into life before anything happened. Even when they were together, they kissed but not much else. This is a YA book, so that makes sense, but I didn’t miss the “else” anyway. The story was strong and didn’t need other things to keep the reader interested. This is the story of Emma’s recovery first and the romance that she happens to find in the process. It worked. If you’re an adult, don’t let the fact that this is a YA romance turn you off. It worked flawlessly for this story. Also, I loved this quote, it sums up what I’m saying kind of perfectly:
“I’d more than missed him, I needed him. It wasn’t a dependency, it wasn’t a weakness or a failure, he was an addition to my very soul. And I laughed into our kiss as I realized that this was what love was. I could live without him, of course I could, and i could function and get on with my days if he wasn’t here, but I didn’t want to. I wanted him right where he was, in my space and in my life.” – Kindle Location 4174
The book. At the beginning of each chapter is a “Useless Fact.” This was one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved reading all of the stupid things that no one needs to know. At the beginning of the story, Emma found a book of useless facts that Mason had left for her by her bed, and I loved the punch of humor that they added to the story. I highlighted them all as I read, so that if I ever need something to make me smile, I could click through them.
There were just a few things that bothered me:
The way her parents treated her throughout most of the book, though they were struggling to understand the new her, so I understood.
Andy. I didn’t like him and I especially didn’t like how his story line ended, but again, I understood for the overall story why it happened that way.
Finally, there were a couple of times when Emma’s mom’s name was spelled Isabelle instead of Isabella and my OCD mind kept freaking out over it. Not a big thing, but nit-picky me got distracted by it.
Overall, this book was excellent, as evidenced by my ramblings on the good and very little on the bad. Ms. Crane has another winner with this book, and I can’t wait to see what she gives us next.
To buy this wonderful book from Amazon, go here.