Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Wide Awake by Shelly Crane

Official Synopsis 

A girl. 
A coma. 
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?

Pages: 202
Published by: Shelly Crane (March 22, 2013)
Genre: YA contemporary romance

My rating for Wide Awake:
What a wonderful introduction to Shelly Crane's work! This book had some amazing qualities to it including themes, emotions, and tough subjects. There were cons to the writing, but the former aspects listed are so great that they make me want to overlook (and make me believe every reader should overlook) any of its flaws! They were simply that wonderful!

As I read this, I was CONSTANTLY putting myself in Emma's shoes and her family's shoes, thinking about how I would react if I woke up one day and didn't know anyone or anything or even who I was. I thought about what it would be like to have one of my siblings be Emma and for me to visit them, see them not acting like the person they've always been, and mourning for the loss of the "old" them. And then thinking about how I could try to make them feel better, or not as horrible and guilt ridden as Emma did when her mom burst into tears because she didn't remember who her mom was. My mind was reeling the whole day I read this. What if...what would I would I act... Just so many thoughts spun around and I felt completely connected with Emma and the story because of that!

I also felt connected with Emma because of how she evaluated her old self. The girl she could no longer remember was spoiled, ungrateful, and cruel to others and Emma resented her for most of the book. The post-coma Emma tried to be good. She wanted to catch up in school, to work at regaining her strength, and she was grateful for the little things because when she woke up from the 6-month coma, she was stripped of all those things that we take for granted every day. I emphasized with her. But one of the messages of the book was that people can change and Emma learned to not hate the old her and I loved that even more.
"It doesn't matter who you were or what you've done in the past. The only thing that matters is who you are right now." -Mason
Apart from Emma, I didn't feel a great emotional pull towards the other characters with the exception of Mason. I honestly love Mason because he was such a gentleman and cared so much for Emma. In everything he said and did, it was written all around him. It may bother others how the other characters didn't hold a ton of meaning, but it didn't bother me that much because it just meant I was able to read more about Emma and Mason. Another thing I loved about Emma and Mason was that they shared silly facts with each other. I highlighted every one of them!

"An octopus' testicles are located inside its head."

Some things about the writing: I wouldn't say the pacing was weird...but I guess I'm not used to this style (and I'm kind of grasping at straws trying to find a way to describe it). There really wasn't much scenic description. It was all very in Emma's head and she only described actions like "his hands cupped my face to look into my eyes". That sort of description. There was never any background information that can make stories boring at times. It was weird not having background information, but I guess that was part of the point. Emma couldn't remember anything earlier than the first sentence of the book so how could there be any background information? It was very in-the-moment and even the times where a few weeks in the hospital were clumped together in passing, it was done well.

There was only one part of this book that I didn't love. I can't specify it because it is spoilery, but it was the climax of the story involving a character other than Mason and Emma. In hindsight, the actions of this character up until this point hinted that something crazy might go down, but I wasn't prepared for what actually happened and I'm not entirely convinced that all the little hints could actually lead up to the drastic action that occurred. If you've read Wide Awake and know what I'm referring to, leave a SPOILER-FREE comment below telling me your thoughts on this part of the story.

Overall, the themes of this book were incredible, covering a wide range of highly relevant things that we struggle with in real life: mistakes, guilt, forgiveness, change, loss, learning. There were so many good quotes from this book that had to do with the themes of the book. This was the book's strongest asset and I think people should read this book solely for that benefit.

"You can't take responsibility for someone else's actions."

Recommended to readers who like: YA romance, tragedies, overcoming struggles/hardship, growth in characters, awesome themes.

Sexual content: mild--it's pretty conservative, but there is discussion of sex and such, so one could categorize it as mature YA.


  1. This book sounds really interesting! I think it's really cool how Emma doesn't like who she used to be - it's interesting that the main character isn't even a nice person (at least at first).

    1. It was one of my favorite parts. I love seeing change in characters, seeing them try to be a better person. :) Thanks for checking out my review!