Wednesday, November 6, 2013
ARC Review: Loud Awake and Lost
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013
Scheduled to release November 12
Source: Received an ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.
I've read quite a few of Griffin's books and have pretty consistently enjoyed them. I just checked and I gave 4/5 stars to the five books I've read and reviewed. From skimming those reviews, I see stories with twists coming partway through, with well-written lines, but not necessarily clicking with the characters. All of these hold true in the case of this book, earning it a lowly 3 out of 5 stars.
One of the best things I would say about this book is that it pretty much answers all the questions posed from the beginning. Ember is emerging from a hospital, eight months after a deadly car accident, ready to return to "normal" but plagued by the loss of six weeks of her memory. She returns to school, to her friendships, to her old stomping grounds but nothing seems to feel right. Until, that is, she meets mysterious artist Kai and she pushes herself to reclaim those six weeks of memory in a devastating episode. I promised that by the conclusion, an explanation is offered. I found myself a bit shocked though I saw a review who considered it patently obvious and bemoaned the length to reach that ending.
I started off with some sympathy for Ember because she's in an awful situation, with her body still physically healing and her mind most probably on its way to full health but not necessarily. But as the book progressed, I rapidly stopped caring about her. I feel so heartless admitting that even though it's only a fictional character but I just didn't. Especially puzzling to me was her preference for Kai over sweet ex-boyfriend Holden. I guess when you don't feel the chemistry, you don't feel it but I never got that relationship in the way I could understand hers with Holden. Reflecting on that, I felt like Holden got more page time (certainly helps in winning a sympathy battle) and actually makes plans and texts Ember. Kai is more free-spirited (that's my nice description) and I hate that-it drives me crazy in real life people and I don't really like reading about it in fictional characters.
The people who ended up really getting my sympathy are her parents. Ember is their only child and they were devastated to almost lose her. Now I don't fault Ember for wanting more independence than her parents want to give her but I could see them trying so hard to be there for her, to love on her, to do whatever they could, only to be rejected and ignored time and again. I agree that they were overprotective but I could see so clearly why they would be.
In Short: This book did not spark for me as previous Griffin offerings have as I found it so dark and gloomy when i guess I was actually craving something lighter. The writing is more on the literary side for those who like that sort of thing.