Wake by Abria Mattina

Title: Wake
Author: Abria Mattina
Series: N/A
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: 9/22/2011
Length:727 pages
Format: ePub
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Challenges: 2011 E-book Challenge
Source: BLB Book Tours
Purchase: Paperback | Kindle
Rating: ★★★★★


Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.

Haunting, beautiful, and emotional. Abria Mattina doesn’t spare us the gritty details of illness and unhappiness. It’s all right there on the page. I’m warning you now: you need tissues. There were parts that had me near sobbing. I’m really selective about my crying during books. I think any reader would be hard-pressed to make it through this without at least tearing up. If you do, you have no feelings.

This book is so character driven. Jem and Willa themselves are what really drew me in. There’s something so desperate and tragic about both of them and what they’ve been through. They’re not likable in the usual sense. They both have some social issues, though Jem’s are definitely more pronounced. Willa’s are a little more internal, but come to the service at the slightest intimacy with anyone else. Still, their snark lightens things up when Jem’s brooding begins to become too much. The fact that I got to see into their heads really helped me sympathize and I liked the few times that days overlap from one point of view to the other. It helps to see situations from different perspectives.

Jem and Willa’s relationship with each other isn’t the only thing going on. Obviously, they both have their own personal problems. There’s also some focus on their family relationship, particularly Jem’s. His relationship with his sister was almost as important to me as his relationship with Willa. They have the brother-sister dynamic, but there’s so much love there and so much compassion on both ends, even when Jem doesn’t know exactly how to express it.

I’ve had a hard time putting this one into words because it was really phenomenal. I’ll admit my expectations weren’t to read something this heavy. It was so worth it though. It had some very emotional moments, but those only make the experience even more satisfying. It’s so nice to read something with real substance. I’ll be recommending this one to all my reading friends. It’s worth the purchase.

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1 Comment

  1. Wow, sounds like an emotional roller coaster! I love character driven stories, but I think I'll save this one for when I need a good cry. Great review!


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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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