Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Wake by Amanda Hocking

Reading Level: Young adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (August 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250008123
ISBN-13: 978-1250008121
Series: Watersong #1
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: This cover just makes me want to read this book. If I saw it on the shelf, I'd have to pick it up and see what it's about. I think it's the bright colored water with the white text and then that top part that looks just a little off with the lighthouse and full moon. Love it!
First Sentence: Even over the sea, Thea could smell the blood on her.

Mini-Review: The perfect summer read!

Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong. 
Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group. 
Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different. 
Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

Wake weaves an enchanting tale of water and family and friendship and love amidst a vivid little town that you'd totally want to live in. Following both sisters, Harper and Gemma, gave a well rounded point of view and really worked to add intrigue, answers and tension into every chapter. It feels like the perfect summer read!

The first thing I have to talk about is Hocking's writing. I've read the first book in her Trylle series which was pretty good but I felt that the writing was lacking. Picking up this book, it felt like I was reading from a completely different author. The pages are filled with beautiful prose, complex characters and descriptions so vivid you'll be craving a pool. It's one of those books that made me want to be better which is the only reason it took me a while to read it. I wanted to work on my own book because I was so excited and inspired with how much growth Hocking showed.

I was a little weary that it was third person following two different narrators but after the first few chapters, the decision became clear. Both girls have such different personalities that I can't imagine not knowing both of them. At first, I thought I'd really like Gemma and be a little annoyed with responsible, predictable Harper. Gemma is spontaneous and she loves the water which is totally a character I can get into. Plus, it looked like Harper was always on Gemma's back. But then it switched perspectives on me and suddenly, I started to understand why Harper acted the way she did and that while she might not be funky, she loved fiercely and she spent late night's reading. Their personalities worked so well that it made the story feel whole. Plus, I loved that I was able to see the supernatural plot points through Gemma and still feel very much in the human world from Harper. It worked to really even out the story.

Speaking of evening out, the rest of the cast really turned this from a black and white and blue story to full technicolor. Every person felt real including their lovable but worrying father and Harper's anti-social librarian co-worker. And the boys in this story are both to die for! I thought it'd be Gemma's love interest, Alex, that'd I'd clearly like better. He's that nerdy, geeky guy that got hot over the summer and still doesn't know it so he's perfect for me. But then I met Daniel and saw how witty he was and the fire he brought out of Harper and fell head over heels for him too. Like the sister, both boys are different enough to feel unique.

A cast of such colorful and realistic characters needs a setting to go with it and Wake doesn't disappoint here. The descriptions of the bright blue bay with its rocky shore and tiny tourist town make Wake feel alive. I just wanted to be at Pearl's diner. The supernatural element worked but there wasn't much in the plot that surprised me. That isn't to say that it felt stale or old because it really doesn't, it's just not particularly suspenseful. I think this might be what makes it such a good beach read because you aren't so busy looking for clues or figuring out what's going on to miss how fun the characters and setting is.

I also want to mention that the family dynamic in Wake is another standout feature. You can tell that the family is a little bit broken but I love how they still rely on each other. The girl's father Brian cares deeply for his girls and we get plenty of car fixing and heart to hearts to believe it without being cheesy. Also, the sisters dynamic was perfect. I loved how these two could hate each other but still lean on each other whenever either of them needed it. I'm looking forward to more of that!

Bring Wake to the beach or out on a picnic. It deserves to be read in the sunlight and thanks to its lovable characters and vivid setting, you're going to have a hard time putting it down. Definitely one to pick up and check out, whether you've liked Hocking's book in the past or not.

Check out the trailer:

And here's a song that totally reminded me of the book:


  1. I liked AH's self-pubbed books, but I haven't tried any of her new releases yet. Sounds like fun! Thanks for the review. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  2. Uh...huh. I did not have the same reading experience as you did with this one. Well, to be fair, I listened to the audio version. Frankly, I hated this book. I wasn't able to connect to any of the characters--Gemma in particular drove me nuts--and the plot and storytelling fell flat. I am, however, glad to find a more positive review to pass on to my readers.


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