Tall House Books, 2012
I am thrilled to review Awake today! I've been aching to get my hands on this novel since Jessica first told me about the idea. As a fellow fairy tale fanatic, I loved the idea of setting the classic tale of 'Sleeping Beauty' in modern Los Angeles, with a twist. What could go wrong? Nothing, nothing at all - I assure you.
Alexandra Martin liked science. And rocks. She understood them, and they made her happy. People were trickier. Especially Luke Reed - her childhood best friend-turned baseball star. So when Luke shows up as a fellow summer intern at the Gem and Mineral Museum, Alex is less than thrilled. Though she tries to keep her distance, and is "oh-so-crushing" on Nicholas (her "boss" at the Museum), there's palpable tension between Alex and Luke -- which does not go unnoticed by Becca, Alex's intern buddy and new best friend. Everything gets a lot more intense when a new shipment of specimens arrives from France, and Alex and Becca find themselves in a face-to-face encounter with a living, breathing fairy tale. Yup, Sleeping Beauty has appeared in LA. Only, in order to 'wake up,' her spell transferred to the gallant Luke who impulsively kissed her sleeping self. What happens next is a whirlwind ride that challenges everything Alex ever thought about science, magic, fairy tales, Love and herself.
I loved Alex - she's so human and authentic. She's like so many teenage girls I've known, and I could totally relate to her. (Except for the anti-fairy tale part at the beginning, of course). Her journey of self-discovery is as wonderful a read as the adventures (or misadventures) that she and Becca encounter as they try to sort out what to do with Lilia - the former Sleeping Beauty - and how to awaken Sleeping Luke. The three girls have great chemistry, and discover a bond that transcends their differences. Luke, though under an enchantment for most of the story, plays a huge role - and is quite a dynamic character. His personality is intriguing, and he's definitely a YA hero to swoon over.
The story is an engrossing and quick read: you've got to find out what happens next! It's a fun read too: no angsty teen drama, just some serious soul-searching and some not-so-typical "science experiments." And the nerdy humor! I died when I got to one glorious line referencing one of my favorite movies. All in all, a stunning debut and I (somewhat impatiently) look forward to the next two installments in Jessica Grey's fairy tale trilogy!
Digital ARC provided by author for review.