by Hilary T. Smith
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: ARC received through Around the World ARC Tours, in exchange for my honest review.
Midnight Minute: With her parents gone for six weeks, Kiri is determined to spend her time practicing for her piano recital until a call about her dead sister changes the course of her life.
Expected Publication: 05.28.13
Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:
1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.
Things that actually happen:
1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.
Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.
~ When we meet Kiri she is in Lukas’ basement, high from marijuana, and telling Lukas yes to doing Battle of the Bands, even though she is dedicated to intense prep for the International Young Pianists’ Showcase.
~ Kiri says yes to Lukas because he’s sexy and she’s hoping to take their friendship to that next level.
~ Kiri’s parents are on a cruise for 6 weeks, and I am majorly jealous.
~ Doug, sounding a bit crazy, calls Kiri’s house, saying that he has some Sukey’s stuff, and that it needs to be picked up now.
~ It’s perhaps a sign that all is not well with Kiri that she just hops on her bike and goes into the city to meet Doug, calling no one beforehand and not taking a cell phone… or a rape whistle.
~ Because of a mishap with her bike, Kiri ends up meeting Skunk, who is described as looking like Hagrid, and trustingly goes off with him to his place to get a part for her bike… which really should only end well in books about wizards, but somehow does not end up as a case on the ID channel.
~ Speaking of the ID channel (for those of you unaware, the ID channel shows mostly true crime re-enactments and my favorite show- Deadly Women), it turns out Sukey did not die in a car accident five years ago, which is what Kiri was told.
~ It struck me as odd that Kiri was okay not knowing the specifics of a much-beloved sister’s death, but that gradually made more sense as I got to know Kiri and her family.
~ I find it so hypocritical that Lukas makes a comment about how wasn’t Sukey a druggie whilst taking a hit from a bong. (Hit off a bong? I don’t know, but perhaps I will have more knowledge after my Colorado trip… Kidding, mostly).
~ In a way the beginning of this book reminded me of the movie The Invisible Circus, and I was kind of hoping that Kiri would track down Leon, Sukey’s ex-boyfriend, because he sounded totally hot since he’s half-Japanese, half-German. Sadly, he is not featured in the present.
~ I did not realize this book would be about mental illness, but it is, and it’s a better book because of that.
~ Ever since Sukey’s death, Kiri has been determined to play the role of Perfect Daughter and Perfect Friend, trying to satisfy everyone around her without really thinking of her own wants.
~ Kiri is totally hard core about her piano playing. I was jealous… and exhausted just from reading about how hard she practices. Thank God I’m completely talentless, it makes it easier to be lazy and not feel too guilty.
~ Lukas is hot, but he’s a moron. Kiri can do better.
~ Kiri doesn’t have a car, she rides a bicycle. Skunk works on bikes. Everyone is biking all the time. Kind of made me want a bike again.
~ Skunk collects radios, which is charming, including the one his father gave him before he committed suicide, which is sad.
~ I love rainy days, but Kiri and Skunk’s rainy day bordered on magical.
~ Kiri begins to unravel, but it was slow and it took me awhile to realize that it was happening. As she begins to slip, the book takes on a dream-like quality of a really interesting and quirky, but slightly confusing indie movie.
~ I blazed through this book, feeling slightly manic myself.
Lukas– Kiri’s best friend and bandmate, Kiri crushes on him.
Petra– Luka’s awesome mom. She is married to Lukas’ dad, but he’s unimportant.
Sukey– Kiri’s dead older sister, talented artist.
Doug– the man who calls Kiri about Sukey’s stuff.
Skunk– Hagrid-like good Samaritan, begins friendship with Kiri.
Denny– Kiri’s douchey older brother.
Snoogie– Doug’s cat.
Dr. Scaliteri– Kiri’s piano teacher, very strict and kind of scary.
Kelsey– throws house parties.
Angela– friend of Kiri’s.
Billy– junkie kid Sukey tried to help.
Mr. and Mrs. Byrd– Kiri’s parents, dad is a bit of a snobdouche.
This book surprised me. I really thought it was going to be some murder mystery, but in the end it’s a book about mental illness. Smith does a great job in not disappointing me that Kiri wasn’t going to be a Nancy Drew type (for those of you younger readers, substitute Veronica Mars for Nancy Drew). Skunk’s back story in particular was heart-breaking.
Hilary T. Smith — Website | Real Actual Hilary
Wild Awake gets a Midnight Book Rating of: