Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 22, 2013
Shelly Crane does it again! I am a huge fan of Shelly and her Significance series, so when I was given the opportunity to read Wide Awake, I was more than excited.
The concept of this novel intrigued me immediately. The idea of being stuck inside a body you don't recognize, with expectations to live someone else's life who had a life that seems meaningless to go "back" to...well, you can see why I was interested.
Shelly quickly paints an honest picture after Emma's tragedy. She begins the story waking in the hospital, slowly coming to her senses. Once she understands her prognosis, she is devastated, and rightfully so, but slowly rises from her horror and begins the long process of healing - finding herself.
Now, while this makes the story sound like a simple coming-of-age, wet eyed, uplifting story, Wide Awake is so much more. I found myself laughing often with these characters and enjoying with the roles each is trying to play when their script hadn't yet been written.
Emma is completely likable. Finding the balance between the girl she feels like she is and the girl she finds she was before her accident is the purpose of the story...but she draws you in with her kindness and confusion. I felt like I would make similar choices if, forbid, I put myself in that situation. The romantic triangle between Emma, her "boyfriend" Andy, and Mason, the man who's attracted her from the first time she opens her eyes. Shelly writes some lovely romance that doesn't overwhelm the development of Emma as herself, without her complete association with one life or the other based on a childish idea of love. That being said, Emma's decisions at times can be frustrating, but it forces the reader to be patient with her and remember that she is simply trying to find herself.
Things that I love and therefore made me fall in love with Mason: tattoos, mama's boys, and true kindness. Don't get me wrong, I love me a bad boy, but in real life? My sweet, loving, handsome, tattooed husband is it for me. And Wide Awake made me feel like I was reading real life. Each page turned seemed to get faster and faster until suddenly I was finished and sighing at a book well done.
Congratulations Ms. Crane! Another knock out.
And here's an excerpt from Wide Awake by Shelly Crane:
The next couple of weeks brought plenty of action and events. I focused harder on the therapy and tried to focus less on Mason. He seemed to be doing the same. I had renewed vigor, which led to stamina, which led to more workouts, which led to exhaustion, which led to tons of sleep, which led to healing, which led to me walking.
This simple task, this simple thing that we all take for granted, that's so cute and monumental when a baby takes his first steps, but these first steps were so much more than that. Though I cried like a baby, I wasn't one. And though my mother cooed and fawned over me (because I had invited them that day to come because I just knew that day was going to be the day) I wasn't a toddler. I was me. I was finally getting a little piece of myself back. And though I tried so hard not to, my eyes drifted to the one person in the room that I knew would understand all this better than anyone else.
Mason's eyes were already on me from across the parallel walking bars. This time, I didn't shy away from his gaze. I knew that our terms were shaky, but so was I, and I needed the stability of my lifeline. As our gazes collided, I expected a smile and happiness, but I didn't expect the level of pride and utter joy to be so prominent. The man was bursting at the seams with it. It filled his face and the smile he wore was the beautiful one that made me feel like everything was going to be OK.
His lips parted and even in the loud room, I could still hear his breath. He said quietly, "You did it, Em." He moved forward and touched my arm. It was the first time he had touched me in weeks that had nothing to do with therapy. "I'm so proud of you."
As his fingers circled my elbow, and I tried not to shiver in his grasp, I asked softly, knowing the answer, "You didn't believe that I was going to walk again some day?"
"Of course I did." He smiled wider. "But today was the first time that you've ever believed it."
About Shelly Crane:He was right. Having faith and having hope were not the same thing, and I was just now understanding that.