NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Monday, September 15, 2014

Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin

2.0 out of 5 stars -- "Who was I, just before I almost died?"

I'm not sure what urge possessed me when I selected this YA novel from Amazon Vine. I confess that I would not have forced myself to finish it had I not been required to post a review. My advice -- skip it.

Ember Leferrier is 17 years old when she returns home after spending over 8 months recovering from a near fatal accident. She sustained severe body injuries, and because of traumatic brain damage, has also lost the memory of six weeks of her life before the car crash. Although her body is mostly healed, the amnesia persists and Ember feels compelled to seek some answers -- especially when she finds that she "forgot" that a boy she can't remember much about was in the car beside her when she slid off the bridge that night. Who was she, and who was Anthony?

The voice of Ember doesn't ring true in conversation with friends or parents, and seems completely unrealistic considering the usual clinical effects seen as the result of brain injury. She doesn't appear to have speech difficulties, thinks clearly, has no deficits from the damage. Every so often the reader gets a sneak peek of medical insight with Ember complaining of temperature regulation issues or extreme tiredness, but she's back at school and running all over New York as soon as she gets home. There's nothing genuine about Ember's post rehab state as she blows off therapy and sends emails to her former neurosurgeon while her parents allow her complete independence as she hits dance clubs and former haunts to solve the mystery of her missing six weeks of memory. The big "reveal" will be guessed by any savvy reader mid chapter 6. Of course all of Ember's friends and her very busy parents are supportive and so good to her, but does she talk to them, confide in them? No. Frankly, she's a lousy friend as she puts on her clunky studded boots and her leather jacket (which apparently she never bothers to clean and which are retrieved from the plastic bag they were put into in the ER after her accident!) and roams the streets, visits strange restaurants, and meets a boy she can't quite keep track of but to whom she is intensely attracted. Can I say it? HO HUM. Contrived and straining credulity, this novel has little to offer as a story of a girl trying to reclaim her identity or piece together her missing past after a devastating accident.

I don't know if this book will appeal to young adult readers or not. It's safe to say that I was not the intended audience.

Book provided by Amazon Vine Program as ARC.

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