Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Kiri Byrd's plan for the six weeks her parents are away involves practicing for the upcoming International Young Pianists' Showcase, practicing some more, and then practicing with Lukas, her bandmate and crush, for their Battle of the Bands gig. She isn't worried about being home alone: she's 17, she's responsible, and she's got a schedule. But when someone calls to ask if Kiri will come pick up her dead sister's belongings, things change in unexpected ways. Kiri's life picks up speed and gets frighteningly close to flying out of control as she bikes to the rough side of Vancouver; meets Skunk, a musician and bicycle repairer; and finds out exactly how her sister, a troubled artist, died. In her YA debut, Smith (Welcome to the Jungle) handles Kiri's grief and joy well, then takes these emotions and amps them up. When people around Kiri including Skunk, who has his own mental health problems and Kiri herself begin to think that she 'might be having a Thing,' it's believable, worrying, and relatable. Ages 14 up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Hilary T. Smiths absorbing debut whispers with mystery, drawing us into a world of dead sisters, family secrets, midnight bicycle rides, music, madness and artultimately exploring that most profound mystery of all: love.” Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and Just One Day
“Beautiful and energetic…Smiths a writer to watch.” Kirkus Reviews
“Most fascinating in this stirring coming-of-age novel are the blurred lines between perception and reality, genius and madness, peace and turmoil. Debut author Smith embraces the complexities of grief, family dynamics, creativity, mental illness, and love and pens them with a thoughtful, subtle hand.” Horn Book Magazine
“Debut author Smith can craft a simile like no ones business, and her ebullient language drives this story, which captures moments of life at its highest and blurriest points: love, loss, music, freedom.” ALA Booklist
“A compelling novel with moments of lyrical beauty.” Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Exquisite…Smith adeptly captures the darkness and betrayal of a family secret. Kiris narrative is heart-wrenching….The story is beautifully written and engaging, and Kiris voice is a powerful reminder that life can be full of pain and joy and that to embrace both is good for the soul.” School Library Journal
In Wild Awake
, Hilary T. Smith's exhilarating and heart-wrenching YA debut novel, seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd has big plans for her summer without her parents. She intends to devote herself to her music and win Battle of the Bands with her bandmate and best friend, Lukas. Perhaps then, in the excitement of victory, he will finally realize she's the girl of his dreams.
But a phone call from a stranger shatters Kiri's plans. He says he has her sister's stuff—her sister, Sukey, who died five years ago. This call throws Kiri into a spiral of chaos that opens old wounds and new mysteries.
Like If I Stay and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Wild Awake explores loss, love, and what it means to be alive.
About the Author
Hilary T. Smith wanders, but is not lost. Also known as the formerly anonymous publishing industry blogger INTERN, Hilary is now a full-time writer and wilderness lover. She wrote various parts of Wild Awake