Book Review: Wake

Title: Wake
Author: Abria Mattina
Publication Date: September 22nd 2011
Publisher: Primrose Publications
ISBN: 0986957909 
ISBN13: 9780986957901
*ARC provided by the author

Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.

"I am not invincible. I have desires. I want to be touched and held and told that I'm worth something. I am not pitiful. I am better than you can imagine. I have talents. I have successes and failures. I love my life. I sometimes feel dissatisfied with the world. I come from a place of love, not death. I am special. I matter. I can be the most interesting person in the room. I can blend in and that's okay. I'm a somebody. I'm a nobody. I feel deeply and I want to be allowed to show it. I don't want to be judged. I can be judgmental. When you give me platitudes you belittle my feelings. I'm brave. I's scared. I'm wandering. I have plans. I will be the best me I can be. I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am; I am who I think you think I am, so think well of me, please."
This is the story of  a cancer patient who is in remission who has now turned from social butterfly to a socially repulsive person and is close to giving up until he meets the sarcastic emo new girl who just transferred to the school he was studying at.

What's nice about this book is that:
JEM HARPER - He was a cancer patient who is currently in remission but still felt sick. He has to wait 1 year before he can gain back his strength. He was once a social butterfly but since he was diagnosed, he found it hard to bounce back to his normal routines. He's tired of being stared at because it makes him visible to the crowd. He feels pathetic and doesn't want to look at the mirror because he'll just be reminded of what he looks like before. He wants to be treated normally, not with utmost care because that makes him feel so fragile and people think he won't handle it. He just wishes for his cancer to vanish as soon as possible.

WILLA KIRK - She came back in their town after her own parents banished her from their house. She came to live with his brother, Frank. She suffered from serious depression and she came to a point wherein she almost killed herself. Because of that, she was placed in a psychoward for 3 weeks. This was triggered by the death of her older sister, Thomasina, from cancer. And when she came back, all the memories she left behind flashed back.

She meets Jem. Despite her reluctance to be friends with him, she still accepted him and in spite of the hurt it may cause her, she gave them a chance. She saw Jem as a way to make peace with her past.

Their story proved that love comes at the right time in extraordinary ways. It shows us that when you really need it and when you're ready to accept it. You may battle with your inner self to give it up, but the more you relinquish it, the more it forces its way on you. Jem and Willa's relationship were not all about rainbows. They had a very rocky start and many times they wanted to give up, but their love was stronger and it stood the test of time. Willa is a very dauntless girl who in spite of everything, stood by Jem's side. Underneath her callous attitude is a very passionate woman who cares about her loved ones. Her passion manifested in how she cooked for Jem, how she cleaned him up when he got sick, how she comforted him when he's upset and how she encouraged him when he wanted to give up. Jem is so lucky to have found her. Whatever connection they have, is something to be cherished forever.

The Harper family is a picture of an impeccable family who have found courage towards each other. Their bond was not weakened by Jem's illness, hence, it was what glued them together. I admire their family. This is what a family should be like - a family that can stand all the struggles they undergo in life and are still there to support each other. Elise is a picture of a very valiant woman who can still find happiness in the most difficult times of their lives. Though sometimes, she also possess naivete and playfulness of a child who is so obsessed with Harry Potter. She's the sunshine in their home who provided the light when they were in their darkest. Eric on the other hand was the one always left out. He prefers his solitude when dealing with Jem's illness. He cannot stomach seeing him sick. But, he remained the constant in their home. He was the strength and the axis when Elise can't take it any more.

Wake is a very moving novel and for a debut author, she did great. This deserves a five star rating. Thanks Abria for the ebook copy. :)

Abria Mattina works in marketing and book production. She holds a Certificate in Publishing from the New York University Summer Publishing Institute and a degree in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Ottawa. When she isn't writing she enjoys travelling, eclectic books, blogging, and baking. She lives with her fiance, Daniel.


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