Loud Awake and Lost
By Adele Griffin
YA realistic fiction
Knopf Books for Younger Readers
Ember is returning home after months of rehab, recovering from a car accident in which she was the driver and which claimed the life of the teenage boy who was riding with her.
She’s got a lot going on -- continuing her physical rehabilitation, including giving up the life of a dancer she once might have been; her loving parents trying not to suffocate her with concern; her former boyfriend, a perfect guy who isn’t over her; losing her touch as a foodie with panache in the kitchen; and not remembering anything about Anthony, who was in the car that night. No one else knew Anthony either.
Spending time on her own, lost in her own thoughts, Ember meets a street artist, Kai, who seems to know her better than she knows herself and who lights up her world. She keeps him a secret from everyone else.
Pages and pages later, we find out why.
This is far from a perfect book. The slow pacing will just about kill interest for teens craving action, although Ember’s yearning for the excitement of being with Kai may keep romance readers interested. It’s not hard to figure out the mystery in the story, and it does make sense. But the Ember who is drawn to Kai and the Ember in the real world don’t mesh. Adele Griffin writes lyrical prose but could have written a shorter novel here to attract more readers. For a high school fiction writing workshop, this would make an interesting book to deconstruct.
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