Wake – by Amanda Hocking
Amanda Hocking is the author of the YA Trylle trilogy of Switched, Torn and Ascend. I haven’t read these but this week was given an advanced reading copy of the first book in a new series, called Wake. I read it over the weekend, and this is what I thought:
Calling Gemma a water baby doesn’t do her justice. She’s a champion swimmer who’s planning to make it to the Olympics, and when she’s not training at school she’s night swimming in the bay, under the stars. Her family and new boyfriend know how amazing Gemma is, especially in the water – but they’re not the only ones who’ve taken an interest in her aquatic affinity.
There used to be four girls. Supermodel-pretty, they’re new in town and spend most of their time down at the cove, or in the bay like Gemma. When one of the girls disappears, the three remaining girls decide Gemma would be the perfect replacement. But why? Especially when Gemma has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with the eerie trio? And why won’t they take no for an answer?
I really enjoyed this book. It’s clearly written with the trilogy in mind, which allows Hocking the space to set up her world without rushing straight into the action. Gemma was three-dimensional, driven in her swimming but very unsure about her budding relationship and dealing in an authentically teenage way with her family situation. I found Gemma to be a very likeable character, and the time we took getting to know her meant that as a reader I was very firmly on her side by the time we figured out how much danger she was in.
The main storyline was a nice sidestep of the more overdone supernatural tropes we’re seeing (over and over) in YA fantasy at the moment, and the stakes are very real and very high – this is not one of those near miss stories. People will get hurt, and things won’t necessarily all be okay. I thought the trio of unnerving girls at the centre of the drama, Penn, Thea and Lexi, were well set up as characters of whom I assume we’ll get to know more later in the series. I was also impressed that Hocking’s supporting cast, who were strong characters, not just afterthoughts.
Have you read any of Amanda Hocking’s other novels? Will you be giving Wake a go?