Author: Abria Mattina
Published: September 22nd, 2011 by Primrose Publications
Book rating: 5 STARS!!!!!
Cover rating: 4 stars
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.
"Welcome to the wake."
When I read that I got chills and had to know what this was about. I'm so glad I picked this book up, I only wish I would have read it slower because I'm still sad it's over. Abria Mattina had me on an emotional roller coaster while reading Wake. I was sad one moment, angry the next, and sometimes happy. I'm sure I'm leaving out a handful of other emotions but needless to say I was an overemotional mess reading this book but that's okay because it made me love this book. I can honestly say I had a feeling I'd like this book but after reading it I can say it's one of my all time favorite books. Before I got on I'd like to tackle something that might scare some readers off, this book is 727 pages and that's a lot of book. Sometimes with long books they feel like they drag on and it just gets annoying but I can assure you that Wake doesn't do that. It flys by and I even wished it was longer after finishing it because I miss Jem and Willa. The book is dual narrative throughout the entire book and I think there's one chapter/segment each for Elise (Jem's younger sister), Eric (Jem's older brother), and Frank (Willa's older brother). It seems like it could get confusing but it really doesn't. In a few chapters time overlapped so we could see how both Jem and Willa were feeling in that moment and I really liked that it was there with the right moments but not overdone throughout the book.
Mentally sighing, oh the characters you guys. They were so perfectly imperfect. I want to know Jem and Willa and be their bff because I care so much about these characters. Is that weird? That's weird but whatever. SO MANY FEELS FOR THEM! Jem sucked me into his world and once I was there I didn't want to leave. Now when you think about a cancer book you probably think of death but this book was so much more. We get to watch Jem and Willa evolve and become new people together, we get to watch them hold each others hand (most of the time) and help each other out of the dark hole they both had fallen into, whether it was by choice or bad luck. Jem was awesome, he made me laugh in almost every single on of his chapters. I don't think I've ever laughed so much reading a book and I really loved that. Although the humor could be dark and twisted at times it worked. Jem was a really strong guy even if he didn't realize it and I was like a proud momma bear by the end of this book. Willa has been through so much more than she should have experienced. She's still a freaking teenager and I can bet most people twice her age haven't seen what she has yet she was so strong, even if she couldn't see it. I loved how Willa was so willing to accept Jem for who he was and help him through the side effects of his disease. I loved how this book didn't have insta love, they slowly peeled the walls down and showed each other who they were. Only after did they figure out the rest. All of the supporting characters are worth a mention because they were just as awesome as Jem and Willa. Elise, Eric, Frank, and Jem's parents were all so easy to love too. They all had their flaws but it all just worked so well together. Abria Mattina did such a phenomenal job tying their stories together.
I'm almost positive my review doesn't do this book justice but after discovering what exactly the Wake is I highly suggest you go read this book as soon as possible. Wake was tragic, dark, and beautiful with enough humor to get you through it without going insane. Just be sure to have tissues close by because if you're anything like me you'll need them at some point.
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Now for some exciting news, today I have my very first AUTHOR INTERVIEW!!! I'm really honored and excited to share these awesome questions and answers with all of you and I hope you enjoy.
Welcome, Abria! I just want to say thank you for joining us on the blog today and being my first author interview! I'm super excited to have you here! Let's get started. (:
How long ago did you come up with the idea of Wake and how long did it take you to write it?
Writing took nine months, and editing took another nine. I have synaesthsia, so the initial conception of the story began with the colour turquoise and the stroll down Willa's street, where she and Jem discuss different kinds of personal disasters. It just sort of bloomed from there, but always with the turquoise backdrop.
I know when I was reading Wake I got very emotional because it touches some really difficult topics such as suicide and cancer, while writing Wake did you ever cry or get really emotional too? (I might be asking this so I can tell my sister and maybe then she'll stop teasing me, haha!)
I teared up during Eric's chapter, but the parts that normally choke up readers didn't affect me the same way -- I knew how the story would end, after all. There's also the fact that so much of Jem and Willa's pain is based on my own adolescent experiences, and I could write about that pain from the position of someone who has gotten through it. I suppose I was looking back through rose-coloured glasses.
Did you gather your information for the cancer details from personal experience or research? I liked how it was all really detailed and accurate, it really made the book more enjoyable and it felt more realistic to me.
It's a mix of personal experience and research. There's a misassumption out there that all cancers are created equal and treated the same way. This is not the case. For example, breast cancer in a fifty-year-old woman is very different from liver cancer in a twenty-year-old man. I have never had cancer personally, but several people close to me have. None of them had leukaemia, though, so the specifics of that type of cancer and its treatment were things I had to research.
One of the ways I like to research is through blogs. I start by looking at the facts of a particular topic -- the terminology, stats, etc., that I can find in scholarly publications. Once I have a grasp of the mechanics, I turn to blogs for the human element. We live in an age where a person can put their journal online in a matter of minutes, and these personal narratives can be a great source of inspiration and understanding for writers.
Wake is a pretty long book, which I loved, while editing did you cut out a lot of scenes/content?
I did. I slashed about twenty-thousand words overall. There are many who would argue that the book could stand to lose a few thousand more, but I'm happy with the final product.
Was there one particular character in Wake you connected with most, why?
While I put a lot of myself into Willa and Jem, I have a particular soft spot for Frank. We're both secretive types who don't feel that we owe the world an explanation for the way we are.
Are we ever going to see more of Willa and Jem or any of the other characters such as Elise or Eric in their own novels?
I toyed with the idea of writing a prequel to Wake, but I haven't figured out the plotting for that one yet so I'm not sure if it will ever come to be. A lot of their pre-book story was covered inWake anyway, through things the characters said or remembered.
I'm dying to read more of your work because I love your writing, can you tell us about what you're currently working on?
Right now I'm working on a New Adult paranormal set in Ireland. I started it last April and really struggled to get the form right, but now that I've got a handle on style the manuscript is really coming together. Hopefully it'll be done by the time the snow melts.
Organized or cluttered writing desk?
Always cluttered. I insist that it's an organized mess, but I can't work without my clutter.
Paper back, hard back, or ebook? Why?
Hardback, or paperback with a matte cover. I hate how easily fingerprints show up on glossy covers. I like ebooks for when I travel, but I tend to forget that I own them if they just sit in the depths of my Kindle.
What type of snacks/drinks do you hole up with in your writing cave?
I'm a peanut butter and chocolate addict, but I've been trying to balance out the sugar with healthy things like homemade juice.
What type of novels do you read for personal pleasure? Do you have a favorite book?
I read all sorts of things, but my taste does run toward the macabre. I'm actually a book blogger too. I don't have a favourite book, per se, but I've got a top ten list. I pride myself on being able to recommend good books to friends who are fans of any genre.
So I hope you all enjoyed her answers as much as I did and again, a huge thank you Abria for taking the time to answer my questions! I'm definitely a big fan and looking forward to your new book! (: