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BOOK REVIEW: Wake by Amanda Hocking

BOOK REVIEW: Wake by Amanda Hocking

So… there are these girls—Penn, Thea, and Lexi. These gorgeous, almost otherworldly girls that are randomly in this little seaside town for some reason. It’s not necessarily strange that they’re there; after all, lots of visitors flock to the town for the summer months. But no one understands quite why they’re there or what they want.

Then there's Gemma: a down-to-earth sixteen year old local in this town of tourists. All Gemma knows about Penn, Thea, and Lexi is that they’re kind of creepy and she wants to steer clear of them. But that’s going to be difficult, because it appears they have their eye on Gemma and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want from her.

Gemma lives with her older sister, Harper, and their father, Brian. Gemma and Harper’s mother was in an accident and suffered brain damage; because of it, she can no longer live at home. Gemma loves nothing more than to swim in the ocean late at night and to feel the salt water around her. She has no idea that her affinity with the water is why Penn, Lexi, and Thea want her so badly, or what the consequences of that might be.

Mermaids. That’s the first thing you think when you hear the premise of Wake. Drop-dead gorgeous, dangerous, mysterious girls? Check. The love of water? Check. But Hocking, who originally found major success as a self-published author, has some tricks up her sleeve for the reader. It’s not quite as predictable as you’d think.

Gemma is an interesting character. She’s a little too sweet at the beginning, a little too naïve, but she’s easy to like. Her budding relationship with her sister’s best friend, Alex, is fun, though it’s not the center of the book. Of course, Gemma and Alex move a little too fast (from holding hands to “I love you”—believable for teens, perhaps, but laughable nonetheless), but all in all, it’s pretty well done.

Wake would make a perfect end-of-summer read. It’s not necessarily the best YA book out there, but it’s certainly enjoyable and easy to get through. Hocking’s a good writer and she throws some unexpected twists and turns into the mix. It is the first book in a trilogy, and it does end on a cliffhanger, so if that sort of thing bothers you, it might be a good idea to wait until the second and third books are released (usually one year apart, so August 2012 and 2013). If you want a book to lose yourself in, a quick, easy read you can devour in one sitting, this is a good choice.

What was your favorite book of the summer?

Tags: fantasy, reviews, mermaids, ya fiction, books-and-comics, amanda hocking

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About the Author
Swapna Krishna

Swapna is a Washington, DC-based freelance editor who loves all things space and sci fi. You can find her book reviews at S. Krishna’s Books ( and on Twitter at @skrishna.

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