After a haunting opening chapter, Amanda Hocking’s paranormal romance begins as most in the genre do --- in a seemingly normal town with a seemingly normal girl. Gemma is a high schooler with a not-so-normal desire to go for late-night swims in the bay by her house. Her talent for swimming along with her beauty and fearlessness catch the eye of Alex, the nerdy boy next door.
"WAKE is a great adventure story with a varied set of characters who are courageous, sensitive and funny. I suspect that it will make waves in the young adult paranormal genre."
Alex, however, is best friends with Gemma’s over-protective sister, Harper. With an absent mother and father who works all the time, Harper fulfills the role of Gemma’s caretaker. Gemma attracts the attention of not only her sister and Alex, but also of a trio of girls who are extremely beautiful, cold and unfriendly. The trio often ruins Gemma’s peaceful night swims by dancing and singing around a bonfire on the beach. They don’t stay just a nuisance for long, though. Harper becomes more and more suspicious of their interest in Gemma.
I thought I had predicted much of the plot, but was pleasantly surprised by Hocking’s small twists. Her talent as a writer, though, really lies in her character development. That is mostly what fills the pages of the first book in her Watersong trilogy. Daniel became my favorite character, and when I grew impatient with Hocking’s revelation of the beautiful trio’s intentions with Gemma, the blossoming relationship between him and Harper became my most anticipated plot line.
I appreciate the backstories of Hocking’s characters, but most of the action I craved was packed into the last quarter of the book, which I closed still wanting more. Needless to say, I am very excited for the second book in the trilogy and hope that the sequel will have all the conflict I am expecting.
In the first few chapters, I couldn’t shake the similarity with TWILIGHT. The setting seemed so familiar, as did the female protagonists’ shy interest in the beautiful and mysterious newcomers. The comparisons ended there, thankfully. WAKE is a great adventure story with a varied set of characters who are courageous, sensitive and funny. I suspect that it will make waves in the young adult paranormal genre.
Reviewed by Kim Naples on August 19, 2012