Thursday, August 18, 2022

Music, Romance Carry This Young Adult Novel

Wild Awake

Seventeen-year-old Kiri is planning to really get her music career off this summer. These plans include practicing her piano piece five hours a day, winning Battle of the Bands with her soon-to-be boyfriend who lives next door, and being accepted into the master class of elite who will perform in the Showcase-within-the-Showcase.
Kiri is assigned some practical chores, too. Her parents who happen to be on a summer long cruise expect her to water the azaleas, take accurate phone messages, and call her older brother Denny if need be.

MaggieMoran
Maggie Moran

On the first day with the parents away, Kiri spends it in the basement of her neighbor’s house. Lukas has the perfect set-up. His basement is almost sound proof and the cool cave-like temperature keeps him from sweating too much during long drum sessions. Kiri sets her synthesizer near and both rock out for hours of improvisation.
So much for the five hours of piano, her day long jam session with Lukas will have to do. Kiri rationalizes the goofing off as practice without memorization. Anyway, how will she see Lukas and be available for another impromptu kiss if she is at home on the piano stool.
As night falls and the two fight over the band’s name, Snake Eats Kitten versus Sonic Drift, Kiri is asked to stay for supper. It is pasta night at the Malcywycks and Lukas’s mom, Petra, is worried about her nutrition. Petra is a social worker by day and a slight meddler by night.
Kiri does not mind the inquisition as long as she can stay near Lukas. She actually likes the touchy-feely questions because they present another opportunity to bond with him.
The phone is ringing when she finally gets home that night. She is tempted to let it go to message thinking it is probably her parents, but at the last minute she dives for it. “Byrd residence,” as she drops the leftovers and scrimmages for a pencil to take those must have accurate notes.
The voice on the other end is slurring his words as he asks if this is Sukey’s home number. Kiri snaps to attention. Suki is her sister who died in an automobile accident five years ago. “Hello?”
“Yes, this is Doug Fieldgrass and I have Sukey-girls stuff. Can you come by tonight and pick it up?”
Debut author, Hilary T. Smith, has written a mesmerizing young adult book in “Wild Awake.” Kiri not only retrieves her sister’s things, she also finds out that she was murdered. Readers will watch Kiri’s mind slowly unravel and then wind back up in this unpredictable plot.
Maggie Moran is director of learning resources for Northwest Community College 

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