Wake by Abria Mattina: A Review

I am delighted to be the debut stop on the review and giveaway tour for Wake by author Abria Mattina. A debut novel that I am sure you will enjoy.  Please take the time to visit the other stops on the tour for more reviews, an interview and the giveaway: Wake Tour Schedule

Wake by Abria MattinaTitle: Wake
Author: Abria Mattina
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: self-published
Ebook/Paperback
Pages: 759
Stars: 4 A Very Good Read
Purchase:  Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Epub book | Barnes & Noble | LuLu (Paperback) | More formats listed here. |

Book Description: 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 her 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.

Here you can enter to Win A Copy of Wake

My Review:

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my responsibility.While this book is often tagged as a YA contemporary romance, or a YA story: I don’t think those simplistic categorizations are complete. Yes, there is romance and there are teenagers as the primary protagonists in the story – but it is so much deeper and more all-encompassing than just tagging it with a Contemporary Romance label.

This story is touchingly and cleverly crafted as 3 or 4 day journal entries: his side then her side where somewhere in the middle lies the real truth fashion.  We have Jem, newly in remission from a long battle with cancer and the treatment and Willa who has just returned to this town after losing a sister to cancer.  The two are introduced in a Social Sciences class in high school, and from there the story begins to unfold.

What the author has done so cleverly is completely immerse each entry with all of the angst, anger, confusion and conflict that are common to the human condition, even without the overbearing weight of cancer, and managed to create two distinct young adults – both of whom are lucky to still be around.  Throughout the 6 months that are contained in the story, we see the characters grow and mature, develop into real people with tangible issues, showing the healing power of openness and acceptance, and what it truly means to love and accept.

Even the secondary characters that are introduced are done so with a flair and a style that creates someone that we all are familiar with, if not exact copies, well enough crafted to give an instant “realness” to them, most of the family members are quite well flushed out, schoolmates tend to be more along the “stereotypical” lunchroom divisions, but even with that generalization there is good depth in characterization.

759 is a healthy amount of pages, and may look quite daunting, but the story really has been trimmed nicely, without many pages of excess.  The need to know what was next, why Willa wore fingerless gloves everywhere, what cancer did Jem have, where would the story go: it went forward at breakneck pace.

As much of the story is told in journal form, and there are several conversations retold from both sides, it could feel stilted to read – but again, very cleverly the author manages to craft dialog that both flows from one speaker to the next, but does so with such concise and clear voice, that the lack of the “he said” then “she said” is not even missed.

There are a couple of spots where words were missed, or typos caused me to stumble as I read – but to be honest, they were nearly inconsequential when I think back on the book.  I just wish that it were available in traditional book form as well as electronic, as I think it’s a book worth passing along to others to read.  While the themes of cancer, and death by extension, are not going to be a first choice read – they are far overshadowed by the joy in acceptance and discovery that happen throughout this story.

**update – this book is available in paperback from LuLu (Paperback)**
Want to know more ?  Read on

About the Author:

 Abria Mattina works as Production Manager for the Ottawa Arts Review, an eclectic literary journal. Her work has appeared in Ottawa’s The Fulcrum and Canculture Magazine. Her poem “Circus” was published in volume 5.2 of the Ottawa Arts Review.

Abria holds a Certificate in Publishing from the New York University Summer Publishing Institute and a degree in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Ottawa. When she isn’t writing she enjoys travelling, eclectic books, blogging, and baking. She lives with her fiance, Daniel.

Her debut novel, Wake, is about the struggle to redefine life after experiencing cancer and caring for an ill loved one.

Find the Author:  Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Find the Book: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Epub book | Barnes & Noble | LuLu (Paperback) | More formats listed here. |

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