Expected publication: August 7, 2012 (St Martin's)
Source: ATW ARC Tours
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Beautiful. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Thea, and Lexi have caught everyone's attention, including the eye of practical Harper. But it's her sister, Gemma, they've chosen to be part of their group.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma seems to have it all - carefree, pretty, and falling in love with the boy next door. But her greatest passion has always been the water. She craves late night swims under the stars, where she can be alone yet belong to the sea. Lately she's had company. Penn, Thea, and Lexi spend their nights dancing, singing, and partying on the cove--and one night Gemma joins them. When she wakes up groggy on the beach the next morning, she knows something has changed.
Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. As she uncovers the truth about her new mythical powers, Gemma is forced to choose between staying with those she loves or entering a dark world brimming with unimaginable secrets.
After finishing Wake, the first book in sucessful author Amanda Hocking's new Watersong series, despite extremely high hopes, I have incredibly mixed feelings about this novel. While I liked it enough to want to read the next book in the series, I also had some problems connecting with the characters, or really delving beneath the surface layer of this story about three beautiful, dangerous girls. This one also felt entirely TOO rushed, like Hocking wrote it without taking a breath to pause. I feel as if I had barely met the characters when the action started, and never stopped. I closed Wake feeling as if perhaps I was not the target audience.
I found the main character, Gemma, to be very flat; in fact, I found myself wishing that Wake had been told from her sister, Harper's point of view. Harper was a fascinating character, and she was the one I clicked with immediately. Gemma seemed TOO perfect, and honestly, a bit spoiled. Harper took over the role of Mom after an accident left their mother incapacitated, and it was her I wanted to know more about. Yes, Gemma had it hard, too, but I felt like she had everything handed to her - the awesome boy next door (more on him in a minute), being the star of the swim team, etc - and I felt like she didn't really appreciate any of it.
Luckily for Wake, there were several minor characters who saved the story for me - including Alex (the boy next door) who was so sweet and amazingly supportive, and Daniel, who lives and works at the marina where Harper and Gemma's father works. Daniel was mysterious and fascinating - the type of layered, complex character I adore. I really loved watching his interactions with Harper. She's very dedicated and practical, and he's very NOT practical, and they just absolutely were oil and water in the most delightful way. Their chemistry was one of my favorite parts of Wake.
Normally I love Amanda Hocking's books but this one fell flat; instead of being drawn to Penn, Lexi, and Thea, I was repulsed by them. Their actions were incredibly selfish, and they never took into consideration what Gemma wanted or didn't want. I did enjoy the glimpses into their pasts, and the mythology that Hocking spun into Wake, but again, the pacing felt incredibly like going 0 - 60 in about a minute. There was, however, a cliffhanger ending, which left me on the edge of my seat to know where the series goes next.
Overall, with the shaky, jumpy pacing, and the fact that I didn't connect with the main character, and didn't get enough time with the characters I DID like, I can't rate Wake as high as I would like to, but I do encourage you to read it for yourself and see what you think!