Friday, May 31, 2013

Wild Awake

It's the first day of summer, and I know three things: One, I am happy. Two, I am stoned. Three, if Lukas Malcywyck's T-shirt was any more red I would lean over and bite it like an apple.
And so opens Wild Awake by Hilary T Smith. This is one I have been waiting for for quite a little while - and it's out now in the US!

You, if you are like me, will adore this. Hilary's words surprise and delight; the prose so careful and deliberate and wondrous. The story pings and zings across the pages, and the voice of protagonist Kiri Byrd (Serious Piano Student) is beguiling. After an unexpected phone call, everything begins to unravel and Kiri pedals through her city and the night, night after night, trying to discover just what did happen to her sister Sukey those years ago and then afterwards she continues on, grasping and gasping at adventure.
Ahead of me, the glittering angles of downtown beckon dangerously, like a drawer full of knives.
Who knew this was out there, waiting for me? Who knew there was an entire midnight world out there while I was lying in bed?
I knew from the first paragraph that this book was for me, but the description of a boy she meets in the fourth chapter just confirmed it:
He's huge. Hagridesque.

Hilary used to be The (anonymous) Intern, you've probably read her blog. It's damn good. Once, we looked at each other's bookshelves. Now she posts not only about books and writing, but also all of her incredible travels and her artistic, nomadic life. She prefers to live for free or for cheap: read about it here at YA Highway, it's truly inspiring. Where can I get me a doom shack?

And the most wonderful thing is that, because I was too impatient to wait to read this book, I casually mentioned it at work and our managing and commissioning editor (also an Intern Spills fan, fortuitously) ran with it. Then everyone in the office read it and loved it and so our m&c ed asked 'please may we buy the rights?' and now we'll be bringing out an Australian/New Zealand edition later this year (not too much later).

I'll post more on Wild Awake in the next little while. It's one of those ones that not only had me reading all in a fluster of page flipping, sharp-intake-of-breath-taking, revelling and reckoning, but also one of those gems that I know will help to grow me as a writer, as well as a reader.

Congratulations, Hilary!

UPDATE: Wild Awake now has a special cover for its ANZ release - see here!


  1. So excited to hear that Wild Awake is coming to Australia! I've followed and loved Hilary T Smith's blog/s and have heard such amazing things about her novel. Can't wait to read it!

  2. yay for an australian edition! i am expecting i will love this one, too :)

    1. We're closing in on a pretty ridonkulously amazing cover, too. Not that it needs a better cover, but I guess it's nice to make something special for this market too. Make it special...

  3. This is a fun read all the way through. I was fully absorbed, and found myself thinking about the story all day. The story and the characters, while really out there, are totally realistic and believable. There were no boring or fake parts to slow down the reading. Wild Awake is on the young adult shelf, but I'm old, and I liked it. We did stuff like this in the 60s too, and the book reminded me of those wild times.

  4. WILD AWAKE was a story that lived up to its promises. It is more than the sum of its parts, more than just delectable prose, sympathetic character, and endearing family mystery. Go in with no anticipation of conventions, and enjoy the wild-awake ride.

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  6. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith is a must-read. Based on this debut, I know that Hilary T. Smith is going to be an exciting voice in YA literature. I can’t wait to read what she writes next!


hey anonymousauruses - give yourselves a name. a nom de plume, a nom de blog. it's more fun that way.