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Scarlett can't remember anything before the age of four. That is, until she meets and inevitably falls for Noah, the gorgeous and mysterious new boy at school who is hiding a major secret of his own --- his family members are part of a potentially murderous cult called Eternal Light. And they want Scarlett. When a car accident suddenly jogs Scarlett's childhood memories, Noah has to decide where his true loyalties lie --- with his family or with the girl he wasn't supposed to fall for.  

This latest novel from Natasha Peterson, author of THE CELLAR, is told from the perspective of both Scarlett and Noah --- a common trend in young adult literature that can often fall flat but works well and is even necessary in this case. The dual perspectives allows the reader to see the different mind-sets of Noah, who was raised outside of traditional society, and Scarlett, who is a "normal" teenager. It also shows the reader both the draws and dangers of the cult lifestyle and way of thinking. 

AWAKE is a genre-crossing thriller and romance with a lot to offer for fans of both.

Set in the UK, AWAKE is a genre-crossing thriller and romance with a lot to offer for fans of both. The story is well-paced and gets especially exciting toward the end. It has a lot of dark themes and is definitely intended for an audience of older young adult readers (is that an oxymoron?). Peterson did an especially good job with all of the cult aspects of this book --- its ideals were well-developed and scarily believable. I continually found myself wanting to learn more about Eternal Light’s members and motivations. The relationship between Noah and Scarlett moved a little too quickly for my taste, but it was balanced out by the solid pacing of the thriller aspects of the plot. 

AWAKE is full of dark twists and turns that will be sure to please fans of thrillers and romances alike. Though I haven't read a lot of books in these genres I can use as a comparison, I would recommend this book to fans of television shows like "The Following" and "Twin Peaks," as well as to anyone who likes a grisly and intriguing story. 

Reviewed by Katherine Szabo on June 9, 2015

by Natasha Preston

  • Publication Date: August 4, 2015
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
  • ISBN-10: 1492618527
  • ISBN-13: 9781492618522