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Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them - and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.
Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers . . . but only in exchange for her trust.
"When 17-year-old Ava awakens in an unfamiliar house with a woman she doesn't know claiming to be her mother, the stage is set for what proves to be both a gripping thriller and swoony love story, a doomed romance with a touch of science fiction. Tension builds from the outset, as Ava tries to come to grips with the amnesia she's diagnosed with, as well as her hazy memories of a very different world--one in which she vaguely remembers certain people from her "new" life and where pervasive governmental surveillance is the norm. When a mystery boy, Morgan, appears, Ava begins to unravel where she came from, who she is, and who she wants to be, choices that will resonate for teens who, like Ava, may at times feel like strangers in their own lives. Readers might think they know where the story is going, but Scott (Between Here and Forever) succeeds in weaving an unpredictable course that will have them on the edge of their seats, and fully satisfied when the answers come." -- Publishers Weekly
"The words wake up begin many of the chapters in this purposefully disorienting novel. Is it a command from narrator Ava to herself as she tries to shake off the amnesia that has left her with no memory of her current life and fleeting, headache-inducing visions of another one? Or are the instructions coming from someone else? Though the source isn't always clear, it doesn't have to be--Scott allows readers to immerse themselves in Ava's dizzying, seductive back-and-forth between parallel worlds. In this world, Ava seems to be a more-or-less average teen--she has a clique at school, a protective single mother, etc.--who suffered an undiagnosed brain-related injury or infection. In her troubling daydreams of another world, she was an outcast, an orphan who was raised and trained as an informer by the government and then fell in love with the boy she was assigned to monitor. Scott addresses issues of identity and safety, much as she did in Grace and Living Dead Girl, and forces Ava to make a difficult decision. Should she stay in her relatively safe new existence--"I don't belong here, but I could. This world is brighter, happier, and in it I have choices"--or should she return home to face danger with the boy, Morgan, who has "walked through worlds" to find her? There's no easy answer, which is why readers will be thinking about Ava's story long after it ends." The Horn Book
"Let me start this review by saying, what you think you know about this book is probably wrong. I read the blurb, saw the cool cover and was all happy because it's the second new Elizabeth Scott book this year and I like Elizabeth Scott. Her books are usually contemporary and cute and involve guys I wish were real. So when I started reading this book, I thought it would be similar to her others. But then the more I read, the more I realized this was completely different from her other stuff. And it was absolutely brilliant.
Unfortunately for you, dear reader, I cannot completely reveal why this book is brilliant. I will say that the thing I've been wanting more in YA is in this book. It was a surprise (a very welcome surprise) that you have to work out with the narrator and when I figured it out, I frakkin' celebrated. I want more books like this. (Please, please, authors, write more books like this.)
Okay, let me tell you what I can. Ava is the narrator. She wakes up and knows absolutely nothing. She doesn't know who she is, where she is, or what is happening around her. It reminded me, in a way, of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, which is also a brilliant book with a mystery behind the narrator's amnesia. The more Ava interacts with the people and places around her, the more she remembers a different place, which is where the mystery really kicks in. What's caused Ava's amnesia? What's real? Who are these people Ava sees in her visions/memories/episodes and why do they look so familiar?
From the beginning I was spinning theories of what I thought was going on. Most of them came from TV or books I've read, but nothing I thought of completely fit the situation, which is great. I love not being able to figure out what's happening until the end, or near the end as the case may be.
The part I couldn't get to fit until the end was the boy Ava sees the most in her visions. He was an anomaly who played a large role. I loved everything about him. At first you have no idea who he is or how he connects to Ava, but after a while, it doesn't matter. His relationship to Ava is the central point to this book and what pushed it over the edge from brilliant to I-will-tell-everyone-about-this-book brilliant.
Yes, it's that good. And yes, I recommend it to everyone. I don't care if you've read her books before and they 'weren't for you'. I don't care if you don't like mysteries or books where the main character can't remember anything. Whatever excuse you have, I don't care. You're reading this book. The day it's released. Add it to your to-be-read lists, mark September 15th down on your calendar, and set a reminder alarm to visit your local bookstore because this is a great book and you should read it. " -- watchYAreading?
I enjoyed As I Wake and was immediately drawn into the story from the first page. I sympathized for Ava because she wakes up and has no idea who she is or where she is. She is only being told by other people who she is but she has a strong feeling that maybe they aren't telling her the truth. The memories she does have are set in a different world and include a mysterious boy. I really liked the character Morgan and learning about his relationship with Ava through Ava's memories.
As I Wake was nothing like what I was expecting but in a good way and it is hard to explain without giving away to much. I enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery to Ava's life and what happened to her memory. The more memories that Ava remembered the more I tried to figure out what happened and who she is but I was still surprised when it all started to come together." -- The Reading Geek
Still she has flashes of familiarity--a classmate's sad eyes, a friend's power-hungry smile, her mother's tired anxiety--that, along with brief stretches of memory, gradually lead her to the realization that she is from another, parallel world where she knows different versions of the friends and antagonists surrounding her. The world of Ava's memory is brutal and hyper-surveilled, and she was a nothing in it, trying to work her way up by becoming a spy for the government. When her assigned target---and, it turns out, love interest-shows up in her current reality, everything begins to unravel. The glimpses of the way various individuals change (or don't) in different situations, how they are honed or broken or corrupted, are rich with both chills and poignancy.
Ava herself is a complex, involving character, a survivor who got to where she is by never sticking her neck out, and it is interesting to watch her weigh safety against responsibility, love against fear. Hand this to fans of Shusterman's Unwind and Scott's own Grace "-- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"I am absolutely speechless. Elizabeth Scott has out done herself with this book. She has gone above and beyond all of her books and even other books !!! She takes this book to a whole new level. It just blew me away! As I Wake is something you HAVE to TRY to read. I LOVE LOVE LOVED it !!!" -- Beneath the Cover
The Story behind As I Wake: I actually wrote the book in late 2007-early summer 2008 for fun. Yes, this book was so much fun to write and is, honestly, the kind of book I wanted to read when I was sixteen, but wasn't able to, so I think it's so cool that it's out there now. When I sent my agent the novel in the summer of 2008, she read the book, liked it, but wasn't sure it would sell as, it was--and still is--an odd duck of a book. So I shelved it, figuring there wasn't any chance it would sell. Well, fast forward to 2010, and imagine my surprise when my editor at Dutton read it and liked it! I'm glad I took a chance in sending it to her, I'm even happier that she liked it, and I hope you do too.
But Where Did You Get The Idea?: I wrote As I Wake because of my obsession with the idea that there is not just one world/reality but many (as suggested by modal realism), as well as life in 1980s East Germany (yes, there once was an East Germany!), especially the role played by the Stasi. I also wrote it because I'm also a sucker for true love.
Wait, wait, wait. What the heck is modal realism? What's this Stasi thing?
There's a great introduction to modal realism here and you can read more about the Stasi here and here. As for life in East Germany during the 1980s, I highly suggest Anna Funder's Stasiland, which I found fascinating. (I should note that when I wrote the book, it was out of print and I barely managed to get a copy of an older edition, but now that it's back in print I highly recommend it )
Is everything in the book factual?Nope. Modal realism is just a theory, and I played with it. I also did not strictly adhere to what life in 1980s East Germany was like, although I tried to stay as true as I could to what I'd read about the role of the Stasi, simply because their presence in everyday life was really amazingly in-depth. (At one point, it's estimated that one out of every seven East Germans was somehow involved with the Stasi!)
High-res cover here