Book Review of Wake by Amanda Hocking

Posted July 12, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: August 7th, 2012
Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Received ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb: Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

Review: Wake had a great story concept. It could have been an original mermaid story with a lot of depth. It was an inventive idea and I liked it. Cursed sirens needed to find a substitute girl to make their group of four again because they need to have four at all times. They pick Gemma because she is strong, beautiful, and a competitive swimmer.  Of course there is a romance in there as well. It’s YA. It almost has to have a romance. Well, it doesn’t, but you will be hard-pressed to NOT find a romance in a YA book these days. Unfortunately, this book was pretty lousy. I’m just not going to sugar coat this review. I don’t have it in me. The story concept was a good one, but the rest of this book tanked majorly with me. I was bored to tears. 


The writing was awkward. REALLY awkward. The narration was odd. I felt almost the entire time like I was being told a story. The writing style was very detached and there was a lot of odd POV switching that left me feeling really confused. Was it deliberate or was the writing just THAT bad? The book was written in the the third person but we would enter both Gemma and her sister Harper’s minds in the span of a couple paragraphs. No page break, no new chapter, just a really bizarre third person multiple POV that I still can’t figure out. I think it was unintentional and I hope it will be straightened out before the final copy is released, but as a reader, you have to worry a little if the author doesn’t know how to write and stay in one POV.


Most of the characters were pretty flat. I didn’t mind the protagonist, Gemma, but the rest of the characters were cardboard cutouts. Her sister Harper was annoying and stifling and I wanted to throttle her throughout the entire book. Gemma was not helpless and I don’t know why she never stood up to her sister. Harper was ridiculous and she continued to annoy me. I was an only child, and so I don’t know what it’s like to have a sister, but I can tell you that Harper’s behavior would not fly with me. Ever. And then she kept calling her dad Brian, and that was really weird too. There was just a lot of weirdness in this book.


There was hardly any imagery and no sensory language. I had a hard time picturing the setting and the tone of the writing left me really bored and unconnected to the characters. In places the dialogue was very awkward, and then there was an issue of there not being ENOUGH dialogue. The author TOLD me the story throughout the entire book. And I hate that. I really, truly, hate it. 


I haven’t read a single mermaid story that has worked for me yet. The highest rating I have given a mermaid book is 3 stars, and unfortunately, this book will not be getting that high of a rating. I was really disappointed with this one, and I am left wondering if I should even bother reading any more of Ms. Hocking’s books. Maybe her writing style just isn’t for me. I need depth in my stories. This one stayed completely on the surface. Not recommended. Yes, it really was that bad.

14 responses to “Book Review of Wake by Amanda Hocking

    • They really are. I sort of really enjoyed the vampire series. I read that last year and my tastes have changed though, so I don’t know if I still would. I still intent to read the Trylle trilogy and I hope I have better luck with that.

  1. Oof. That writing does sound completely awful. That kind of stuff definitely drives me crazy as well.

    I’m reading a dystopia off and on that has the parents called by their first names AND by mom and dad. Not only that, but it’s first person. It just does not work. Very confusing.

    So thrilled this is in my review pile. Oh well.

  2. I’ve only read one Amanda Hocking book and it was one of my most ranty reviews ever (thus my most popular on goodreads).

    Why are mermaids books so hard to write? So frustrating!

  3. Amy

    Oh no! I am really looking forward to this one. I am on they tour for it in August. Great review! You have a lot of great points to why it didn’t work for you.

  4. It is such a shame when the idea for a book is great but the writing let’s it down. I know what you mean about mermaid books, I’ve read a few and I haven’t enjoyed any of them, what is is about them?

    I haven’t read any of Amanda’s books, I keep hearing mixed reviews, so I think I will pass on this. Great, honest review, Kara

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