I was warned before I started reading As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott that it is a little strange. And it is. I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Scott's in general, and I think I will always read her books. I think part of the reason that I love her stories so much is that she doesn't follow a set path. I'm sure she's very successful with her contemporary love stories, like Perfect You and Bloom. But she also isn't afraid to write hard and difficult things like she did in Living Dead Girl or just generally change things up. So it always feels like a bit of a surprise picking up an Elizabeth Scott book, and I like that.
What I also love is her style of writing and her effortless way of connecting emotionally to her characters and to the story. She did that with As I Wake without me even realising it. As I Wake is a difficult story to describe... It's about a girl, Ava, who wakes up and has no memory of her surroundings, her personal history, even herself. She recalls no details of her mother, of her house, her friends, her school, or the boy she's had a crush on before.
What she does have, is this lingering feeling of not belonging. And as her memories start to resurface, they paint a picture and a life very different to the one Ava is leading. In her memories, Ava seems to live in a type of dystopian society in which jobs and food and luxuries are controlled by somebody else. How and why these two worlds connect are at the heart of As I Wake.
And while I just didn't get this whole alternate universe concept (it was far too strange and it felt too distant to be believeable), I did really love lots of the rest of the book. The first half of the book as Ava wakes up and has no sense of familiarity or awareness of where or who she is was written in such a believeable way. It reminded me a bit of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson and it kept me reading As I Wake to find out more, to answer these questions that I had.
And at the same time, I loved the observations and thoughts that Ava has regarding her mother and her friends. The relationship between Ava and her mother is rather sweet and really pulled at my heartstrings. I liked seeing how different and the same Ava's friends turn out to be in different but similar situations. But the relationship that seems to dominate this story is that of between Ava and Morgan. How and why does she remember him? Perhaps I'm just a big romantic, but I love the idea of Ava and Morgan, I really do.
It wasn't until the final third of the book that I realised how emotional I felt about these characters. I wanted the best for all of them, even though it seemed impossible. And despite the strangeness of the structure and premise of the novel, I still found myself shedding tears at the end. Because despite the world these characters live in, they still felt real and believeable to me.