Alexandra Martin is a bespectacled, recent high school graduate excited about starting her fourth summer internship at the local Gem and Mineral Museum. She is excited about the work and about seeing her best friend — and fellow self-described “nerd” — Becca. But she is most excited about seeing her boss, Nicholas, an attractive graduate student Alex has quietly crushed on for four years. Everything is set for a great summer.
Until gorgeous and popular Luke Reed enters the picture. When they were children, Luke and Alex were inseparable. But then high school struck and the two followed different paths: Alex, the path of scholarship and social invisibility; Luke, the path of superstar sports player and top of the social food chain.
Alex is not happy about Luke’s presence and she does her best to fight her feelings for him — still a mixture of love and hate. But then Luke makes the mistake of kissing an enchanted princess and all bets are off. Alex must come to his rescue. But will he prove to be her Prince Charming?
Author Jessica Grey has created a believable and enthralling fantasy world balanced between our familiar reality and the realm of fairy enchantments. Her teenage characters feel like teens, though they are on the verge of adulthood. They deal with problems eighteen year olds have — school, life, love — without spouting annoying, pretentious, or overly adult dialogue. At the same time, I think that Awake, though listed as Young Adult Fantasy, holds enough adult appeal that older readers (like this one!) will still find much to love.
Grey engages very consciously with the ideas that we hold about the Sleeping Beauty story upon which Awake is based, most of which come from Disney. She gives us some recognizable signposts pointing toward what we already know, but adds quite a few new turns that add wonderful layers to the story. The biggest turn being that here it is Prince Charming who is asleep and the Princess who has to rescue him. It is a delight to see what ingenious (and potentially criminal) schemes Alex and Becca invent to rescue Luke.
I highly recommend Awake as a quick and enchanting read. Go on, indulge your inner princess.