Wakefield by Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner
Published: 5 October 2012 (MuseItUp Publishing)
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Received free copy from author in exhange for an honest review
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Orphans Astrid Chalke and Max Fisher meet when they’re sent to live at Wakefield, a residential and educational facility for teens with psychiatric and behavioral problems. Astrid’s roommate cuts herself with anything sharp she can get her hands on and Max’s roommate threatens him upon introduction.
Just as Astrid and Max develop a strong bond and begin to adjust to the constant chaos surrounding them, a charming and mysterious resident of Wakefield named Teddy claims he has unexplainable abilities. Sometimes he can move things without touching them. Sometimes he can see people’s voices emanating from their mouths. Teddy also thinks that some of the Wakefield staff are on to him.
I was sent this book by one of the authors to review and thought the premise sounded really interesting! Astrid and Max are two teenagers living in a residential until for teens with emotional and psychiatric problems. Wakefield focuses around the lives and goings-on of the characters on that ward.
I found the beginning a little difficult to get into because we're introduced to Astrid and Max, and then there's some darting about in time between their current situation and Wakefield and how they first arrived. Once I settled into it, however, I really started to enjoy the story.
The book alternates from Astrid and Max's POV which I thought was really effective, because the teens on the unit spend a lot of their time separated by gender, so it gave a great insight as to what was happening with both the girls and the boys. I felt the two characters made good narrators because they're sort of observing a lot of interesting things happening around them whilst being quite quiet people themselves. Ocassionally there were also chapters from one of the staff members which I actually really liked. It helped give a perspective of what was going on outside of what the teenagers knew about, which really ramped up the suspense. I thought that was really clever even though it was unusual for a YA book.
The two main characters become friends and it took a little whole for me to feel that friendship, but I could see that they had similar backgrounds and had a lot in common. I think there was one scene where I felt they really bonded and from then on I enjoyed the chemistry between them. I found myself more drawn to some of the other characters living with them, particularly Ally, Laura, Azrael and Teddy who all had some interesting things going on.
The real draw of Wakefield is the fact that it seems like there's a lot more going on that meets the eye. Weird things start happening to some of the characters, and as they start to talk to each other it becomes clear something bigger is going on. Why are they there? Why are they on this weird medication? Why are some of the inpatients being treated differently?
The suspense was kept up for quite a while and even though I could kind of see where things were going, I didn't mind the wait and it spurred me on to keep reading. It did feel very similar to another book I'd read in parts (The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong) but the fact I can compare it to one of my favourite books and still say it managed to pull it off I think is a huge compliment! If you've read and enjoyed The Summoning then I think you'd like Wakefield, even if that similarity does take away some of the surprises.
The ending of this book blew me away and I'd definitely be interested in reading the next book. It was a pleasantly surprising read with plenty of action and suspense! And a book I would definitely recommend.
Books like this: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong