Book Jacket


rank 5908
word count 64056
date submitted 19.01.2012
date updated 06.03.2012
genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Young Ad...
classification: universal


Apryl Baker

Snap...crackle...pop. The sounds of bones breaking and shifting and of muscles tearing haunt Alexandria Reed.


For the last five years, Alex has been locked up at Compton Academy, a "school" for the emotionally challenged. She calls it the politically correct way of saying they’re all nuts and Alex has no doubts she’s insane. She comes home to Jacob's Fork to face the demons she left behind her after deceiving the doctors into believing she’s well. Soon after her arrival home though, news of her estranged mother's death brings her uncle back into her life and she and her brother, Jason, learn a terrifying secret about their family.

After questioning her sanity for the last ten years, she discovers the night terrors she's suffered for so long has become a reality. She and her brother are now being hunted because of the secret her family has killed to protect. Her world has been turned upside down, every belief she held true destroyed. Aided by her new friends, who have some dark secrets themselves, can she and Jason survive long enough to figure out the secret behind the secret?

Awakening is the first book in the series Bloodlines

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Chapter Seven


There was a note from Emma on the kitchen table to say she would be out for the evening and that Dad was going to be out with friends as well.  Ha!  If they expect either Jason or I to believe that hogwash they really are naïve.  It’s Friday.  We know they go to the movies on Friday night.  They just go to the cinema three towns over to be less conspicuous.  I so wish they’d come out of the closet and just fess up.  It’d make their lives easier, but then again, maybe the sneaking around is part of the charm of their relationship.

I have the house to myself.  Jason would take a shower after practice and then go meet up with his latest girlfriend.  He’d be out for hours.  A grin spreads over face and I bolt upstairs to change into my penguin pajamas and pull my hair into ponytail.  I am going to veg out and relax.  My mom had left her collection of old Dorris Day movies and I have a fondness for them, especially Pillow Talk.  It’s my all time favorite movie.  Rock Hudson and Dorris Day are not the typical teen movie, I know, but it’s the one thing I have left of my mom and I watched them incessantly growing up. 

I wonder if I can wheedle someone into delivering a pizza to me.  Pop’s Diner makes great pizza’s, but I’m in my jammies and don’t want to change clothes or drive back into town.  My stomach is craving pizza though.  Maybe Emma has one in the freezer I can pop into the oven.  The fridge yields no pizza, but I do grab a can of Coke and snag a bag of chips from the pantry to tide me over.  Dad has a home theater couch in the media room and I take full advantage of the reclining end after I push play on the DVD player.  I just need to spend a little me time after the trauma of the last two days. 

The doorbell rings.


So much for me time.  Maybe I can ignore it.  I’m in my favorite pj’s and answering the door dressed like this could be a bit embarrassing.  Could be my new neighbor too.  Oh, God, definitely embarrassing and so not gonna happen.

Answer the door, the voice in my head laughs.

Crap, not again.  The panic starts to creep back in.  Why did I have to start hearing voices now, after all this time?  It’s not fair.   

The doorbell rings again followed by a loud knock.

No way am I answering the door.  It could be something I’m hearing in response to the voices.  I’ve read about this.  I’m not giving into the delusions.  I refuse to be crazy.

“Bess, you home?”

Morgan?  I jump up and when I get to the door, I look through the peephole and sure enough, Morgan is standing on my porch holding a pizza box. 

I unlock the door and crack it open just a bit.

“Hey,” he grins at me, that perpetual laugh in his eyes.  “I wanted to apologize for earlier and figured I’d bring pizza and some pop to make it up to you.”

I frown at him and listen hard for any sign of voices in my head, but they are silent.  It’s only me and Morgan and…pizza.  I can smell the divine aroma wafting from the box.  My stomach growls and he laughs. 

“So, can I come in or not?”

The pizza made up my mind for me.  I stepped back and let him in.  “Shoe’s off.  You track up Emma’s floors and she’ll hide you.”  

He put the box on the coffee table and set the two liter of Coke in the floor.  “Plates?”

“I’ll get them.”

I snag two plates and two of Emma’s plastic oversized glasses we use on pizza nights and then went back to find Morgan propped in the middle section of the couch.  He’s actually grinning at the phone conversation taking place on the screen. 

“Here,” I hand him a plate and a glass before diving into the box.  It has all my favorite toppings and my stomach growls again.  Morgan is pouring drinks so I dump two slices on the plate he’s got balanced on his lap. 

“What is this?” he nods towards the screen.

“Pillow Talk,” I say and then bite into the cheesy mess and sigh out loud. 

“It’s funny,” he says around a mouthful of pizza.

I laugh at the obvious surprise in his voice.  Most kids our age have never even heard of these old movies from the sixties.  “It’s pretty old.”

“This is a nice place.”  His eyes are transfixed to the PS3 and the mountain of games beside it.  Dad, Jason, and I are all video game junkies.  We have everything from Call of Duty to Rock Band.

“So you like old movies?”

“Not all of them.  This one is from my mom’s collection.  I grew up watching a lot of the old Dorris Day movies.  Weird, I know.”

“Nah, not weird, just different.  Your parents not home?”

“Dad’s out for the night.”

“And your mom?”

I sigh.  I hate it when people ask me about my mother.  It’s a touchy subject.

“My mom left us a long time ago.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No worries, I got over it.”

“You don’t sound over it, Bess.”  His eyes are full of concern and questions.  “What happened?”

My eyes close and I try to find the words to tell him to bugger off.  He did bring me pizza and I don’t want to be a jerk, but I don’t really know him well enough to tell him about my mom.

“My mom and dad died when I was six,” he tells me suddenly.  My eyes snap open and turn back to him.  “They were in a plane crash.  My grandpa raised me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No worries,” he winked at me.  “I’m okay.  My granddad made sure I was loved and it’s not so bad anymore.  I still miss them, though.  I was only six when they died, but I remember them.  It helps to talk about it.  Promise.”

“That’s what everyone always said, just talk about it, it’ll get better.”  Even to me, I sound bitter.  It isn’t as simple as telling him about my mom.  My mom leaving is what screwed me up.  It broke something inside that I’m not sure can ever be fixed.  I hate her.

Morgan tucked his feet under him and waited.

Honeysuckle surrounds me.  The faint scent of dirt, leaves, and the musty smell of the forest invade my senses and I relax.  Morgan has such a calming effect on me.  It’s bizarre, bur I find myself curling up on the couch and nodding.  I want to tell him about my mom, about me, about everything.  I need to.



“I call it The Event, but to be honest I don’t remember much about it.”  My eyes drift close and I let myself go back there, to that day and I start to tell him about it.  “I’d just turned seven a few days before.  I had on my brand new blue sundress and my white sandals.  Mama had just taken me to get my hair cut.  I remember hating long hair back then.  We’d stopped in the park and I was playing on the swing.  The sun was bright, but it wasn’t hot.  It wasn’t even noon yet, so it felt really nice out.  The birds were singing and I could hear the wind in the trees.  My favorite thing about the park was the swings.  I loved them and I made Mama push me.  She laughed every time I squealed when I went too high, but I loved to go higher and higher.  It never scared me, I could fly.  One minute I was up in the air and the next is just a jumbled mess of images and sounds.”

I shudder at the memory, but I’m not terrified like I normally am.  Something’s different this time.  “Dad said a bunch of wild dogs attacked us and that I fell and hit my head when Mom and I were running, but I’m not sure I believe him.  I didn’t see what attacked us, or at least I don’t think I did, but somehow, I just get the impression they were bigger than dogs, maybe not even dogs at all.  I can still see images of snapping, snarling teeth and I can almost hear something, but I don’t know what.”

“You hit your head?”

I nodded.  I’d had a goose egg the size of a baseball.  It’d hurt like the devil.  “Yeah, I did.”

“And your mom left the next day?”

“I hate her.”  The words pop out, but they are true.

Again, Morgan just waited patiently for me to continue.  He didn’t push or prod, just sat there, sipping his pop and waiting.

I remember the day she left.  It’s a little odd I can remember that, but not what happened in the park,” I sigh with old frustration.  She put her bags in the car and kissed us all good-bye like she was going on a trip.  Jason stood stone-faced and Dad worked hard to keep a smile plastered on his face for us.  I cried and begged my mom to take me with her, not to leave me.  I remember running after the car as it pulled away until I fell down so hard I bloodied both knees, all the while screaming for her to come back.  It was my brother who picked me up and brushed the dirt off my clothes.  He told me not to cry anymore, that he loved me and would never leave me.  I’d always have him and no one could ever take that away from us.”

Morgan’s hand found mine as a tear slipped free.  I haven’t cried over my mom in ten years.  I’m more than a little shocked.

“I never really recovered,” I told him.  “Something broke inside that day and it’s been broken since.  I guess I just shut down.  I stopped talking and my friends left when I wouldn’t play with them anymore.  I’ve had nightmares since then too.  Really awful nightmares.  The doctors diagnosed me with Night Terrors.  I started to feel afraid all the time, even when I knew there was nothing to be afraid of.  I couldn’t sleep and by the time I hit junior high, you could say I was a real basket case.”

“I’ll bet Janna didn’t help.”

I laugh bitterly.  “She’s the reason I was in Compton Academy.”

“The private school you went to?”

His blue eyes are so warm, so kind.  They sucker me into confessing it all.



“The mental institute rumors aren’t too far off base,” I sigh.  “Janna found out I was seeing a shrink and I walked up on her telling everyone just that and I snapped.  I wanted to hurt her, Morgan.  Physically hurt her.  The images from the park flooded back to me and I could feel myself reaching out to grab her.  I scared myself and ran to keep from putting my hands around her neck.  My nightmares were all I could see.  Next thing I remember, I woke up in the hospital.  Compton Academy was my shrink’s idea.  It was a school that helped the mentally unstable.”

“So you were in the loony bin.”

“It was a real school,” I sigh.  “We had all the normal classes a regular school would have, but we also had therapy and we spent every moment there being watched, poked, and prodded.  I hated it, but I stayed because I knew I needed help.”

“So, you’re better now?”

“God, I hope so,” I mutter.  The voices in my head has me doubting that. 

He smiles at me.  “You are better, Bess, you’re just worrying too much.  It’s time to loosen up a bit and have some fun.”

“It doesn’t bother you I really have been in a mental institute or that I could still be just as crazy as I was then?”

“Nope,” he grins.  “Speaking of fun, think we can turn off the movie and power up that PS3?”

“Sure.”  He flew to the cabinet housing the games and is drooling by the time I turn the TV to the right input channel.  He’s pulled out all the shooter games, my personal favorites.  He’s like a kid on Christmas.  I’m awed by the fact that I’ve told him most of my secrets and he’s still here.  He’s not running away.    He throws me a handle and before I know it, we are laughing.  He didn’t mention my mom again.

Maybe I do have a shot at normal.





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Jehmka wrote 705 days ago

Awakening was a shocking surprise for me. How is it that a book, this well-written, can be so poorly neglected by authonomy readers? I have just finished sampling two other books, ranked among the top 100, which I could not in all good conscience back.

OK… Now that I got the rant out of my way…

Awaking is compelling.
The writing is clean and crisp, with a contemporary feel. “I taste blood as I stare into hell.” There's a good balance between narrative and dialogue throughout, both of which are convincing. It’s easy to read, and kept me continuously engaged. I immediately liked Alex Reed. She brought to mind Susanna Kaysen, the MC in Girl Interrupted.

I can’t leave anything un-nitpicked though.
“Very weird.” I have a tendency to do this in my writing too – adding these little bits of telling. “Very bizarre.” I would delete these and see how it reads, see if you lose anything. I don't think they're needed.

““Long story.” I shift in my seat. It isn’t something I want to go into. I don’t know Saidie well enough to spill my secrets. It’s a miracle…” It feels to me like you're saying too much here, spoon-feeding the reader – telling.

That’s it! That’s all I could find to complain about.

I give Awakening the full six stars. I’ll certainly recommend it to others too.

Philthy wrote 722 days ago

Hi Apryl,
I’m here for our read swap. So sorry it’s taken me this long to get here. Below are my findings/comments. They are of course my humblest opinions so take them for whatever they’re worth and feel free to disregard what you don’t agree with.
Chapter One
Great opening-line hook.
“Just calm down.” If you mutter it, I think it ought to be in quotes.
Not sure “looms” is the best word there. It makes it sound like it appears out of thin air.
“behind those doors almost as bad as the storm…” I’d add “is” after “almost” to avoid fragmenting.
“overheard” should be “overhead”
Your language is very strong and you have a great sense of building tension. I think at times you get excessively wordy, however. Sometimes it seems like you’re trying to add to the drama, but in reality, the extra wordiness has the opposite effect. It also steers you sometimes more toward telling as opposed to showing. For instance, “But that person is gone, I remind myself forcefully.” How does the MC remind him/herself forcefully? That’s kind of vague. Instead, show us an action or expression so we can see the MC reminding himself in a forceful manner.
Otherwise, this is a great start. You have a great YA voice and strong dialogue, which makes for solid characterization. A likeable MC, too. I can see this doing well here.
Best of luck!
(Deshay of the Woods)

Edwin P. Magezi wrote 744 days ago

This is intriguing. It has a strong narrative voice in Alex. I loved the way you described your characters, very vivid and almost personal.
The prose is clean as far as my untrained eyes can see and I barely found any errors to nitpick.

Chapter 1
-> She just looks way to perky -- (too)

You should start campaigning for your book to get it noticed. I'm sure it will pick up backings from the YA writers and more.

Highly rated and will keep it on my w/l till I have space to shelve it.

Edwin - The First Oath.

Oriax wrote 773 days ago

This isn’t my usual kind of read, but I’ve enjoyed the story so far. You have a very fluid style and a great sense of detail. I’m not sure about the opening, I’d be tempted to go straight into chapter one. The prologue just tells us vaguely what we are going to find out in the first chapter anyway. I’d change the word eulogy to epitaph, since she isn’t really giving herself praise.
I like the way you have the storm mirror Alex’s mood. Your descriptions of the new people Alex meets are extremely well done. I have very definite pictures of all of them.
The pace of the story is good too, keeping the background until chapter three so it doesn’t hinder the action. You hint at The Event and Alex’s breakdown, without giving away the details. You then make the transition to a dreamlike sequence with Alex as a big predator, which is clever in that we assume this is something to do with her problems of rage control. Maybe also the mysterious event.
The only thing that didn’t work particularly well for me was all the exchanges with the three boys. There’s a bit too much staring going on and shivers up and down the spine for me. Add the unique eye colours, blue-black hair and you’re heading a bit too close to cliché.

You write very well, the story is appealing and well-paced, with a strong hint of mystery and fantasy. There’s a strong budding romance too, and the threat of the bully from the past bringing Alex’s nightmares back to the surface again.
Well done. I’ve given this five stars and think it will do extremely well with its target audience.

Shelby Z. wrote 785 days ago

I read to 25 and boy has it gotten crazy.
I not normally do I care fore these types of stories, but there is something about it I like.
Good work.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

Shelby Z. wrote 787 days ago

Read to chapter 9.
You have a great style to develop your story and characters.
I want to read some more later.
Good luck.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

katjay wrote 787 days ago

Hi Apryl
Sorry to be late getting back to you – I’ve busy editing. Have just read the first few chapters of Awakening and I’m impressed. You have an easy, natural writing style. Some fine, descriptive passages and the dialogue is natural and totally suited to the setting and your target market. Alex is an engaging MC and it’s great to see her overcome her doubts and fears. I loved it when she first stood up to Janna: ‘Then again, if I had been in a psycho ward all these years, making me angry might not be the brightest idea, either.’ Well done!
Kat x Hens from Hell

Marisa Elyse wrote 789 days ago

Reading your first few chapters, I did connect with your MC. Your writing is good and descriptive, haunting if I were to describe it. Seeing as how this is a YA Romance story, I expected the almost instant connection between the MC and the guy, so be careful of not making it too cliche.

Also, be careful of info dumps when it comes to explaining something. The tiny bit before the beginning of the first chapter was really good and set the tone of the story, but I think you can ax the whole 'I am MC, and this is my story', since we'll find out it's her story when the first chapter starts.

Besides those quirks, I do find the story you have interesting, and will look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Tower of Paradise

Marisa Elyse wrote 789 days ago

Reading your first few chapters, I did connect with your MC. Your writing is good and descriptive, haunting if I were to describe it. Seeing as how this is a YA Romance story, I expected the almost instant connection between the MC and the guy, so be careful of not making it too cliche.

Also, be careful of info dumps when it comes to explaining something. The tiny bit before the beginning of the first chapter was really good and set the tone of the story, but I think you can ax the whole 'I am MC, and this is my story', since we'll find out it's her story when the first chapter starts.

Besides those quirks, I do find the story you have interesting, and will look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Tower of Paradise

Shelby Z. wrote 791 days ago

I read just chapter one, but I fine it really interesting. The way you put it in first person is really creative. It makes the reader feel all your main character does.
It moves at an easy pace here, but that is good since it is to introduce things to to the reader.
You really did a good job here.
Great work!

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

Dianna Lanser wrote 798 days ago


I too read the first three chapters of your book. I am very impressed at your writing style and your abilty to bring your characters to life. Very easy and enjoyable reading. I especially was aware of the gift you have of describing people, especially their eyes - unique words and colors. Alex seems like a strong girl despite her difficult past, but she has a suportive family to help her through. I believe you have built the background story very nicely and to tell you the truth, I don't want to stop reading but I have to go my daughter's Valentine Party at school. Six stars and I'll be back to read more.

Dianna Lanser
Nothing But The Blood

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 814 days ago

Dear Apryl

I have read the first three chapters of "Awakening" which is a well observed tale, perfectly pitched for your YA audience. Your writing is very clear, vivid and easy to get along with. Many of the references pass me by, but that hardly matters: a great read.

All the best

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped"

Dilettante wrote 819 days ago

Well written, and an engaging main character. This is a good story. Well done, Backed and recommended.

Lenny H wrote 819 days ago

On my WL

Wavy3 wrote 820 days ago

Wow, your writing style is impressive. It's very haunting, and reflects the tone beautifully. The opening scene really drew me in, and then when the first chapter started it had the same feel of just jumping straight into the story. You hint at a background, but don't throw it in our faces, which makes me want to read on.

ozhm wrote 820 days ago

Fantasy and YA wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice, but this is compelling. The reality of everyday teen concerns balances the fantasy angle so well that I accepted the whole without a blink.

I like the short pitch, but I wonder if the long pitch is could be tightened somehow. You’ve given us what amounts to a précis, and I’m not sure whether hints might be better than spelling it out. Breaking it up into short paras would help too, I think.

Alex is a great MC. I’m drawn into her life immediately, her hopes and fears are completely believable and you’ve revealed her circumstances and back-story at very satisfying pace.

I’m also impressed with your writing and style. On a sentence level, (sorry, very nit-picky!) there are a few typos etc, but I’m sure you’ll sort them out on the next edit. The same applies to your use of tense. I like the idea of using past and present as you have, but you may need to check that you haven’t slipped from one to the other where you shouldn’t have.

Good luck with it. It deserves support.
Helen Meikle
Six Weeks in Summer.