Book Jacket


rank 5916
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 Fourteen


    I blink at the clock with bleary eyes surprised to see its nine fifteen.  I’d slept for hours and Lord how I hurt.  I feel like that same little girl again from all those years ago.  All I want to do is crawl under my covers with my teddy bear and cry.

    I hate feeling like this.  Anger flares hot and hard.  My mother—how, how could she leave us?  How could she leave me?  I’ll never get the chance to confront her now, to scream and yell.  That is what my therapist at Compton was adamant about, that I need to confront her to deal with some of my abandonment issues.  She’s gone and that chance is gone with her.

    Do I love her?  Yeah, I guess I do, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still hate her.  Letting myself feel the pain I’ve bottled up for years doesn’t change that.  I can’t forgive all the pain she’s caused.  Maybe I never will.

I clean myself up in the bathroom.  The girl in the mirror shocks meI’m a mess—my face pale and tired.  Black hollow eyes stare back at me.  I pull out my phone, feeling it vibrate-Devon.  It shut off before I can answer it.  Three text messages from Morgan demand to know what is wrong.

How could he know something’s wrong?  He always seems to know when I need him.  How?  I still have no answer to the puzzle that is Morgan Chandler.  With a sigh I go downstairs. 

I find my way down to Dad’s office.  I bend and start a fire in the hearth.  I’m cold.  My eyes find the picture of Alecia Reed over the mantle.  Always smiling.  Every time I look at this picture I have the insane urge to smash it, to destroy her smile like she had mine.  I still want to despite everything Emma told me.  She is the reason I’m crazy, the reason for Compton.

Everything bad that has ever happened to me centers around the day my mom left us.  The nightmares started the night she left and gradually got worse and then when I cracked, I remember seeing her face flash in and out of the glimpses of snarling, snapping teeth.  When I first checked into Compton, they put me in the “infirmary.”  It’s the smell that stays with me.  It smells of antiseptic and sterile cleaning fluids.  I almost choked on that smell for the first few days.  The doctors couldn’t understand it.  The scent overpowered everything else.  They had to move me to a room that was free of the cloying scents.  I started to breathe a bit normally after that.

They strapped me to the bed, to keep me from hurting myself they said, but it was more to keep them safe from me.  I was only twelve and apparently I’d done some kind of damage to a few orderlies when they’d tried to help the nurses calm me down during my Night Terrors my first night there.  I’d been strapped down every night for the first two years I was there.  It wasn’t until they’d found the proper blend of meds to keep the nightmares away that they’d stopped with the restraints.

That is one of the most horrible feelings in the world, to wake up immobile, to not be able to move.  It’s terrifying in and of itself, but if you added my fear into the equation, it was almost debilitating.  I was so scared all the time, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate, felt abandoned by everyone.  They hadn’t allowed me visitors for over a year.  I needed to have time for my therapy to work. 

It was during therapy that the doctor had determined that all my issues stemmed from what happened to me that day in the park and my mother leaving me the next day only compounded the issue.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to remember what happened and she is, was the only person who can tell me what happened.  Now, I will never know, so does that mean I’ll never get better?  Will I always live with this constant fear, this feeling of the walls closing in on me?  Will I ever really be normal?

My worst fear is that I’ll end up back in the mental hospital.  The kids I met, the ones I got to know, the few I’d called friends shared the same fear.  We used to talk about it outside of group.  We knew we were messed up, and the real question always was, can we be fixed?  I still have no answer to that one, but deep down, I don’t think we can.  Once you break as badly as we did, I’m not sure anyone can put the pieces back together.

My mother had caused me to end up in the mess I am.  I can’t forgive her for that.  I can’t. 

    “Hey,” Jason says from behind me and then falls on the rug in front of the fireplace

    I take a seat beside him. 

“You okay?” he asks, his eyes way and concerned.

    “You know me, Jase.  I’m always fine.”  I hold my hands out to the heat.  “Did Emma tell you…”

    “About why she left?” he nods.  “Yeah, but…”

    “It doesn’t matter,” I finish for him.  “I still love her, Jase, but I can’t forgive her.”

    “I know,” he whispers.  “I hate her, but it hurts, Sis.  It hurts so much.  She’s our mama and she’s gone.”

    Tears trail wet paths down his cheeks and I start crying myself.  He pulls me close and we sit there for the longest time like that wrapped up in our memories.  My brother and I are close, made so by the mother who walked out and left us.  It made us harder, more determined to protect each other.  No matter what we will always have each other.  She can’t take that from us.

Some people’s memories of their loved ones fade as time goes by.  Mine don’t.  I can still remember the sound of her voice as she sang me to sleep or hear her laughter as she listened to a joke only a six year old would find funny.  She always smelled like apples and cinnamon, claiming it was Dad’s fault for making her bake so many apple pies.  The feel of her arms are imprinted into my skin.  She used to crawl into bed with me when I’d had bad dreams and hold me until I went to sleep.  She told me everyday how much she loved me.  It hurt to remember those things.  I locked them away in a box for so long, but now they were out, they ate at me.

She’s my mama and she’s gone.  Just…gone.  I’d never hear her tell me she loved me or feel her hug me again.  I’d never get the chance to tell her good-bye.  No matter what she’s done to us, I love her and losing her hurt.  I can’t seem to breathe past the crushing pain in my chest.  It just hurts.

A few hours later I crawl under my own covers.  My bear, Gingi, is firmly grasped in my clutches.  The poor little thing has seen so much wear and tear over the years.  Dad said Uncle Sabien gave him to me for my third birthday.  My rag tag little bear is my woobie.  Always has been, always would be.

Jason and I talked for a long time.  We both agreed on one thing.  Even if she did leave because she thought she had no choice, how were we supposed to forgive her?  

I don't think it's the leaving part that hurt so much.  No, we could have lived with that, but she ignored us for years.  Did we get so much as a birthday card or a phone call?  No.  Yet she found the time to talk to her own brother almost every day.  What were we supposed to think?  Parents put their children first and Alecia hadn't done that whether she meant to or not.  Forgiveness isn't in the cards right now.  The anger burns too hot, too fresh.

I pull Gingi close and go to sleep. 



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Jehmka wrote 710 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 727 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 750 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 779 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 790 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 792 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 793 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 794 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 794 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 796 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 803 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 819 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 824 days ago

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

Lenny H wrote 825 days ago

On my WL

Wavy3 wrote 825 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 825 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.