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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 ...
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. At first, Astrid and Max think Teddy is paranoid, but Max’s strange, recurring dreams and a series of unsettling events force them to reconsider Teddy’s claims. Are they a product of his supposedly disturbed mind or is the truth stranger than insanity?
Posted March 3, 2014
WAKEFIELD is told from the alternating points of view of Astrid and Max, two new patients who end up crossing paths and becoming friends. I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a wide variety of characters who were more involved in the story than I thought they would be.
Astrid and Max didn't seem like they belonged in Wakefield, especially Max - I couldn't figure out if there really was a misunderstanding or if he was in denial of some issues. Later, the pieces began to fall into place.
I liked both Astrid and Max. I hated it when Max was tormented by his roommate. I wanted him to stand up for himself so many times! Astrid is perceptive, and I admired that she stood up for Laura against a staff member. That took courage because that staff member could have retaliated against her.
Teddy was always a mystery even before he begins talking about his powers. When he told Max he can see his words as different colors, I wanted Max to believe him because I could already sense there was more to the story than what was on the surface. And because I knew I was reading a paranormal story, lol.
There seemed something "off" about Dr. Lycen to me even before patients began complaining about him. I could just imagine him hypnotizing a patient to get what he wants. Two staff members, one male and one female, were just evil to some of the patients. I was impressed Astrid stood up to the female staff member when she noticed unnecessarily rough treatment of Laura.
My only complaint is that it took a while to get to the paranormal aspect of the story (unless I missed clues before then?), but other than that, WAKEFIELD is well written with believable characters. I liked the paranormal twist involving a residential treatment facility. I've never read a story like this before. There were pop culture references I thought were fun, too. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Posted March 3, 2014
Crazy was never so good!
*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks!
Teenagers Astrid Chalke and Max Fisher meet at Wakefield Residential and Educational Treatment Facility. Both orphaned and sent to the facility because of behavioral issues they feel they don’t belong. With residents who are severely disabled to those with more mild issues both Max and Astrid are assigned to the Newton wing. Eventually their paths cross and the two join their small circle of friends into one larger group. When Teddy claims he has special powers and that the staff are hiding something huge they at first dismiss his talk as paranoid. But as weird things happen and other things don’t add up, it’s time for Max and Astrid to trust their gut. They have to break out of Wakefield and take their friends with them. Before it’s too late.
This story is told from several POVs, but mostly from Astrid and Max’s. It really helps to get an overall view of Wakefield. The characters are really well-developed and the writing is excellent. I felt as if I was there with them and experiencing everything they were experiencing. The mystery surrounding the so-called powers was making me twitchy. I wanted to know what the hell was going on, but of course the info was parceled out as if by Scrooge himself. I so wanted to flip to the end, but resisted. Barely. Yeah, I have no patience for a mystery to unfold on its own. I must know! LOL There are two reasons why this did not get a 5 out of me. The ending, while not an abrupt drop off is still a cliffhanger and I hate cliffhangers. Also, Max’s dreams were really strange and I couldn’t make heads nor tails of them. I know dreams are like that. I’ve had plenty of them myself, but I know his dreams are meant to be clues and I wasn’t picking up what was being put down. Know what I mean? Overall though this is an excellent read that I relinquished only when it was absolutely necessary.
Posted August 23, 2013
Intriguing and Mad
*I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I was immediately intrigued by the synopsis, as the main characters were residents of a mental institution for teens. Add in paranormal and fantastical elements, and I knew it was going to be good. :)
The book is in three different POVs: Astrid, Max, and Eduardo. I was a little confused about one of the staff members having a few chapters of his own. He didn't play a key role in this book, but he was definitely one of the few staff members whom the teens liked. And I think we'll see more of him in Tunnelville. I was also a little confused why Teddy didn't have a POV, but I can see why he didn't because he didn't talk very much, unless it was to talk about his "powers" and the evil inside the institution. Max and Astrid think he's crazy. Or is he?
I really liked the two main characters, and I even enjoyed the strange and unusual interactions between them and the other residents they meet. Some of them are suffering from multiple personality disorder and others are cutters. Whatever their psychological and behavioral problems are, all of the residents have one thing in common: they hate Wakefield.
While it tries to be a welcoming place, it's still a mental institution, and some of its staff members are unnecessarily mean to the kids. And there is more going on than any of these teens know about. Teddy is the only one who seems to know what's going on with their head psychiatrist.
These kids are determined to escape the suffocating prison, and they are trying to find out whether Teddy's claims are real. It's not until the makeshift prom that Max and Astrid realize the truth. It's been right in front of their faces the whole time. After their final attempt at freedom goes as planned, Max, Astrid, Teddy, and their friends are out of the institution. But they won't be forgotten, as the epilogue gives a glimpse into what will happen in Tunnelville.
I really enjoyed this book! I found myself laughing out loud a lot at the teens' conversations and interactions with each other. The beginning was a little slow, and it took me awhile to get into the story. But once they meet Teddy, it picks up. All of their talk about powers and visions had me wondering if it wasn't just all in their minds. I was really surprised with the ending, and I can't wait to find out what happens next! :)
Posted June 7, 2013
I absolutely loved this book. Loved it. I can't wait to read the second one, and as soon as I'm finished writing this review I'm going to do some digging and see when it will be coming out (if it isn't already).
I love the characters, with the exception of Astrid. She was annoying and so freaking stubborn and all I wanted to do was shake her and yell at her. So dense and obtuse and just plain frustrating! I couldn't understand why she wouldn't just be nice instead of scoffing at EVERYONE.
Everyone else though, I loved. I think Seth was probably the most interesting, and I took him literally from the start, so the little twist that happened with him wasn't unexpected for me. I recognized one of his statements ("Why is a raven like a writing desk?") and got all excited at that point! But all of this random little comments were quirky and totally entertaining.
Max was an all-around good guy, and characteristically tried to make sure everyone got along while staying loyal to everyone. It bothered me a bit that he was so willing to let other people step on him, first with Simon and then even with Teddy. But like I said, he's just a nice guy and nice guys don't stir up trouble.
Strangely enough I really liked Laura and Ally, because the two of them were contrasts. They both probably had the same issues growing up, and yet they chose to deal with it in different ways. Plus their special stuff was super awesome and I'm jealous. I'm really really hoping we get to see more of these abilities much more often in the second book.
The same goes for Teddy. His of course was the most interesting to watch(read) because it was the centerpoint of all the hubbub in the climax. Clearly he's powerful, and it made for an awesome read.
I can only imagine what it would feel like to be Jon/Azrael, wanting so badly to be different only to find that everyone else is.
Our villain is especially villainy, and I loved it. He was intelligent and evil, a dangerous combination. And one I think we'll see even more so in the next novel. I even liked the unsuspecting henchmen, like Anthony (I assume) and Clarissa. Boy they were all so fun to hate!!
Probably the only thing I dislike about the story is that it took a while to get to the juicy stuff. I think Astrid especially was the one that slowed it down, which is part of why I don't like her. We could have easily heard more about what Ally and Laura could do had Astrid only stopped being annoying long enough to ask and listen. But for me it was worth the wait. I think enough happened to make the late climax warranted, and I'm not sure why everyone's all upset over the technical terms. I liked learning about how that stuff worked. Maybe because I considered being a social worker as a career, but I found it fascinating to know all the hoops that had to be jumped through and the protocol in place.
I just love this story. It's got so many elements that I love in a book, and with the exception of Astrid's stupidity I couldn't be happier.
Posted May 26, 2013
I received this book in exchange for a review. I was so excited about this book because from the description it sounded amazing. Once I started reading I found the book so hard to read. It was slow and I hated how it jumped from perspective to perspective without really giving too much detail about each individual character. I like getting to know a character as I read and this did not happen for me. I never really came to like Astrid or Max, the two "main" characters. They both kind of floated through the entire book with nothing substantial to grip me. This book is about teens in a residential home for behavioral and mental issues. The main characters, Astrid and Max, basically narrate the story with some chapters being from Eduardo, a Wakefield staff member. There was some mention of some odd "powers" and yet I was just not able to be drawn in.
Posted May 21, 2013
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Starting this book I had very high hopes. Mentally unwell kids and super powers sounds pretty cool right? Sadly it wasn't what I was expecting it to be.
The main thing I loved about the book was the characters. I thought the characters were great! The authors did a good job introducing them and giving back ground info, and not making it boring. The two main characters Max and Astrid (the book is mostly told from their POV.) were likable enough. Though I wish we could have gotten to see some from some of the other characters POV I would have LOVED to see what was going on in Teddy's Head through the whole story! One thing I never figured out is if Max and Astrid really had mental problems and were just in denial. Or if they really were just there because no one knew what to do with them. If anyone knows please let me know!
As much as I loved the characters I had a hard time being drawn into the story. It dragged on quite a bit without anything big happening. During the beginning of the book it went back and forth from Astrid and Max’s POV a lot. Which is normally fine with me but I had a hard time keeping up from Max telling how he got there. To Astrid giving us a flash back to 4 months ago when she first got there. As for the plot of the book. I’m sure it was there, it was just not very exciting. Mostly we just got a look at what goes on at the Wakefield Facility every day. Every now and then something would happen to kind of keep me interested and keep the story moving along. There would be hints that something was more was going on, but nothing much ever came out of it.
One of the things I really wishes the authors would have talked about more was the "super powers" some of the kids seemed to have. It came up a few times toward the middle of the book. The kids would talk about it for a few chapters then seem to almost forget about it. Then BAM last 4-5 chapters everyone starts having these "super powers/ magical abilities". I think if the authors had made the "super powers" a bigger deal the book wouldn't have dragged on so long without anything happening.
Over all I can't say I hated the book, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I will be reading the next book in the series. I am very interested in where the authors will go with the story.
Posted May 20, 2013
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, and I thank the authors for the opportunity to read and review their book.
The Wakefield of the title refers to the Wakefield Residential and Educational Treatment Facility, wherein we meet our central protagonists Astrid Chalke and Max Fisher. These two teens are placed in Wakefield under dubious circumstances, and end up acting as the principal narrators as they tell their stories. The shifting POV is sometimes picked up by other characters in the course of the novel, but to a much lesser extent. I thought that the characters--particularly the minor ones, offered a well-balanced cast who managed to stay in character most of the time. I enjoyed Azrael the most.
The story of Wakefield is relatively bland. Most of the scenes take place in the WRETF and consist of either descriptions of the methods and practices of residential and educational treatment facilities or long passages of angst-ridden teenage Drama. Either of these, used in moderation, would have added credibility to the story, but ninety percent of the book is comprised of these two elements and they quickly became monotonous. As Ms. Callahan apparently worked in a facility similar to Wakefield, I can understand her interest in writing from her experiences. However, the massive amount of details and seemingly unimportant passages about those details bogged the story down quite a bit. Conversely, much of the rest of the story was people sitting around talking about their feelings, little of which actually moved the plot forward. This could have easily been a novella, and would have been better for the page number diet. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Start [the story] as close to the end as possible."
Speaking of the plot, there was one, but it was thin and straight as a thread of dental floss until the very end of the book, when the Big Reveal occurred. Only, it wasn't a big reveal, at least not to me, as it had been hinted at and telegraphed--like a mild itch--for the entire book. The big conflict at the end of the book was entirely predictable, short, and frankly not exciting. I was left with the impression that the entire novel served as little more than an introduction to Book Number Two of the Mad World Saga Series. This is an unfortunate trend in several YA series books that I have read recently.
The writing of the book was almost straight subject-object-verb expository style and has very little in the way of expressive, creative phrasing. Stylistically, it read like a newspaper article or a textbook much of the time. I will compliment the authors on their clear and lucid prose and the quality of their proofreader(s) and line editor, as there were no spelling errors and only two questionable word choices in the entire book. However, some of the dialogue, particularly in the epilogue, felt rushed and under-edited to the point of absurdity.
Initially, I was excited to read this book, based on the blurb, as insanity is a topic that interests me. However, the book ends up reading as a odd, slice-of-life buddy story more than the dark asylum novel I was anticipating. As well, I appreciate the wealth of detail that Ms. Callahan brought to this project, but my humble opinion is that most of that detail should have ended up on the editing room floor. As such, Wakefield gets a tentative nod from me IF you enjoy stories that plod through much mundane detail and angsty teen relationship building.