Welcome to my stop on the When I Wake Up, by Jessica Jarlvi, blog tour!
Thrilled to be hosting this spot for Aria fiction! I’ll be sharing my review today!
Marketed as a “heart-pounding thriller to delight fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep”, When I Wake Up is a story told through multiple perspectives and flashes back and forth between past and present. A teacher, Anna, is in a coma after being savagely beaten. Only two people know the truth: Anna, who is lying silently in a hospital bed and the attacker.
As mentioned, the chapters move back and forth through time and feature various character perspectives. Anna’s chapters discuss events prior to her accident, her husband Erik in the present, struggling to find out what happened to his wife and random alternating chapters between a woman, Iris, working in a bookstore, Iris’ eccentric husband (an artist) and one of Anna’s students, Daniel. Each character was intricately developed and three dimensional; Jarlvi brilliantly is able to make these characters jump off the pages. I was left struggling to piece together how all of this would fit together, and by the end, when all was said and done, my jaw dropped at the twist.
I was drawn into this one immediately; the main protagonist is an educator working with troubled youth. This mirrors my job exactly so I felt especially connected to Anna as she tries to remain politically correct, show the student she cares and keep some distance for self-preservation.
By the time I reached the half point in the plot, I was completely immersed in the story and, as I mentioned, was baffled trying to figure out all these pieces were going to fit together; each situation became more intricate and involved and, soon, there was quite a complicated web. However, although I loved it in the middle, I found by the ¾ mark, I was feeling quite confused. It was as if the plot was becoming too complicated. There were too many things unfolding and it seemed to be happening randomly. However, Jarlvi flips the switch brilliantly in the end and I was left feeling impressed with the resolution of the novel.
There is quite the amount of explicit sexual material within the pages; I, personally, prefer my thrillers to be “thrill-focused” so I did find this a little bit distracting but I did applaud the author for her choice to be true to the characters and their sexual exploration.
Overall, I enjoyed When I Wake Up and feel like it would suit fans who like character heavy thriller. Lots of developed faces, intricate webs and fast paced plots. I gave this one 4/5 stars.
Thanks to Aria Fiction, the author and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.