Release date: August 9, 2022
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers―a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.
Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.
In the vein of SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Christopher Nolan’s cult classic Memento, Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that plays with memory and murder.
There was really quite a lot to like about this one and while I did enjoy most of it, I did have some issues that left me conflicted in the end. I’ll start with what I liked, because again there was plenty to choose from. It didn’t waste time jumping straight into the story, you’re thrust right into things alongside Liv and I was really curious as to what the hell was actually going on. So as far as grabbing my attention right away goes this one definitely did that. Besides hearing from Liv you also hear from the detectives working her case and I loved the police procedural angle maybe even more than Liv’s chapters. I was pretty invested for the bulk of it too and never really got bored. As for what didn’t work, well…the entire premise is based on Liv needing to stay awake and not sleep and while she may not have memories she still knew she was in danger so I guess I kept thinking why won’t she just go to the hospital, police etc?? Sure, a few reasons were given for her hesitancy but I didn’t fully buy it. Parts of it did seem to drag on for the sake of tension too and I really think the police would’ve figured things out a little faster, they definitely weren’t incompetent. And then the ending just took the expected route and of course I would have preferred to had some surprises. So some minor issues but still a decent read and I did enjoy the audio version. Imogen Church and January LaVoy are both incredible voice actors and we’re both amazing here.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.