As the sun sets off the coast of the small California town of Orilla del Cielo, the silhouettes of oil rigs loom. Their shadows look jarring against the serene backdrop, their sharpness a reminder of unfulfilled promises. To Zach, they are also a reminder of loss—his father, an oil worker, drowned years earlier. With his family struggling to make ends meet, Zach feels he’s destined for a bleak future.
Until he meets Vanessa. She's an optimistic girl from a wealthy family whose sights are literally set on the stars. Inspired by her idol, Carl Sagan, she plans on studying astronomy at Cornell. But as oil prospectors in search of black gold know, the future is uncertain . . . and fortunes can always be flipped.
“Incisive, wholehearted dialogue and lovely prose … this coming-of-age tale cuts to the core.” —Kirkus
“More than a love story, this novel is a timely, moving statement…” —The Horn Book
“A bittersweet romance built on hope and forgiveness … readers will be swept away on an adventure filled with love and longing.” —Booklist
An ALAN Pick, April/May 2019:
“(Gurley) skillfully captures the fear of not being in control of your own destiny and juxtaposes that emotion flawlessly with the exhilaration of first love. Awake in the World is a book that teenagers from all walks of life will connect to.” —ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE)