Book details

Awake in the World

Author: Jason Gurley

Awake in the World

Awake in the World


About This Book

Bad luck has always followed 17-year-old Zach, from his father's death to his family's poverty, until he meets Vanessa, a Carl Sagan–obsessed classmate whose sights are literally set on the stars.
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Book Details

In Awake in the World, Jason Gurley delivers a gorgeous debut YA novel about dreams and finding the courage to reach them.

When all was lost, they found each other.

As the sun sets off the coast of the small California town of Orilla del Cielo, the silhouettes of oil rigs loom. Their shadows mar 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.

Imprint Publisher

Roaring Brook Press



In The News

“More than a love story, this novel is a timely, moving statement about income inequity and the plight of the working poor. And yet while it is about seeming opposites. . . Gurley persistently reminds readers that pain is pain; that everyone struggles.” —Horn Book

“Buoyed by strong, likable characters and superb writing, this coming-of-age tale cuts to the core.” —Kirkus Reviews

“When Zach and Vanessa’s worlds collide, readers will be swept away on an adventure filled with love and longing. . . . A bittersweet romance built on hope and forgiveness.” —Booklist

Praise for Eleanor:

“Th[e] violent rift between past and present affords each woman the chance to offer her own kind of repentance and forgiveness and redemption. In the end, Eleanor shows that one never knows what can happen when the reset button is pushed.”
–Washington Post

About the Creators

Awake in the World

Awake in the World