About the Book

Title: Awaken (Abandon #3)
Published: 2013

Cover Story: At Least It Matches?
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Straight Up with a Twist
Bonus Factors: Scoobies, The Real World
Relationship Status:  An Amicable Post-Graduation Breakup

Spoiler Alert: This is the final book of the Abandon series. Herein lies spoilers for Abandon and Underworld.

Cover Story: At Least It Matches?

I’m not a fan of the previous covers in this series, but I can appreciate a unifying theme. I also like how John gradually creeps into the covers until ROLE REVERSAL SYMMETRY! he’s the one who’s playing possum. Plus, Pierce has yet another fancy white dress (or cream colored, in this case) that I’d love to wear. It could be worse, is what I’m saying.

The Deal:

WELL. Pierce is going to have some super awkward family reunions in the future. Grandma? Still being possessed by a Fury, still wanting to kill Pierce dead. After being trapped in a coffin by some asshole classmates, Pierce’s cousin Alex freaking died but then totally got revived. (One of the many—or few?—perks of dating a death god. The others mainly involving the eye candy that is John.) And, oh yeah—along with Frank, John’s right hand man in life and in death, and Pierce’s pal Kayla, they all totally got cornered by the po-po, so everyone hightailed it via teleportation to the Underworld.

And now! Pierce has fully embraced her relationship with John, as both girlfriend and death deity consort. But all is not well in the Underworld. Alex’s revival has upset the balance between life and death, causing everything to go out of whack. And the only way to restore order? Someone has to die.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Pierce is 3-for-3 for collecting BFF charms from FYA. Girlfriend is witty and sarcastic (just the way I likes ’em!) and now she’s also showing how amazingly well she’s adapted to life in the Underworld. And the Fates cater to her every food and fashion whim! Can we say “makeover montage”!? BEST SLUMBER PARTIES EVAR. (You might even say they’re to die for. *Rimshot!* OK, I’ll shut up now.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

I don’t think that swoon has to suffer once the main couple gets together—esp. for books like this, in which there are so many other sources of tension. And after all they’ve been through, we finally get to see Pierce and John be together and function as a couple. But I’m totally That Person who’s wistful for the early days of their electric enemistry. 

I’m glad there’s no ‘will they, won’t they’ contrivance or any geometric ploys to keep them apart, but Pierce and John didn’t really do it for me this time around. Even though she’s a good influence on him (esp. for his demeanor and sense of humor), John’s still one of the least likable Meg Cabot love interests. Coupled with his cluelessness about anything beyond the 19th century, what would they even do for all eternity? (Well, OK, they still need to take the occasional break from that.) Pierce, I’m happy that you’re happy. But at the same time, I have no boy envy. No matter how good his backside looks.

Talky Talk: Straight Up with a Twist

I love when authors flex their writing muscles and go out of their comfort zones, so no duh that I’m still enjoying this darker side of Meg Cabot. (Also: IT’S MEG CABOT.) Though I could have done with more action (no, not that kind! Get your mind out of the gutter, hypothetical reader!), and more of a certain new player that I can’t really be less vague about because SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERS. 

And I really have to applaud Meg Cabot for taking on a myth as steeped with inherent problems as Persephone and Hades; as previously outlined, theirs is NOT a romantic story.* Admittedly, this re-imagined romance didn’t always work for me, but it’s a VAST improvement on the original.

* Dear reader, if you truly think a tale of abduction, rape and trickery is romantic, WE NEED TO CONFAB.

Bonus Factor: Scoobies

Group of characters from the Office cheering and laughing while gathered around a computer

Most of the supporting cast were introduced in the previous books, but it’s here that they really get to shine. It’s been The Pierce and John Show for so much of the series; while that’s not necessarily a bad thing (esp. for le swoon) this is nevertheless a nice change.

Bonus Factor: The Real World

Troy, Lelaina, and Vickie buying junk food at the gas station in Reality Bites

An extension of featuring more of these secondary characters is the array of reactions to this whole Underworld business that they provide, ranging from skepticism to pragmatism. I also love how Pierce shows concern for the comfort of the dead awaiting ferries in the Underworld. These touches of realism enrich character development while often infusing the story with that trademark Cabot humor.

Relationship Status: An Amicable Post-Graduation Breakup

Now that this series is over, these books and I will be going our separate ways. We both knew that graduation was coming; when faced with that moment of truth, I realized that I was OK with us drifting apart. I’ll always care about it, and I’m glad we stayed together until the very end. But we’ll each have to continue roaming this world (or the next) for our respective soul mates.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Scholastic. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. Awaken is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.