Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Release Day/Spotlight: Wake-Up Call by Amy Avanzino

Wake-Up Call, by Amy Avanzino
2015, 246p, Contemporary Romance, Series

Sarah Winslow wakes up with a terrible hangover… and a kid in her boyfriend’s bed. She makes the horrifying discovery that, due to a head injury, it’s not a hangover. She’s got memory loss. Overnight, five years have disappeared, and she’s no longer the hard-living, fast-track, ad executive party girl she thinks she is. Now, she’s the unemployed, pudgy, married, stay-at-home-mom of three kids under five, including twins. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of how her dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely in five short years, she finds herself utterly failing to manage this life she can’t imagine choosing. When Sarah meets the man of her dreams, she realizes she’s got to make a choice: Does she follow her bliss and “do-over” her life? Or does the Sarah she’s forgotten hold the answers to how she got here… and how she can stay?


Kofi turns back to me. His stutter returns. He finally manages to spit out, “Can you tell me what you did yesterday?” The only thing I know for sure is how brutal this headache is. I attempt to reconstruct the events of last night’s drunken debauchery. The memories are fragmented, like piecing together a dream the morning after.

“I…um…oh yeah, I interviewed for that promotion I’ve been talking about for weeks, which went really well by the way. I’m pretty sure I got it.” I stop, concentrate harder. “Afterward, I must have met up with the girls for happy hour, like every other Friday for the past four years.”

Kofi’s mouth falls open. I think back on the night, but nothing jumps out as odd: the drinks went down in the usual way. My girlfriends and I covered the typical topics: men, fashion, office gossip, and celebrity current events. When the spirits took us over, we took over the dance floor. I remember Jo-Jo dancing to a seven count rather than the conventional eight. Piper’s good judgment was lost somewhere between the funky chicken and the robot. Celia was jiving and using her hand as a microphone, lip-syncing with the house band. It appears in my recall, however, that I was an expert dancer. I shrug my shoulders. “I must’ve blacked out after that because I don’t remember coming here.”

Kofi stares at me hard. “Are you serious?”

“Yelling isn’t helping, Kofi.”

“I’m not yelling,” Kofi says. He looks me firmly in the eyes. “I think we have a problem. Nico told me you fell when riding his skateboard yesterday. You hit your head, maybe you...” His voice trails off. Instinctually, I put my hands up to my head. I pat around. I feel a bump the size of a golf ball beside my ear. When I touch it a blinding pain shoots through me and momentarily paralyzes my entire body. “Ow!” I cry out. Then a tingling takes over, similar to the sensation after hitting my funny bone, but it’s inside my skull. Kofi rushes to my side. He guides me to the bed and lowers me down gingerly.

“Did you say Nico was riding a skateboard? You mean Grandpa? He just got a hip replacement. He can’t even bocce ball anymore.”

“You haven’t been to a happy hour in, well, forever.” Kofi speaks slowly and maybe even a little sadly. “Last night we watched The Hunger Games: Mockingjay on DVD. We were in bed by nine.”

“Wait a minute…this is a prank.” This must be another one of Kofi’s jokes, although I’m not really sure how it’s funny. “You totally had me going for a second. Bravo.” I applaud his originality, creating his own Hunger Games title, Mockingjay, that’s detailed. “Where’d you get the kid? He’s a good little actor. Did you rent him? Did you drug me to get me here? That’s a little bit excessive, but man, you really had me going there for a while. I almost believed you.” I wait for him to break into laughter and say “Gotcha!” Instead he holds a poker face for an unbearably long time. Kofi rubs his forehead as though trying to gather his thoughts. “I’m going to call the doctor.”

About the Author

Amy Avanzino received a Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a Master's from the University of Washington. She is a former advertising executive, who has spent the last several years writing, while doing extensive hands-on research for her Wake-Up Call series. She's a contributing writer of Hap Scotch, a play performed at the 2008 Frigid Festival in New York, which won two Audience Choice Awards. Amy currently lives in Folsom, California, with her husband and four children.


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