Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake by Lisa McMann
2008 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7447-5

4.5/5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does - they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...

My Thoughts
Janie has been able to see anyone's dreams in her vicinity since she was eight years old. That this would cause problems at home and at school is unavoidable. She is able to witness the usual kinds of dreams people have all of the time, but she is also privy to many dreams and secrets that many would wish to keep private and are haunting them. Unfortunately, there is nothing that Janie can do except keep this knowledge to herself and hope that nothing unfortunate happens while she is at school, at work, or driving. Naturally, the dreams happen at any time and the only thing she can do is be prepared.

Into this scenario comes Cabel. I have developed a real fondness for Cabel and eagerly watched their developing relationship throughout the book. That it happened slowly and with emotion and sensitivity demonstrates Ms. McMann's strength and writing style. As Janie gets older, the dreams become more disturbing and disruptive to her daily life. Then she stumbles upon someone who helps her (I won't give away this secret) and she learns that maybe she can control the dreams and turn them into positive events for the dreamers and for herself.

I found the characters in the novel to be intriguing. They reflect the real world out there - drugs, sex, parties - and what can happen if one gets caught up in that aspect of life. Even Janie comments at one point in the novel about getting busted: "Maybe the experience will knock some sense into her," she says. She is referring to her friend who hangs out with some rich kids in order to make connections and for popularity reasons. Janie herself lives on the wrong side of the tracks and that makes her unpopular with a lot of the kids in school. Add to that her weirdness and her seizures, she actually has few friends in school. The novels makes some commentary about the cliques in school and how the proper clothing can have an affect on your popularity. When Caleb starts showing up in designer outfits and a nice car, he suddenly has lots of friends, despite being snubbed for years.

Overall, I was fascinated by this novel. It was fun and entertaining, quick to read. I am definitely looking forward to reading Fade and Gone, the next two books in this series.


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