Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: Wake

Title: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal
Series: Wake Trilogy/Book 1
Published: March 2008

From the back cover ~

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....

It didn't take me long to get into Janie's story. Being a teen isn't always easy. There's high school to deal with and the cliques and drama that always seems to go with it. For Janie she's got an added twist to her life - she unwillingly slips into other peoples dreams. While she's in the dream she suffers paralysis and convulsions in real life. In the dream, she experiences what is happening from an observer's point of view. She desperately tries to hide her unusual ability because she knows it will freak people out - it freaks her out!

Janie's home life is far from ideal. Her father is gone and her mother is a drunk. Janie basically takes care of herself and sometimes even takes care of her mother. They survive on welfare until Janie is old enough to get a job. She works as much as she can to save for college. All through her childhood she suffers from the teasing of her classmates because she is poor. Janie wants so badly to get away to college and make a better life for herself. I couldn't help but like Janie and feel for her in the horrible situation she finds herself in. As far as teens go, she's responsible and likable, given the way she's been brought up she could have easily gone down a very different path.

I liked the way McMann portrayed the teens and their attitudes, the difficulties of being a teen and their home lives. She gives them realistic situations amid the abnormal that is Janie's "curse". Janie tries to be normal but there's just no chance given what she has to live with day in and day out. She can't stop people from dreaming so she must try to build a buffer around her whenever possible. This isn't easy in high school where it's common for kids to fall asleep.

As time passes Janie does what she can to stop herself from experiences others dreams. It's the beginning of senior year and Janie is busy making plans for after high school. She meets up with an old acquaintance who has become someone she can't help but notice. Cabel is from Janie's neighborhood and has a similar background of low income and lack of parental guidance. He's paying more attention to Janie and trying to get to know her better. She finds herself attracted to Cabel and it turns out she could really use a friend. Their relationship starts out rocky and goes through some difficult times but in the end they come to rely and trust each other.

I was able to get Wake from the library. If I had to buy it, well I wouldn't. Which is sad because it is a good story but at $15.99 retail for a hardcover that comes in at just over 200 pages, I wouldn't be able to justify the cost. I also got Fade (book 2) from the library and enjoyed it as well (review to come). I will get the third book, Gone, from the library as well. I do wish the publisher had chosen to release these books in paperback but I'm sure they had their reasons.

Ms. McMann and details about her novels can be found on her website.

Rating: B+


  1. Leslie, is this sort of a horror book? Those dream books kind of give me the creeps, lol! The rest sounds really well done, but I'm a scardy cat when it comes to horror. :O

  2. Hils ~ no, I wouldn't call it horror, more suspenseful. The dreams aren't Freddy Kruger scary. I don't read horror either. :)