Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Wake, by Lisa McMann, is a YA novel I heard about months ago over at J.Kaye's Book Blog and when I finally procured a copy, it was only to hear my almost-sixteen-year-old daughter say she didn't like it much. So I put it aside for a while, only to toss it in my weekend bag as an emergency book and then start reading it at odd moments during the weekend. Funny how those odd moments add up and then begin to increase once you get interested in a book, which I did fairly quickly.

My daughter has a specialized interest in dreams that caused her to be disappointed in the premise of Wake. But I thought it was an interesting story with a well-paced plot. It's not complicated, and it's not about many kinds of dreams; it's about nightmares and about teenagers trying to get some control over their lives.

The teenaged characters in this book are not typical; the main characters don't even have parents who can help them do anything (in that way this book reminds me of a John Green novel, where the parents are ineffectual and/or absent).

As in most books about a teenager who has a mysterious talent or power, Janie first tries to hide her power to see the dreams of others in order to appear more normal; she gradually comes to accept and use this ability. At sixteen she succeeds in "breaking the connection" between herself and a dreaming friend: "she reaches out for the wall and finds her way into the hallway as she and Carrie are walking through the forest in Carrie's dream." At seventeen she meets a boy and then an old woman who help her learn to control her power and use it to help catch bad guys, which drains her so completely she ends up in the hospital, but her new employer and now-boyfriend take care of her and the ending promises happiness, in addition to a sequel (Fade).

Wake is a quick and undemanding read, which is sometimes all I want; a little piece of brain candy.

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