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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake is the fourth book I read during the Read-A-Thon (for whatever reason I'm reviewing backwards). I read it from about midnight to about 2 am, and that should tell you a couple of things about the book right off the bat. A) I read it in one sitting. B) I read it WAAAY past my bedtime. C) I might not be so clear in the review, as my memory may be a little faulty, but here we go anyway!

Wake is a YA fiction title that had a lot of potential. Janie is a high school student who has a problem- when people around her fall asleep, she passes out and falls into their dreams. The blurb on the book implies that this will be a creepy book- she falls into someone's nightmare! Will this be the reverse of Nightmare on Elm Street?? Look at the cover, doesn't it seem kinda frightening? Eh. No. I saved it for the middle of the night because I was expecting a little scary creepiness, but it didn't pan out that way. Janie's mostly scared that someone will see her passed out and think she's a freak. Of course, this happens. And who is it that sees her? Her crush, Cabel, of course. (Note: Cabel? Really? I read it as Caleb at least every other time. Very annoying.)

Had I gone into this thinking "ok, YA title, girl meets boy, girl has unique ability, a little dose of high school, blah blah" I think I would have loved it. As it was, I expected something more paranormal and kept waiting for the big thing to happen. There's a bit of a love story to it, which I enjoyed. Caleb Cabel was too good to be true, but I loved the scenes with both of them. There is a subplot that looks to be greatly expanded in the sequel (Fade) that I didn't really enjoy, but again I think this was because it wasn't what I expected. There is a lot of drinking in the story, both as a way to forward the plot and just because the characters are having a beer. I was a little bothered by this. I know kids drink and party, but it was just so matter of fact that Janie would go home and have a beer. I completely hated her best friend/ next door neighbor and between the friend and the drinking I questioned Janie's judgement. Yes, I know, she's in high school. Still.

One other thing I'd like to mention is the writing style. I don't have the book here to quote from it, but it's very choppy. For example, and I am making this example up, the chapters will start something like "Janie needs to get some sleep." Other reviews have mentioned this as well, and it's kind of a mixed bag on if it's written that way on purpose or if it's just annoying. I found it annoying, but you do stop noticing it after a while.

I really thought McMann could have done so much more with this story. The idea of falling into other people's dreams has so much potential, but I think it isn't fleshed out well enough. It was good, but not great. I'll read Fade to see if she steps it up a notch because I love the premise but Wake itself won't go in my top ten.

Wake by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse
224 pages



  1. My thoughts exactly.

    I thought Fade was better, although still had some of the same problems.

  2. Too bad it didn't meet it's potential.

  3. I am going to be reading this book when the library gets its copy in. It is currently on order and I am the first one in line, so just a matter of waiting!

  4. I just left a new "award" for you on my blog ( :)


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