Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake, McMannSimon Pulse, 2008
ISBN-13:  978-1416974475
Ages 14+

Janie Hannagan has a gift — or rather a curse — for being sucked into other people’s dreams whenever they’re sleeping nearby.  She is witness to funny things; strange things; typical, boring things; and, in one instance, something so disturbing she won’t even drive on Waverly Road any more.  With the help of resident hottie Cabel Strumheller, Janie must discover whose terrifying dream she beheld, and what is wrong with her that she was able to see it in the first place.

When I started this book, I didn’t like it.  Then it got better, at which point I was quite into it, then it got worse again, and it didn’t recover.  The mystery McMann introduces is enough to keep a reader up at night for more than one reason, but it peters of shortly after its establishment and is ultimately unfulfilling.  In addition, it seems people fall asleep a lot more often in this story than they do in real life, presumably a tactic to keep Janie’s special ability at the forefront of readers’ minds.

Though possessing an intriguing premise, there is one semi-major flaw that for me made the entire foundation of the story unsound.  Dreams are people’s subconscious ramblings, not their conscious thoughts.  Most of the dreams upon which Janie intrudes bear significant consequence to the plot, but in my experience the majority of real-life dreams mean very little.

On a more positive note, the writing style is fast-paced and unique, adding a distinguished and enticing flare to the novel.

I would say that Lisa McMann’s debut into young adult fiction didn’t quite reach its potential, but the idea behind it is promising enough for me to have high hopes for its sequel, Fade.

3/5 stars

— Reviewer Anonymous

Buy this book at Amazon.com!