Saturday, February 14, 2009

Book Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

Book: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
Published: 2008

Ever since childhood, Janie’s had bad dreams. Not her own. Other people’s. If someone’s sleeping around her, she gets sucked into their dreamworld. She’s seen more naked-in-school dreams, sexual fantasies, and trauma-fueled nightmares than she can count. At least the dreamers don’t remember seeing her in their dreams once they awaken--small mercies.

Then she meets Miss Stubin, a resident at the nursing home where she works, and realizes that she’s not alone with this curse. At the same time, she gets pulled into classmate Cabel’s horrifying nightmare, but discovers that she can actually help him change the course of events and lay it to rest.

Is it possible this curse is a gift in disguise?

This was one of those two AM, can’t-put-it-down books. I kept thinking that I should go to sleep, but fell victim to one-more-page until I turned the last one. McMann’s prose is short and choppy, often using sentence fragments, but strangely enough, the narrative as a whole flows so smoothly and strongly that you’re drawn in like Janie into another person’s dream.

I’m also a sucker for a good romantic subplot, and what made this one particularly interesting is that while Janie learns some of Cabel’s deeply buried secrets early on, he keeps others longer, and for good reasons. After reading the sequel’s blurb on Lisa McMann’s website, I have the feeling there are things we still don’t know about Cabel, which is a pretty neat trick considering how emotionally intimate a relationship is when you dream together.

I do have a minor bone to pick with the publishing house. The blurb on the back made it seem as if the story was going in a different direction, a much more horror/thriller direction. While it’s a great hook, it’s also deceptive and may turn off the kids who would really like the book that’s inside the covers. But overall, I’d hand this book to any fan of the paranormal.

The end does leave you hanging a little, but the sequel, Fade, is out now and the third in the trilogy, Gone, is due out February 2010.

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