Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Wake

Lisa McMann

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.

Star Rating:

Wake was refreshing as a short book, but even then on some counts it failed to deliver. The characters remained rather flat and a little stereotyped, and really, how many of us are taking Cabel's sudden and magical transformation very seriously? But if you can get past the stories, McMann's got a very interesting concept. And Janie's best friend Carrie? She's the worst.

Getting past the intellectually shallow characters, McMann does have a very interesting concept. There are not a lot of books that delve into the dream world, and even fewer that do so without tying themselves to Alice in Wonderland. What Janie is, is a dream guide, and in dreams she encourages people to change their dreams. Unfortunately, that is all she does - watches, listens, and tells people to change. The concept could have been pulled a little further, but McMann seems to push for an entirely uncomplicated book, and that's what she succeeds in creating.

Although flat in many ways - including the above as well as sentence structure - Wake is still a charming, quick read. It's got enough paranormal elements that it doesn't feel like a regular YA novel, but it's also subtle enough that those who don't prefer fantasy do not feel ostracized by it. All in all a very quick, fun little read.

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