So I’d heard about Wake by Lisa McMann, first published in December, 2008 and I always thought it sounded interesting but never got round to reading it. Today I read it in one sitting. It’s a quick read at 280 pages and whilst it took a little while to get used to reading in the present tense and the date/time format used, I really enjoyed it. The concept of Wake was really refreshing and I have not read anything quite like this before.
Wake centres around Janie, a teenage girl with a less than favourable background who’s been falling into other people’s dreams since she was eight years old. It doesn’t matter who the other person is, if they are asleep and in close proximity to Janie, then she will enter their dream. Each person’s dream is different and most of the time she is just an observer but more and more frequently, the dreamer turns to Janie and asks her to help them but Janie doesn’t know how. Through her part time job at the local nursing home, Janie learns that she is not the only dream walker (my term for her skill) and starts discovering more about her talent and the implications it has for her. With only one girlfriend (who knows nothing about Janie’s secret), she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Cabel, a guy who has plenty of secrets of his own. Can they learn to trust each other? Can they help each other?
Janie was a fantastic character and I loved the fact that she is not the hot, blonde, all-American girl. She doesn’t have a perfect life; she’s poor and her mother is an alcoholic. Her father is never mentioned and she has no siblings to speak of. But she does have one loyal friend who keeps her sane. Janie is by all accounts a regular girl apart from this extraordinary talent of being able to slip into other people’s dreams. I loved this concept and from the outset it sounded like a gift but then I quickly realised that for Janie, it’s more of a curse. She cannot control who, how or when she is going to dream walk and sometimes there are things that you just don’t want to see!
I also really liked Cable who is shaping up to be one of my favourite love interests. Firstly, he has a really unique and memorable name and I LOVED how he transformed from geek chic to ‘WOW where did YOU come from?!’ I liked the typical teenage boy attitude; he wasn’t trying to be wise beyond his years. Cable lives with a lot of secrets and I was trying to second guess what they were with the snippets of information given to us but I never got it right. I’m really glad actually as I’m usually far too good at guessing the plot and twists in the tale. I’m pleased I was taken along for the ride this time.
One of the major issues running through the book is trust. Janie can’t trust her mother to take care of her or show interest in her but she can trust her to be drunk at all hours. Janie doesn’t always trust Cabel as she sees some disturbing images in his dreams and hears some particularly bad rumours about him which threaten their relationship. Both Janie and Cabel have to learn to trust each other with their secrets.
Overall, I found Wake to be an enjoyable and refreshing read. I loved both the plot and the characters. There is some swearing in the book which for me is acceptable and serves to make the story more realistic.
Wake was nicely wrapped up at the end, so much so that this could be a standalone book. In a lot of ways it’s nice not to end on a cliff-hanger as so many YA books do nowadays. Having said all that though, I’m still looking forward to reading the sequel FADE as I’m curious as to what direction the story will take us in. Look out for my review of FADE very soon. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of Wake to read and review.
Lisa McMann is the author of Wake, Fade and Gone as well as her newest book Cryer's Cross which is due to be published in February, 2011. You can access Lisa's website by clicking here. Lisa is also active on Facebook and Twitter. It was recently announced that Wake is going to be made into a movie (starring Miley Cyrus). I prefer to read a book before it is adapted into a movie so I'm glad I read this now before the movie comes out.