Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: WAKE & FADE by 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....

I must admit, when I first cracked my ARC of WAKE, by Lisa McMann, open and saw it was all written in present tense and third person, I was a tad unenthused. I’ve read a lot of bad things about books written in the present tense, but I proceeded to read the first chapter.

That’s when I found myself hooked. You are reeled in by Janie’s unusual ability to get sucked into peoples dreams, and how that affects her life drastically. She’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime. But then a strange nightmare keeps recurring to her. A strange house, a grotesque kitchen, and this terrifying monster with knives for fingers coming for her. Sounds a little like Freddy Krueger, I know.

You’re heart goes out to Janie, as well. She struggles through several obstacles aside from her accidental dream-invasions. Like her rough home life, and her rollercoaster with a boy named Cabel that changes how she sees everything. There’s also her job when she’s not in school -- she helps out at Heather’s Nursing Home. She works as much as she can for what she can, and everyone loves her there. Janie has to work, so she can save up for college and take care of herself. Her mothers welfare check only covers the rent and the booze. Besides, she finds a good companion in Martha, a kindly old blind woman. When Martha dies, she leaves a note, along with five-thousand dollars for college, for Janie. This note makes Janie’s heart stutter. This note becomes a catalyst for the rest of the series. Like any good book, there is the exciting and unexpected ending, which you’ll just have to read for yourself.

All in all, WAKE was a thrill ride. It’s obvious with Lisa McMann’s debut novel, she’s got a good career ahead of her. I understand now why WAKE has hit National Bestseller status.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open--but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd even feared...

With the sequel, FADE, things only get better.
In FADE, you dive farther into Janie’s gift and learn about what darkness it holds as well. Caleb, Captain, and even Janie’s car, Ethel, all reappear in this chilling new installment. Granted, I cannot say too much about FADE, because I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t read either -- I will say, at least, that I love both of these books. And FADE is just as awesome -- if not more -- than WAKE.
So, the next time you come across a copy, check out these two NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS.

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