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 wand 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.
This is a weird little book that quite frankly, I loved to bits. Its premise is unusual, lending to an original storyline. The main characters are flawed in that anti-hero way, giving depth to what could have turned out to be a disaster.
If I wanted to get technical and pick this book to pieces, you probably wouldn’t read it, but judged solely on its entertainment value, it rates high on my metre. Yes, the language is choppy and reads like a teen girls journal (but that is the target market right?) and some of the plot points a little unrealistic; but it is a fantasy, so you need to roll with the punches.
‘Wake’ was a very quick read – I completed it in one night. Its style is quite abrupt and in your face, so don’t expect an eloquent tale of a reluctant hero. I hate to say, but it almost feels like a first draft, where you are scrambling to get down the story before an edit to have it flowing properly. Having said that, I feel the writing style adds to the ambience and subject matter. As Janie, the main character, is pulled in and out of consciousness, so is the reader.
I can’t say I predicted the direction of this novel all that expertly, and it felt as clunky as the writing, and often dwelled in that ‘after-school-special’ feeling with some of the topics thrown in the storyline. Given all these faults, ‘Wake’ still captured my imagination.
Janie’s narration, and her living situation were a little difficult to relate to. I know in YA books the parents aren’t that present, but it felt unrealistic in this case and had me glancing sideways at times thinking ‘Oh brother!’
Cabel, the new guy (well, re-invented) and Janie have this “come here, no, go away relationship,” which was annoying, but managed to pay off at the conclusion of the novel. I’m still not certain I wholly liked the development of these two, but I think it came down the writing style of Lisa McMann, rather than the plot. If you can get past the slips of realism they are actually a cute and complimentary pair.
Carrie, Janie’s rebellious best friend brings some great colour (and language), although their friendship felt more like it was out of convenience than some deep connection. Nonetheless she is a great voice of reason in the novel and is one of my favourite characters.
I would still recommend this read, such an imaginative premise, dealing with complicated and taboo issues unabashedly. Being such a quick read I can overlook some of the issues I had about its style (hence 3 kisses instead of 2) and jumped into the second instalment of this series, ‘Fade,’ soon after. (I will say I enjoyed this sequel far better – be sure to keep an eye out for that review!)
A good little read when you have insomnia :p
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