Seleste Reviews: Wake by Lisa McMann

Not all dreams are sweet.

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….

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Price: $8.99
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416974474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416974475
  • Buy Wake at Amazon

This is another of those books that was recommended to me recently, and it was a quick read (which I’m always a fan of). The thing is, even at 200 pages, the book was shorter than it seems. At only 37,000 words, it’s more novella length than novel length in my opinion, even for YA. Nothing against novellas but generally I prefer to know that’s what I’m getting, and it’s not what I expect when I pick up a print book anywhere past the kids’ section (that my seven-year-old frequents).

Having said that, the story was intriguing. Janie gets sucked into other people’s dreams (whether or not she’s asleep). Not only does it make living dangerous for her (imagine your world vanishing from around you while you’re driving), but it’s also taking its toll on her because she’s not getting restful sleep. She doesn’t know why this happens to her or how to stop it.

While she does put in some work on the latter issue, one of my big beefs with the book is that the former seems a non-issue. It’s mentioned, but more in a whiny “why is this happening to me?” way.

I liked the way the romantic subplot with Cabel was woven in, both with how he was nice to her early on and how they initially started talking later.

The biggest issue plotwise was that, for much of the book, there didn’t feel like there was a plot. It didn’t quite suffer from that one vampire series problem of no external conflict until the last quarter of the book, but considering how short Wake was, it still kind of felt like that’s about when it came in. I’m all for world-building and set-up and subplots, but when the external conflict shows up halfway through, it winds up feeling like a different book altogether. Personally… I liked the “second book” better.

The other thing that kept me from loving Wake was the style in which it was written. Present tense can be handled really well, but for me it works much better in first person than third. For some reason that kept tripping me up. Combine that with the very short, fragmented sentences throughout and the narrative kept kicking me out of a story I was trying to sink into.

That whole “second book” part of Wake though? It has me intrigued enough to start the follow-up, Fade, tonight. So it wasn’t a love, but it wasn’t a hate. And that latter part made it worth reading on.

  • Patricia Eimer January 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Hmm, will you be doing a review on the second part? If that’s good I might pick it up.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie January 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      It’s up tomorrow, then the third part the day after

      • Julie January 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        Thanks for covering for me, Nat! And, yes, I did all three 🙂

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