Seleste Reviews: Fade by Lisa McMann

SOME NIGHTMARES NEVER END.

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 feared….

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Price: $8.99
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; 1 edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416974482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416974482
  • Buy Fade at Amazon

This is the first time in forever that I’ve read books in a series back to back. Once again, this was a very short YA novel (though longer than the first). The style didn’t change (the short, fragmented sentences) but the paragraphs themselves weren’t nearly as choppy which helped it flow a little more and made the third person, present tense easier to deal with.

Janie is still dealing with her “catching” ability, but now she’s working with the police and using it to help bring down people who are hurting people at her school (drug dealers, sexual predators, that sort of thing). Her relationship with Cabe is a big secret still, and she spends much of the book sneaking over to his place and hoping no one sees her. (As a minor note, I like the way their relationship plays out in this book. He tries to play over-protective, hovering boyfriend, and she’s willing to nip it in the bud. Better still, he listens and pulls back. As messed up as the characters are, it’s a healthier relationship than many that are seen in YA.) In addition to all this secrecy, the dreams are starting to affect her more and she has a harder time coming back to herself after one.

Fade has Janie (primarily) and Cabe (to a lesser extent) on the trail of a teacher who is having sex with students. This was my first issue with the book. The tip to the cops doesn’t say anything about forced sex or rape, and while I agree teachers having sex with students is wrong, wrong, wrong, I had a hard time believing that the police would–based on it just being mentioned as sex–put a major sting operation in place. Of course, if that happened more often, we’d probably live in a better world. But I digress. Sting is in place, Janie’s not only tapping people’s dreams, but she’s also supposed to be bait. Cabe is, needless to say, less than happy about this.

This leads to “issue” number two. In the first book, Janie is never shown as the “it” girl that men fawn over. There’s a rather big deal made about her being poor, but not the other. Considering the only big makeover between Wake and Fade is Janie weight-lifting with Cabe, I had a little difficulty buying into her as the girl everyone is suddenly supposed to go after. But again, suspension of disbelief and all that jazz.

Once into the meat of the story, I have to say, I was disturbed. Not in a “how could the author write this” way, but more of the “OMG, my kids are growing up and horrible stuff like this could happen to them” way coupled with a little bit of “was this going on at the schools where I used to teach???” Mainly because it quickly becomes clear that the story isn’t dealing with a teacher and a student falling in love. It’s dealing with rape. The squick-factor (I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t flashback-inducing for me because I really wasn’t prepared for that) made me very glad it was a short read. As far as the rape aspect goes… I think certain things were dealt with very well, although the girl who had the horrible nightmares about a very violent rape… not so much. It never showed her as having any sort of noticeable reaction to it at all until after arrests were made. That rang really false for me in that she was still having nightmares about it meant that it was seriously affecting her, but it didn’t show in her grades, her attitude, or even her appearance.

One thing this book did that the first didn’t was address the dream-catching ability more. Janie still doesn’t know where it came from, but she learns more about what she can do with it and what its long-term effects will be. (The knowledge will likely lead into book 3.)

As much as this book had its issues for me as a reader, it still left a much stronger impression than Wake did. (Plus the style wasn’t as hard to sink into.) To that end, I can give Fade a slightly stronger recommendation.

 

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