Friday, November 05, 2010

Wake by Lisa McMann, aptly entitled as I am unable to sleep till I write about this book

Wake by Lisa McMann
Copyright 2008
Simon Pulse - YA
210 pages

Seriously, I'm awake because of Wake. How nutty is that? I bought Wake yesterday (not having been to bed, yet, it still feels like Thursday, but okay . . . it's Friday), primarily because I haven't finished a single book, this week, and am nowhere remotely close to finishing any other book, although I'm naturally fiercely enthralled with Désirée because it's an all-time favorite re-read. It's just been a stupidly busy week.

Point being, I needed to finish something, anything, because not finishing something is very unfulfilling and leaves a girl with a hollow sensation that cannot be tolerated. I'm sure some of you know that feeling.

Wake is the first book in a trilogy and it tells the story of Janie, a teenager who is uncontrollably sucked into the dreams of those who fall sleep and dream within a certain proximity. Whether she's awake or asleep, she is unable stop herself from falling into dreams. Janie has suffered from her dream-sucking misery since she was 8 years old. Now 17, Janie is finding it increasingly difficult to keep her secret.


  • There's this really cute guy she can't decide whether to love or hate.
  • Janie's the dirt-poor child of an alcoholic and is madly working and saving money for college but it's kind of rough keeping your head above water when teenagers are falling asleep around you while you're trying to study or pay attention in class.
  • She is repeatedly pulled into a gruesome nightmare and may not be able to handle visiting the twisted mind of a stranger.
  • When she's sucked into a dream, it looks like she's having a seizure.
What I loved about this book:

Could. Not. Put. Down.

Admittedly, I wasn't going to put the book down anyway, unless it turned out to be such a slog that I wasn't going to finish it before dawn. And, I definitely should have started reading before 9:00 PM and not stopped to talk to my husband or play with the cats merely because both were bothering me and too unbearably cute to ignore. But, man . . . what a ride. I absolutely loved the concept, the uniqueness, the characters, the pacing. It is going to kill me not being able to rush right out to buy the second book, Fade, but there is no way I can justify going to the Big City to buy a single book after all the time I've spent driving, getting pummeled and shopping, this week. Darn.

What I disliked about Wake:

Picky little things, like the fact that I know a little too much about dreams and one very critical scene absolutely does not make sense given the facts (plus, I can't figure out the timing in that scene -- I think I'll write the author about that). I am such a vivid dreamer that I started reading up on dreams, what they mean, where they come from, etc., decades ago. So, it's not perfect on that score but if you're not someone who has taken the time to research dreams, I'm sure that won't matter one whit.


Profanity (including the annoyingly-common "f" word), frightening imagery and drug and sexual references make this an R-rated book but please bear in mind that the protagonist is a person of strong character and the violent images and sexual references aren't that bad. I was quite pleased that the protagonist was focused on her studies and very hard-working; I would definitely hand this one to my teenager because, apart from a bit of occasional heavy drinking, Janie is so admirable I'd call her role-model material. I do wish people would leave out the gosh darned swearing, though, dagnabbit -- or at least tone it down.

The bottom line:

Boy, that was fun. A page-turning read with well-developed, believable characters and situations, a unique storyline and an admirable heroine.

Cover thoughts:

It fits. I'm so tired I can't think of much else to say, but I think it's eye-catching. It's definitely making me crave my own pillow.

I'm planning to write one more review before posting a Fiona Friday photo, but we'll see if I can stay conscious long enough to type, tomorrow. I mean, later today. Gah. Need sleep. Need to learn how to bang out a quick review and quit editing my reviews to death. Gotta go.

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  1. I loved your review; now you need to read Banana Yoshimoto's Asleep (which is apparently about the dreams of others as well, and quite beloved).

    I need to read both of them.

    May your dreams be sweet when you get there. My personal favorite dream of all time was when I dreamed completely in French. I was speaking it so beautiful, really, because I was in my sixth year. It was a wonderful feeling to be so fluent in Paris. :)

  2. Wow, you've made that sound like a must read!

  3. Bellezza,

    Okay. I just read about Asleep and it sounds fun, so I added it to my wish list!

    I dreamed about the book. Figures. But, that was fine. I enjoyed it so much that I didn't mind mentally repeating the story in my dreams. Usually, that's a sign that there's plenty to mull.

    Ah, how cool! I can only understand a little French and splutter a few fragments, but sometimes it's great for eavesdropping. That must have been an awfully fun dream!!


    I think some people might have trouble getting into the book in the first place (it took some adjustment time for me) but I'd say the patient are rewarded with a rocking fine read. It's nothing brilliant, writing-wise, but it's original and nicely suspenseful. Actually, it would be particularly wonderful for a 24-hour reading marathon!!

  4. I've read both this and the second book and I'm just so divided on them. I like them, but there's also something about them that puts me off, something in the writing I just can't put my finger on.

  5. Amanda,

    This may sound weird, but that doesn't surprise me. As I was reading, I thought, "I like the idea more than the execution" and it occurred to me that it might put some people off. It was just what I was looking for, though, at the moment. I was in the mood for something a little different but a quick read and I really enjoyed it.

  6. I've heard of this book before but it's been a while and I liked your review. I am a very vivid dreamer, really crazy fantastical dreams, so the concept intrigues me. I haven't done a lot of research on dreams so I don't know that I would spot anything 'off' about the depictions.

  7. Christy,

    Thank you! Isn't it fun having vivid dreams? I love mine because half the time it's like I've been to the movies; the other half of the time I have a little trouble distinguishing reality from my dreams, but husband is very good about setting me straight. I hope you love it, if you do read the book. I just managed to buy the second book, today. Squeee! Now, if the guys would just give me some reading time . . .


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