Friday, February 13, 2009

Book Reviews: Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann

17 year old Janie feels like she’s cursed. Not only is she dirt poor with an unemployed drunk for a mother, she also gets sucked into other people’s dreams if they fall asleep in her vicinity. Afraid of what would happen if someone found out about her ability, she tries to cope with it as best she can all alone. But the stakes are raised when she falls into someone’s gruesome nightmare and sees herself as a participant. Will she ever be able to just live a normal life?

Wake is at its heart a classic “superhero” origin story. Janie may not wear a cape, but she does have a “superpower” that she has to come to terms with and learn to control during the course of the novel.

Janie is often exhausted physically and emotionally due to all her dream excursions, so her attitude is pretty no nonsense. She does just enough to get by – at home, at school and at her job at a nursing home. The writing style really reflects this, with short, choppy sentences that don’t beat around any bushes.

The tone is on the dark side, but I liked that as Janie works through her issues, she also starts expand her personal interactions – even enough to include a love interest. Janie’s relationship with broken boy Cabel is one of the more touching I’ve read.

I’m glad I waited to read this until I got the sequel, because as soon as I turned the last page, I was eager to dive into Fade.

****If you haven’t read Wake yet, and you don’t like spoilers, don’t read any further because I am about to discuss its sequel, Fade.****

As Fade begins, Janie is finally feeling kind of good about herself: she has a boyfriend (even though they have to meet in secret for now), she’s working on controlling her powers, and she has a sense of purpose thanks to her job with the police. But then, when Janie is put on a case involving a suspected sex predator at her high school, she gets in way over her head. And she learns the bleak truth about being a dream catcher.

Fade was just as engrossing as Wake, and although the undercover police plot seemed a bit too convenient in many ways, the dream catcher reveal was really shocking and surprising. Fans of the Janie/Caleb relationship in Wake will also be thrilled to know that they’ll be getting lots of hot “off again/on again” drama between the two.

Fade doesn’t end on a cliffhanger (thank God!), but I am definitely looking forward to February 2010 when I can get the next book in the series.

Both Wake and Fade are available now.

Read a great new interview with Author Lisa McMann over at Maw Books Blog.


S. Krishna said...

I only read the first half of your review because I haven't read either of these books yet, but you've wanted to make me read these even more!

H said...

I also only read the first half of the review, but you've intrigued me. Now I want to get a copy of Wake even more!

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the second book, I cannot wait to read it. I really enjoyed how strong Janie was in spite of all the crap she goes through. And I really liked the person from the nursing home (forgotten the name) who knows whats going on. The only thing I was a bit put off by was the Freddy Krueger like dream monster... a bit more originality there would have been better for me.

Lisa said...

These look really good! More for the TBR pile.

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

Only read half as well =P I'm definitely going to check this book out. Thanks Lenore

Anonymous said...

Oh, sounds like me. Except for the drunk mother part.. and the sucked into dreams part. Working at a nursing facility is extremely tiring.

Wasn't this covered in 'Nightmare on Elm Street'?

Steph Su said...

Once I've cleaned my TBR pile up a bit, I am definitely going to pick up Wake!

Thao said...

The series sound awesome and (somewhat scary), I wish I could read it. I hope Gone will be even better than these two.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review! I've seen these books floating around, but never knew what they were about (and I suppose too tired to find out more on my own). This sounds really interesting! I'll have to be sure to check out both books, so I don't have to be hanging on a cliff forever! ;)


Lenore Appelhans said...

The Freddy Krueger-like monster was so minor that I didn't even think about it while I was writing my review. Although I'm guessing the character who had the dream probably saw the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and that was a familiar character to them. I can't tell you many times characters from movies and tv show up in my dreams.

And no, anon, this is actually very, very different from Nightmare on Elm Street. And it's not horror or really all that scary even.

Epic rat - Wake doesn't end of a cliffhanger either. But so many other series books do.

Beth Kephart said...

And all I want to say is:

HAPPY Valentine's Day, Dear Lenore!!

Steph said...

GONE is released in 2010, m'dear :P

Fab reviews! Still have to read FADE.


Lenore Appelhans said...

Hehe. Thanks for pointing that out Steph ;)

Ladytink_534 said...

These both sound really neat! I just read a book where one of the characters was a Dream Walker like Janie.

Anonymous said...

i absolutly loves your book wake, i deffinatly want to read your next book, fade. My friend got me started in reading these books. i love them, they are funny, and sensetive at the same time. i would read it again.

trish said...

I was actually disappointed in WAKE, which led me to not read FADE (though I did check it out of the library, I returned it unread). I felt like the writing in WAKE was choppy and while I loved the premise, I thought it was executed on a mediocre level. Also, not great that I read WINTERGIRLS on the heels of WAKE and loved WINTERGIRLS. BUT, I could totally see how someone would like WAKE.

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