Wake (Wake Series, Book 1)
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PJV’s Quickie POV: Wake is a quick thrill ride that can be devoured within a day and leave you wanting more. The tone and narration of the book is very different than other books – which left me intrigued instead of turned-off. I highly recommend this book, but parents you might want to read first before giving to your teens.  Mature language and sexual references might not be appropriate for younger teens.

Review: Janie since she was 8 years old has had the ability to enter people’s dreams. As she has gotten older the jumping into dreams has come with more frequency, and a lot of dread because she can’t control it. One minute she is Algebra class the next moment she is in the jock’s, that just fell asleep, dream about falling. She can’t control it, she can’t prevent it, it is literally driving her crazy.

The book flash back and forth between Janie’s life and her battle with the dreams.  It spans a period of time from about 12 to the present which is  Janie at 17, all within 104 pages (I read the digital edition so this may differ from the print version – Amazon lists as 224 pages).  Within this time span, Janie meets her best friend, Carrie, and the mysterious Cabel.  Cabel shows interest in Janie, but can Janie trust him?  While he seems to like her, there are rumors flying around the school about him that just don’t make sense. Janie needs to trust someone though, because the dreams are getting out of hand and she need serious help.  Her mother is useless, the doctors think she has some kind of seizure disorder, who can Janie ask for help?

The tone and narration of this novel is quite unique in its style.  McMann narrates Wake as if she is stating the facts and nothing more.  There is really no embellishments, no heady descriptions to set the scene.  Scenes are set with forth-right statements of character actions and little is paid to the environment around the characters. At first I was a little thrown off my style, but as I got deeper into this novel, I began to really enjoy McMann’s no-nonsense tone.

Characters are well developed. I really enjoyed reading about Janie, she was a tough character that was going through a lot and I was able to relate to her reactions. Cabel was also a likable character.  I actually felt betrayed by him when Carrie revealed his untrustworthy behavior. Carrie on the other hand I didn’t relate to. I thought her character wasn’t as developed and was just the authors tool to convey information to Janie from “the Hill” (the ‘in’ rich crowd).

The plot-lines were fairly original, the story was compelling.  The love development was believable and I was emotionally effected by Cabel and Janie.  The ending was the only thing that left me not as impressed, I just thought the wrap-up was a little too neat, but sticking with the tone of the novel, I don’t see how the author could have done it any differently.  I am very excited to read Gone, the second book in this series.

Recommendations: I would pass this on to older teens and adults.  The story is a mature YA novel that adults would enjoy and teens would relate to.  While there is strong language and sexual references it was nothing that I found offensive and actually made the characters more believable. I can remember how I was at 17 and I wasn’t saying “Aw shucks” and “Fire Truck”. So, keep that in mind if you are buying this for a teen.  Also, while this has a paranormal basis, it is not too over the top for people that don’t generally read that genre to get in to.