Friday, March 9, 2012

The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann

* * * 1/2


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, curse with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into gruesome nightmare, on 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 …

The Wake Trilogy explores the very lonely and exhausting life of Janie who learns that she’s a dream catcher. As a dream catcher she is able to enter into someone’s dream and witness the dream as it unfolds. Janie is particularly susceptible to this if the sleeping person is in close proximity to her. And each time she wakes from the dream, her body and mind are completely wrecked. This has been her life for as long as she can remember. Lisa McCann eloquently builds Janie’s world of isolation and chaos. With a father who deserted the family and a mother so devastated by it that she turned to booze and mentally checked out years ago, it’s a real wonder that Janie manages to somehow hold it together and get good grades in school.

Janie is a different kind of hero – one who carries her own burden silently while simultaneously holding up the fractured remnants of her family. She deals. With her mother lost to her and only one friend who is unaware of her ability, Janie's life is a prison. It's hard to watch when she should be thriving at this time in her life.  

When she bonds with Cabel, a troubled boy from school whom she has known for a while, things begin to change for her. Despite the fact that she is used to keeping her guard up, he becomes a very important part of her life. His gentleness and sincerity are a counterbalance to her dysfunctional reality. And it's through Cabel that she thinks she can experience some sense of "normal" she didn't think possible.

The dreams are still there and when she inadvertently plunges into a horrific nightmare, she thinks she may actually loose her mind. But with Cabel’s help and his surprising story, Janie may finally get the help and support she needs.

In the next two books in the series, Fade and Gone, Janie gets to explore her ability and find a way to use it for good. Fade shows a much more lighthearted Janie even though she finds herself embroiled in a scandal that she and Cabel are investigating. This could not only compromise her safety but also expose her rare ability.

In Gone, Janie and Cabel are dealing with the fallout of the scandal and how it impacts their relationship. This book shows Janie returning to somber, guarded nature as she sadly admits that she can never be normal. Dream catching has also led to some serious side effects that are slowly affecting her. As if that isn't enough, she also learns shocking facts about her family history. By the end, Janie is at that proverbial “fork in the road” and must choose the path she’ll take. Either one leads to deteriorating circumstances but it really does come down to the lesser of two evils.

Out of the 3, I liked Fade best. It was nice to see Janie come alive somewhat and find a sense of purpose other than keeping up her grades and making sure the groceries are done. McMann doesn’t sugarcoat what she and Cabel go through. Even though this is a paranormal story, it rings true and McMann handles some really tough subjects like alcoholism with plenty of finesse.

I recommend The Wake Trilogy because Janie’s dark, twisted world is crafted so beautifully and honestly. And though Janie has a tough road ahead, there’s still some bit of hope. Is it a fun read? No. But I was riveted. And when it ended, I felt satisfied that Janie was in good hands.

~ Bel

No comments:

Post a Comment