Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The WAKE Trilogy by Lisa McMann

Title: WAKE / FADE / GONE (trilogy)
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: 3/4/08, 2/10/09, 2/9/10
Number of Pages: 210, 248, 219
Source of Book: Had the first one on my shelf and bought the next two at an author signing event.
Author's Website:

Goodreads Summaries:
     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, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can’t control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one 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.

      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....

     Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she’d made her peace with it. But she can’t handle dragging Cabel down with her.

     She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He’s amazing. And she’s a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves: She has to disappear. And it’s going to kill them both.
     Then a stranger enters her life — and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she’d ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out. . . .

I decided to talk about the whole WAKE trilogy together because I read them in such a short span of time. I started the first book knowing that I was going to see Lisa McMann speak, and I very quickly got hooked into the story. I got the next two books and flew through them as well, finishing the last one in under four hours. A combination of the writing style, the pacing and suspense of the plot, and the length of the books led to them being fast reads for me.

One of the things I liked the most, but took me a little bit to get used to when I started, was Lisa's use of a spare writing style that was a little bit jumpy at times (in a good way) and almost had a free verse feel to it in various parts. They are written in third person but sometimes switch perspectives from Janie to what the other characters would be thinking. When I heard her talk about her books, she said that her own daughter was a reluctant reader, and so that was her audience for this series, and I think the writing style fits that really well. She also uses date and time stamps to separate the progressing events in the stories, which I liked, although sometimes I had to look back to see what day I had been on to see how much time had passed to the next one.

I really liked Janie and Cabel quite a bit. They are both scarred characters who need someone who can be there for them, but each struggle with being that person for each other as well. Their journey and maturity is one of my favorite parts about this series. These books also have a portrayal of a child with an alcoholic parent, and the stress and responsibility that puts on Janie. Parts of the books in the dreams of others can be a little creepy, but the uniqueness of the ability and how it is used to help for good was very interesting to read. There were some great supporting characters as well that added to the story and showed that family isn't always made up of those you're born with.

I really enjoyed the first book as Janie figures out her abilities and things with Cabel, there are some pretty mature scenes and content especially in the second book, and the third book did not have as much action, but led up to a necessary conclusion for Janie's story with Cabel and puts them in a good place by the end.


  1. I remember when this series came out and I couldn't decide if I wanted to read it. It sounds though that with the fast pace and unique story line and writing style that I would enjoy it. I'm guessing you wouldn't recommend it for MG but for a YA crowd. I'll definitely have to read this series.


  2. I've got to read the rest of this series. I love her writing style because it's short and clipped so the story movies along fast.

    My sister - who wasn't a reader= really got hooked on these.