February 19, 2011

Book Review: Wake

Title: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
Series: Wake novels
Length: 210 pages
On-Sale Date: March 4, 2008
Format: Trade paperback

Lisa McMann is the author of the Wake trilogy.
Janie is just a regular seventeen-year-old girl … Wait, no, she’s not.  Since she can remember, she has been sucked into other people’s dreams.  She can’t control it.  She can’t escape.  Obviously, she wants it to stop.  Naturally, it won’t.
Janie has learned to cope with her “disability”.  She even avoids driving down a specific street after a particularly nasty nightmare.  Except, after that nightmare she needs to be more careful.  She knows that.
What Janie doesn’t notice, is Cabel Strumheller, but Cabel notices her.
Janie learns more than she bargained for.  About the dreams.  About love.  About herself.

I stumbled upon Lisa McMann accidentally, and I couldn’t have been luckier.
I read Wake in hours.  Lisa wrote so fluidly that you would not have noticed moving from page 2 to page 200.
Yes, I had a very book-filled weekend when I read Lisa McMann.
As the reader, I was immediately immersed in the story and completely comfortable with Lisa’s style of writing.  Her characters developed rapidly but they were still recognizable from beginning to end.  I loved that Janie didn’t entirely change.  She didn’t need to.
As the story progressed our heroine came out of her shell.  Janie learned a lot once she got over her stubborn attitude … And once Cabel got past her hard exterior.
The main characters were brutally tortured.  They had been through so much, and your heart just broke for them.  But, they used their pain to their advantage, and found strength in weakness.  I found Cabel and Janie to be inspiring and realistic characters.  Simply put, they were superb and complimented each other nicely.
Cabel was the perfect match for Janie.  They had each experienced so much pain that they understood and consoled each other.  Wake was far from just a love story, but Janie and Cabel were one of my favourite couples to read.  They had chemistry from the very beginning, and you knew they weren’t real, (sad, I know), but you wanted them to be.  They gave you hope.
Wake was the beginning of a relationship.  It was sweet and simple (if you subtract the dreams, drugs, and dishonesty).  Janie and Cabel had so much separate history.  They were tortured souls, but they managed to trust each other by the end.  Granted, they were both guarded because of their pasts, but that was what made them real (at least to me).  They did not automatically and immediately fall madly in love.  They were aware of each other for years, but Janie never considered a romantic relationship with Cabel until … (Sorry, no spoilers for you!)
Janie and Cabel fit together.  I could not put it any other way.
Cabel was a character you loved to love.  He was not the conventional boy character.  He had personality and dimension.  He was the not-so-typical-boy-next-door.
Wake mirrored reality, because the writer understood teenagers.  The teenagers (and really all of the characters) in the Wake world were the same as the people outside my door (figuratively speaking).  The shady actions were not glossed over.  Teenagers have sex.  Teenagers do drugs.  The book did not endorse these actions, (and the author did not necessarily support them), but it certainly told it how it was, and I respect the author for that.
I believe that it takes courage for an author to tell a story with characters as realistic as these, because they would possibly have to deal with a lot of silliness for it.
Reading Wake was almost better than eating chocolate........yum.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Song of the day: Ring, Ring, Ring sung by Darren Criss (from Glee)


  1. Ok so I walk by this everytime I'm at the bookstore. I must buy it now :)

  2. Awesome review! "But, they used their pain to their advantage, and found strength in weakness" -- that's so beautiful and captures the essence of this book!