Friday, May 8, 2009

Teen/YA Fiction Review: Wake and Fade

The first two books of a planned trilogy, Wake and Fade (Simon Pulse) by Lisa McMann are two of my favorite teen books from the past year. I lent the books to a 17-year old friend of mine who agreed that these two quick reads were exciting and suspenseful.

The main character, seventeen-year old Janie Hannagan, has an unusual problem: she gets pulled into other people’s dreams. Her knowledge of her classmates’ worst fears and weirdest fantasies, plus her inability to control this strange gift, has forced her to remain a loner. Wake opens with one of these bizarre episodes:

Janie Hannagan’s math book slips from her fingers. She grips the edge of the table in the school library. Everything goes black and silent. She sighs and rests her head on the table. Tries to pull herself out of it, but fails miserably. She’s too tired today. Too hungry. She really doesn’t have time for this.

And then.

She’s sitting in the bleachers in the football stadium, blinking under the lights, silent among the roars of the crowd.

She glances at the people sitting in the bleachers around her – fellow classmates, parents – trying to spot the dreamer. She can tell this dreamer is afraid, but where is he? Then she looks to the football field. Finds him. Rolls her eyes.

It’s Luke Drake. No question about it. He is, after all, the only naked player on the field for the homecoming game.

Nobody seems to notice or care. Except him. The ball is snapped and the lines collide, but Luke is covering himself with his hands, hopping from one foot to the other. She can feel his panic increasing. Janie’s fingers tingle and go numb.

Luke looks over at Janie, eyes pleading, as the football moves toward him, a bullet in slow motion. “Help,” he says….

Janie lives a solitary life, never knowing when she’ll be pulled into someone else’s dream and temporarily paralyzed. She learns how to get by and what kinds of situations to avoid (like study hall after lunch), but then she gets pulled into a recurring nightmare where she is not just watching but is a participant. Janie tries to make sense of the frightening dream and figure out what to do about it.

Meanwhile, Janie finally finds a friend who she can trust and confide in. She also learns that she can control certain aspects of her strange ability, though it’s a long and difficult process, as she struggles to gain critical information from the nightmare and help its dreamer.

In Fade, Janie uses her unique talent to help the police find a sexual predator at her high school. I don’t want to say anything else about the plot because it would give away too much of the first book. Both books are filled with fast-paced suspense, mystery, a little romance, and no small amount of creepiness. I really enjoyed them, as did my husband and our 17-year old friend, and I’m looking forward to the third book, Gone.

Wake 210 pages
Fade 247 pages
Simon Pulse (an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Best for ages 15 and up, due to sexual content and some violence

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved both of these and can't wait for Gone! Although I haven't been a YA for awhile now :)