Monday, April 11, 2011

Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake (Wake Series, Book 1)
First, congratulations to Alexis, randomly-selected winner of my Fool for Books Giveaway Hop.I really enjoyed reading all your "fool" answers. Loved ones, sugar (and chocolate), books, and puppies were some of the most frequent responses.

Next, Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster - Simon Pulse) surprised me in a good way.

I admit it: I’m not particularly drawn to paranormal stories, of any subgenre, and I’ve had enough bad experiences to shy away from them, and Wake looked like a paranormal. I suppose it is a paranormal, even though my knee-jerk definition of paranormal is narrower than what’s really on the shelves. Even if my experiences aren’t bad, per se, I’ve always felt sort of cheated by ghost boyfriends, the inevitable turning into a vampire stories, the...I dunno, hairiness of werewolf stories. I’ve read some compelling books for all of the things I think I don’t like, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I find a good read that challenges my assumptions.

Wake was a challenger for me. Janie Hannagan has pretty restless nights than can turn into restless days. If she’s near someone and they’re asleep, she gets sucked into their dreams--the embarrassing ones, the ones that are subconscious wishes and desires, the wish fulfillment, the nightmares. She can’t tell anyone, even her best friend, and she can’t remove herself from the dreams--and now, she’s not just an unwilling observer. She has to find a way to control the dreams, because she’s in a lot of danger and pain as a result, and she desperately wants to live a normal life, to go to college, to escape her somewhat lonely existence. And there’s a boy, but the boy doesn’t save her so much as he supports her in saving herself, so BOO YAH to that.

As the first part in a trilogy, Wake stands alone. It’s a relatively short book, coming in at around 200 pages, but I felt that was right for the amount of story in the book and to wrap up at a satisfactory spot.

I'm interested: Do you mentally classify paranormals as fantasy, science fiction, horror, or some combination of the three (or something else)? Labeling books is fraught with peril, of course, so I don't personally think there is a right or wrong answer, and I'm grateful that YA books haven't--until recently--been divided by genre in most book stores. Barnes and Noble, I'm looking (and glaring) at you for your recent changes.

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