Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Plot Summary:
Janie Hannagan has always been different. Unlike most of her peers, she doesn't have a father and her mother is an alcoholic. All her life, Janie had to settle for second hand clothing and endless ridicule from her peers. However, what sets Janie apart from all of them is her ability to enter dreams.As she gets older, the more developed her gift becomes, which makes it almost impossible for her to deal with. In fact, things seem to take a turn for the worse when she becomes close with one of the residents whom she manages to help during her dream. When life cannot get any harder, she becomes closer to a guy named Cabel who makes an amazing transformation from typical stoner to super hottie. He and Janie seem to have a lot in common, but Janie is starting to learn that things are not always as they seem, especially when she enters the dreams of people she knows and his horrified by what she sees.

Critical Evaluation: 
This story, written in diary form that includes dates and times, is easily devoured. The moment readers read the beginning they will finish it in a few hours. As her debut novel, Lisa McMann has not only captured the attention of critics, she has gained a following of Wake fans. I picked up this novel after rave reviews from the teens I work with and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. What I enjoyed the most about this story is that Janie is a character that a lot of people can relate to despite her strange gift. Not only does she have to deal with the pressures to fit in, she is unable to reveal her true self to those she loves simply because she does not want to be seen as a freak. More importantly, despite the fact that she has been independent all her life, Janie has a great heart where she decides to use her gift to help others rather than suppress it. Teens who are struggling with their identities will definitely empathize with her and cheer her on as she finally begins to control her abilities.

Information about the Author: 
In the fourth grade, Lisa McMann decided she wanted to be a writer. According to her website, Lisa was born in  Holland Michigan and currently resides in Arizona. She got her idea for Wake while dreaming about it (literally). She is the mother of two and when they are at school she is usually writing or taking care of business. When she isn't writing, she is confirmed reality television junkie who also loves to cook, swim, read, and hang out with her family.

When asked if she has any advice for aspiring teen writers, she states:
Sure. If you can possibly do another job instead of writing and still enjoy your life, do that instead. Writing is hard. There are a lot of disappointments and no guarantees. Be prepared to write a second or third or fifteenth novel if the first ones don’t sell. Be prepared to put the words you love in a drawer for a long time while you work and work to get better at writing. Once you’ve focused on WRITING instead of GETTING PUBLISHED, you’re doing the right thing. Then, go find a writing message board where you can learn how this business works – it’s pretty complicated. There’s a lot of research you need to do to figure it out. But remember, you won’t get anything published if you don’t put all your effort into simply writing first (para.14).
Teen Mysteries

Reading Level/Interest: 
Grades 9 & up   

Books Similar to Wake:

Awards & Recognition:
  • Abraham Lincoln Book Award Master List (IL),
  • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers,
  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee (NJ)
  • Gateway Readers Award Nominee (MO)
  • Georgia Peach Book Award Master List
  • IRA Young Adults' Choices
  • Nevada Young Reader's Award Nominee
  • Texas Tayshas Reading List
  • YALSA Teens Top Ten (TTT)
  • Young Adult Reading Program Reading List Selection (SD)

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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