Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wake by Lisa McMann

This week, I've been totally swept up in the Wake series of books. Samantha, one of my students from last year gave me this book to read saying that she thinks I'll like it- she was right. I couldn't stop reading it!

Wake is the story of Janie, a 17 year old who is living with an alcoholic mother and basically raising herself. What sets Janie apart from others is that she gets sucked into other peoples dreams when they fall asleep. Since she is mostly around high school kids when they sleep, their dreams are generally filled with the opposite sex in various stages of dress (or undress). Janie fears that her secret will get out, she can't tell anyone because she knows this isn't normal. This leads her to live a fairly solitary life.

When she meets Cabel, she gets sucked into his nightmares and is slowly drawn into his world. With Cabel, while she gets the support she doesn't get anywhere else, a relationship with him is also dangerous on many levels.

This first book in the series was very compelling. There is a bit of swearing and some mature content, but it fits with the age of the characters and the storyline. What I found most interesting about Wake was the writing style. The short, choppy sentences really left me unsettled and uncomfortable, just like Janie felt throughout the whole book. But it also made me want to keep reading.

I found it interesting that this week as I was reading this series, I heard that the book is being challenged as an inappropriate book to have at a school. I really have issues with book banning. These adults that want to stop kids from reading books don't always seem to understand the maturity level or what compels kids to read. You can read Lisa McMann's response here. I have to agree with her- that the content in this book is appropriate for older students- mature grade 7 and 8's. There is some swearing and sexual references- but if you've been around grade 7's and 8's much- this is part of their vocabulary and thinking. It might be a good place to start a conversation.

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