In the land of young adult fiction, the verbose are queen. I have read quite a bit YA fiction in the last couple of years and while some of it has been more interesting than the adult fiction I have read lately, I often bemoan the fact that the authors are in desperate need of a good editor. Maybe all the mopey indecision and tendency toward multiple pages of blathering is a metaphor for adolescence? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
When I picked up the first book of the “Wake Trilogy” a year or so ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find a concise, if not terse, little book. The trilogy is sectioned into days and hours making each novel a clinical study of the heroine, Janie. Even the most intimate moments are distilled into precise sentences that are served up like little sucker punches.
The books center around a girl who is involuntarily pulled into other people’s dreams. When her classmates fall asleep and begin to dream, so does Janie. This makes for a very uncomfortable study hall, as you can well imagine. Through the course of the novels, she discovers a kindred spirit, meets a pretty awesome boy and begins to learn how to control her ability which leads to some slightly superhero like crime fighting.
There is a disability to her ability, of course, and that is what is explored in the last novel of the trilogy, “Gone”. I recommend all of the books, “Wake”, “Fade” and “Gone”, but the last is a bit weaker than the other two. The pace of the novels, the tightness of the writing, and short length of each really promote reading them all back to back and the year or so between my reading of the first two and the last influenced my enjoyment of “Gone” a bit.
Ultimately, it is Lisa McMann’s ability to flesh out believable teenagers having believable conversations that makes these books refreshing. The supernatural part takes a backseat to the natural part of the stories, which is a refreshing change.