In Wake, 17-year-old Janie has a far-from-ideal life. She lives with her single mother, who has been emotionally distant and reliant on alcohol for as long as Janie can remember. They live in the bad part of town, and Janie's income from her job at the nursing home is pretty much all that keeps food on the table.
But these problems all seem simple compared to Janie's real struggle: the dreams. Any time Janie is close to someone who is dreaming, she gets sucked in. She witnesses their dreams--and their nightmares--and she is powerless to pull herself out. Physically, it looks like she's having some kind of seizure.
When Janie was a child, she wasn't around very many sleeping people. But now, between her high school classmates falling asleep during classes and the nursing home residents dozing at all hours, Janie is bombarded by dreams.
And then there's Cabel, the mysterious loner from Janie's neighborhood. She sees herself in one of his dreams, and eventually he learns her secret. But can Janie really trust Cabel, or is he keeping secrets of his own?
My student was right--I loved this book. I was sucked into Janie's story as thoroughly as she is sucked into other people's dreams. I just couldn't put the book down. When I finished it (less than 24 hours after checking it out), I immediately starting thinking about picking up the sequel, Fade. I recommend Wake for any fan of YA fiction, either male or female. I definitely plan on reading more of McMann's books in the future!