Janie gets sucked into other people’s dreams.  She tries to stop it, but can’t resist the overwhelming pull.  She first noticed it happening when she was eight-years-old.  Janie has witnessed everything from the typical falling dream and standing naked in front of a crowd dream to World War II battle dreams.  Most of the time she is just an observer.  Even if the dreamers ask for her help, she can’t manage to do anything.

Janie’s life has been hindered by this “curse.”  She found out early that sleepovers weren’t good for her.  The close proximity of the other girls caused her to experience their dreams and not get any rest for herself.  It doesn’t have to be nighttime for this to happen though.  Anytime someone around her is asleep – she gets sucked in – at school, on the bus, driving down the road, etc.  When she is in someone else’s dream it looks as if she is having a seizure.  All she knows is that she loses feeling in her limbs and becomes paralized.  The more frightening the dream, the faster the numbness occurs.

Janie has an alcoholic mother, an unknown father, and is extremely poor.  She lives on the “wrong” side of town and has one loyal friend.  She lives in isolation in order to avoid being stuck in someone’s dream. 

A new addition to her life is Cabel.  He lives in her neighborhood and seems to be a loner.  She has several interactions with him throughout the book, but their lives become intertwined when she has to let him know about her problem while they are on a school trip together and she is stuck on a bus for several hours with her napping classmates being sucked into one dream after another the whole way.  Cabel must help her through.  This is a comfort to Janie as well as a new stress.  She grows to like Cabel very much, but when she begins to get sucked into his gruesome dream and hears some particularly damning rumors about him, she questions her feelings for him.

With the help of an unlikely person she meets at the nursing home (and some books from the library), Janie begins to gain a little control over her “curse.”  The reader will be sucked into the dreams with Janie.  Your heart will go out to her and cheer as she makes her way through life given the obstacles she must overcome.  WAKE is a very inventive story and I can’t wait for the sequel.

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