27 August 2016

[WAKE Review] The Dream Catcher Who Was Sucked By Others' Dreams

Book title: Wake (the 1st book of Dream Catcher Trilogy)
Author: Lisa McMann
Publication date: March 4th, 2008
Publisher: Simon Pulse
E-book version by Atria Books


Janie Hannagan had never dreamed her own dreams, until some extraordinary day when she finally had her own dream, for the 1st and then the 2nd time. Since eight years old, she discovered that if she was at a certain radius from sleeping ones, she would, somehow, be sucked into their dreams. And, weirdly, the person whose dream sucked Janie into always asked her for help.
“Why do all these people ask her for help?
She can’t do it.
Do it.” (p. 134)
Thanks to (or it shouldn’t be thanked for) her strange ability, Janie could know about her friend and neighbor Carrie’s grievous past, and no-one-who-later-became-her-boyfriend Cabel’s horrible past. In the midst of her bustle about school, working hours at Heather Nursing Home, her hate-love relationship with Cabel, her friendship with Carrie, her effort to survive despite of her alcoholic mother that didn’t care of anything including her daughter, the 17-year-old Janie still had to master her dream-catching superpower and to reveal the riddle behind it. Then, she could by experience, went out from one’s dream by concentrating, that would made her be paralyzed and have seizure.

At first, she felt like shit, being caught by ones’ dream, from one to another, moreover she’d ever had car crash because of a very strong and most scary bad dream… But then, she began to study by herself about dreams, tried to have lucid dream. A memo from Miss Stubin (Janie’s most favourite resident at Heather Nursing Home) not long after she’d died, and a peculiar dream involving Miss Stubin’s existence in Mr. McVicker (another resident at Heather) ’s dream, enlightened Janie’s understanding of her own ability. Besides, she also had to discover the Cabel’s mysterious job that involved Shay Wilder. And, how could there was second Cabel watching his own dream?
Dear Janie,
Thank you for my dreams.
From one catcher to another,
Martha Stubin
P.S. You have more power than you think.


“Dreams are not memories, Janie. They’re hopes and fears. Indications of other life stresses.” (Cabel, p. 222)


Years ago, when I was doing some researches about dream for writing my first published novel, the blurb of Wake intrigued me. I wanted to create a heroine who has a super power which enable her to manipulate dreams, and Janie’s ability sounds similar to hers. But, just now, I had opportunity to read its e-book version. And, I had too high expectation for this novel.


The story begins with a kind of prolog which introduces Janie’s superpower, in which she was caught in Luke Drake’s dream for 6 minutes. Then, plot flashes back to when she was 8 years old, when she got her first strange experience in someone’s dream. Quickly, the plot moves to when she was at sixth grade. The important event is when Janie wandered in her mother’s dream for the first and last time, since after that Janie always used door to block the connection to her mother’s dream.

The 17-year-old Janie had to deal with the strong, most scary dream, about “a huge young monster-man with knives for fingers” (p. 87) that then she discovered to be Cabel’s dream. Despite of facing this repetitive bad dream, the story grows romantic, too angst for me to read. The relationship between Cabel and Janie turns into an ordinary romance young adult story. But there’s something heartbreaking, i.e. when Cabel show his past through his scar to Janie. I found a part that quite cute, that’s when Cabel was still in his old look, Carrie teased Janie, “Lookie, it’s (Cabel) your boyfriend.” (p.57), and then he really became her boyfriend. Yeah, your future boyfriend can be someone around you that you’ve never expected before.


As the heroine of the story, Janie’s character is lovable. At such young age, she ought to struggle alone for her to survive, by working, put so much efforts to be able to get scholarship so that she could go to college. She might be down for a while, but the next minutes, she would try to find the solution. For example, she felt like shit because of her relationship with Cabel and the “stupid dream curse”, she sought the solution. She studied about dreams, practiced lucid dream…

And, Cabel was a sweet boy, who try to be mysterious but not succeded. I hope his terrible past had more room to be grown. His immense efforts to fix his relationship with Janie were worth much appreciation, though some time I found it too much, like the one when he made Captain explain everything to Janie about the secret operation.


The plot flows from one chapter to another, which in each chapter there are subchapters in the form of time stamping. This chaptering style enables me to track Janie’s adventure from one dream to another more easily and to distinguish between dreams and realities.

December 13, 2005, 2:45 a.m.

                When the phone rings, Janie jumps. She thinks it’s the alarm clock for one confused moment, but by the fourth ring she’s lunging for it.
                Hoping it’s Cabel.
                Hoping he’s standing outside, wanting to see her.

It’s quite exceeding expectation that such unadorned, straight writing style can show the emotion of the story effectively without wasting words.


The plot didn’t really keep me being curious. Not a page turner story. At first, I expected that mysterious character of Cabel will amuse me with something, but it turned out to be flat. The undercover operations that goes into the middle up to the end of the story seems to be put there just to make the story a little more mysterious. Moreover, the climax didn’t really grip my emotion, the solution was too easy; the Captain swimmingly help clear the problem. Ouch, and…, the Captain had known Miss Stubin before?! I hope that in the sequel, the author made it clear, including Janie’s power in more detail. Anyway, I give this book 2 stars out of 5.


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