Saturday, May 22, 2010


I was gone for five days last week visiting my sister and her husband in Port Aransas, Texas. They recently retired from their jobs in Austin and moved to the beach. He is now the chief of police in Port Aransas and they just moved into their fabulous new beach house. While there, I consumed mass quantities of seafood, helped them with their house warming party, and read Gone, the final book in Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy.
For those of you not familiar with the Wake trilogy, it is a really unique paranormal series about Janie Hannagan, a girl who is a dream catcher. The first book, Wake, introduces Janie who has been inexplicably pulled into other people's dreams since she was eight years old. Through a patient at the Heather Nursing Home where she works, Janie finds out she has the ability to help people resolve their nightmares. Exhausted by being constantly pulled into the dreams of fellow students who are napping at school, Janie seeks to find a way to control the dreaming. She gets involved with Cabel, a former bad-boy who has hellish nightmares, and Janie realizes her ability may be a blessing and not just a curse.
In the second book, Fade, Janie is now working undercover for the police, using her abilities to help them solve crimes. Janie and Cabel are investigating teachers suspected of drugging and abusing students at class parties. Janie sets herself up as bait, and her relationship with Cabel is strained as he feels unable to protect her. The physical toll her dream catching will ultimately exact is also revealed, and Janie is faced with deciding how much she is willing to sacrifice in order to continue her undercover work for the police.
In the final book, Gone, Janie discovers her long lost father is also a dream catcher. When she meets him for the first time, he is in a coma in the hospital. As Janie is pulled into his hellish nightmares, she realizes that he chose a life of isolation, rather than face the debilitating side effects of using his abilities. However, if she makes the same choice, it means abandoning her undercover work and, more importantly, Cabel, whom she loves more than life itself.
Lisa McMann, in a note to readers, admits that she procrastinated in writing the last book of the trilogy, because she didn't want it all to end. When she finally finished the first draft of the book, she sent it off to her editor, thinking all it need was some "polishing." Her editor sent it back with notes telling her it wasn't strong enough. Lisa realized she had been holding back and Gone needed to be completely rewritten. With only three weeks before she went on a book tour to support Fade, she found a theme song for Janie, Dido's "Here with Me," and listened to it over and over until she had the courage to begin again. I was fascinated by the Morton's Fork (a situation involving choice between two equally undesireable outcomes) concept, which Lisa used to characterize Janie's dilemma. The result is a very satisfying resolution to a terrific series.

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