EDIT: I have since removed the spoilers that were previously published in this post.

WakeTitle: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
ISBN: 9781416953579
Pages: 210 pages
Publisher/Date: Simon Pulse, c2008.

She closes her eyes. Tries to think. Holds up a weak finger, letting him know she needs a moment. But she feels the next one coming already. She doesn’t have much time. And she has to prepare him. She doesn’t have a choice.
“Cabel. Do not freak if–when–I do that again, okay? Do NOT stop the bus. Do NOT tell a teacher, oh God, no. No matter what.” She grips the armrests and fights to keep her vision. “Can you trust me? Trust me and just let it happen?”
The pain of concentration is excruciating. She is cringing, holding her head. […] Cabel is gawking at Janie. “Okay,” he says. “Okay.” (74)

In Lisa McMann’s first book Wake, seventeen year old Janie Hannangan is getting fed up with her special ability to jump uncontrolably into people’s dreams. It’s been happening ever since she was eight, with increasing frequency now that her classmates are falling asleep in school and on fieldtrips. She’s kept her curse a secret, until classmate Cabel starts trying to determine what’s different about Janie. Her ability reveals that Cabel also has his own secrets to hide, and they just might be more than she ever realized.

FadeTitle: Fade
Author: Lisa McMann
ISBN: 9781416953586
Pages: 248 pages
Publisher/Date: Simon Pulse, c2009.

“We’ve done complete background checks on all the teachers. Everyone comes up squeaky clean. And now we’re stuck. Cabe, Janie, this is why I had you at the all-nighter. I’m looking for any information you can give me about Fieldridge teachers who might be sexual predators in their spare time. Are you up for the challenge? This one could be a bit dangerous. Hannagan, chances are, the predator is male. If we can determine who we’re after, we may need to use you as bait so we can nail him. Think about it and get back to me on how you feel about it. If you don’t want to do this assignment, you’re off the hook. No pressure.” (14-15)

In Fade, the sequel to Lisa McMann’s Wake, Janie Hannagan is becoming decidedly more hands-on with her second police investigation. Rather than relying on her dreams, she puts herself in the thick of things trying to track a sexual predator. While she’s gaining more control over her dream powers, she’s also realizing that there might be consequences to them that she was never aware of originally. On top of that, she’s trying to keep her overly-protective boyfriend a secret from everyone and deal with senior year responsibilities. When she begins to get in over her head, who will help her distinguish what is real and what is the dream world?
Just a warning: If I was providing a rating for these books, I would probably rate it PG-13, because it does contain swearing and scenes of nudity, sexuality, and violence. That being said, it’s a unique concept that was pulled off brillantly. The only complaint I have heard was the fact that there wasn’t one “good” parent in the entire book, with Janie’s mom being an alcoholic, Cabel’s parents are horrible (especially his dad) and Janie’s friend Carrie’s parents seem out of sorts until you learn the why behind it. But Janie would not be able to do what she does if her mother was the overprotective mother. Janie’s frustrations with her talent/disorder are relatable, and Cabel’s reactions are authentic. Their relationship is genuine, with both becoming jealous as a result of things the other has to do for their police work. The teens read like real teens, with swearing punctuated by bursts of anger, resentment, gossip, and joy. Cabel’s overprotectiveness of Janie is touching and I like him more then another overprotective boyfriend we’ve seen in a recent release. *cough*Twilight series*cough* He has good reason to be legitimately concerned, considering Janie’s struggles to control the situations she’s placed in. His reactions are pitch perfect, with the initial freak out and distancing once he discovers her ability, and then attachment to her. These two wounded loners want something good to happen in their lives and when it finally does, they don’t know how to handle it or how to not loose it. They’re a couple you cheer for.

A third book, Gone is planned for Feb. 2010, and I hope it is as well written, gripping and engaging as the first two. Find out more at her website: http://www.lisamcmann.com/