First of all, I'd like to say the premise of this book is very interesting.
Imagine what it would be like if, whenever you were near people who fell asleep, you entered their dreams. That's what happens to Janie. She'll be walking along and then suddenly her body gets paralyzed and she goes blind and the next thing she knows she is inside some weird world - the world of a nearby dreamer.
Most of the time it isn't something she enjoys. Nightmares are the worst of course. Anyway, I loved the idea and I have to say that McMann delivers. She explores the idea fully while creating a very engaging and mysterious story filled with teen angst.
I read this book over two nights. Even though I'm very busy and have other things to do, I just couldn't put this one down.
By the way, I've got the hardcover version and it is so perfect. It has 210 beautiful pages and a really interesting looking cover which looks like it is glowing in the dark. Well done Simon Pulse publishers on printing a delightful book. There's just something about holding a book that is the right size with pristine, white paper stock and just the right font and print.
Anyway, I have to tell you more. This book is unique as far as I know. The writer is doing something very special here. McMann writes in third person (he/she). That's not super strange, but so many YA books are first person (I) so it is a bit different. It is also written in present tense. I don't know why, but it often sounds strange to me. The story moves along and kind of unnerves you. It seems strangely unreal. To add to the weirdness of it all, McMann writes in very short, choppy sentences. There are more three-word sentences in this book than you will find in a book of poetry. It is strange. Like poetry sometimes.
I's like when you see one of those hand-held camera movies for the first time, you think, "What's this?" And at first you aren't sure if you like it. It doesn't feel right. You may wonder whether you like it or not. However, the hand-held camera creates an unusual feeling of realism that brings you into the story and changes your reaction to the movie. McMann's writing does something like that. It makes you feel strange - mirroring the feeling that the character gets from her experience of being in other people's dreams. By the end of the book, the style draws you in and hypnotizes you. It has a strange disjointed rhythm to it.
I highly recommend this book. At 210 pages, it is an amazing, quick read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. BTW, this book has become so popular that it has been worked into a trilogy now. Fade (book 2) is out and the last book Gone is due out in February.
Additional Comments Added 22/08/09
I'm not going to tread too far on a slippery slope here. I like this book and I am featuring it on my blog because I believe other readers should know about it. I will, however, reiterate that the intention of my blog is to promote great books that I think will be interesting for the young people in the country where I presently live. Suffice it to say, I'll be keeping this book in my own collection to read and enjoy again someday.