Fade. New York: Simon Pulse.
Page count? I don't know! I read it on my Kindle. But Amazon says it's 272 pages.
What's going on with this cover? I don't get it. How does a glass of water relate to this story? To fading? That water doesn't look like it should be drunk. In fact that water looks like it'd be an instant trip to a bad place, filled with indigestion and regret over drinking that one glass filled with whirling, mouth-wash colored water. What is up with that glass? Is it punch? That's mentioned in the book. But the punch isn't supposed to be blue. It is winter in the book. Has a glass of snow melted? Does that count as fading these days? Would someone please explain this cover to me. I don't understand.
Sorry. I just had to get that out of the way. Moving on...
30-Second Plot Summary: Set just a few weeks after the events of Wake, Janie and her secret-boyfriend Cabel prepare for a new job for the local police, who have reason to believe one of their high school's teachers may be sexually abusing students at their school. Janie prepares to track down the teacher, offering herself as bait.
So, I've been thinking more about my issues with Lisa McMann's writing of this series. As with Wake, I again had trouble with Fade on the basis of the writing. I like McMann's use of the present tense. As always, this tense provides a sense of immediacy and closeness as I read. My problem arises because McMann also often tells in her narrative instead of showing and shares information from other characters' points of view. This works in direct opposition with the present tense, keeping me at a distance from Janie's story, and complicating my ability to get into the story.
This time around though, I also felt like a lot of the dialogue felt contrived. I mainly got this vibe with the police chief, who is your standard hardened cop who still feels warm and gushy for her cops and teenaged-undercover recruits. But the vibe was also present during a lot of Janie and Cabel's couple-ly banter. Part of this could be my distaste for pet names like sweets, baby and JUST GAG ME NOW and my own unsentimental tendencies. But the book made me want to role my eyes. Several times.
Now, having voiced all my issues in rapid succession, I'd like to reassert the fact that I do love the premise of this series. As I said during our Wake Literary Feast, I would watch this TV show.
I love that the books are set in Michigan *Waves to my birth state* and that McMann captured a Michigan winter with honesty. *Points at all the Michigan snow and does a dance that involves shaking my rump in Michigan's direction since Ohio is a few degrees warmer* Take that, you state of cold and ice.
I absolutely love the tension McMann created over the fact that it's taking Janie's vision longer and longer to return after she does her dream walking. It makes me completely nervous and worried for her as a reader, especially since I was very aware that Miss Stubin, Janie's predecessor was blind. Eep. Will Janie lose her ability to see outside of dreams? Tune in next book!
I also like that McMann doesn't turn away from grittier teen issues relating to class, alcoholism, and to a teacher taking advantage of students.
While this series may be best as enjoyable reads (and as a perfect recommendation for reluctant teen readers since you pick one of these books up and suddenly you're finishing the last page), Fade can provoke important conversations over issues like date rape drugs, loss, alcoholism, improper relationships among teachers and students, deciding when to have sex, etc. Individually, a teacher can recommend ways students can voice concerns if a teacher or significant other ever makes them feel pressured or uncomfortable.
In response to reading this series, students could research dream analysis and keep their own dream journals.
QUOTES OF NOTE:
"Janie sprints through the snowy yards from two streets away and slips quietly through the front door of her house.
Everything goes black."
"Janie and Cabe might have skipped the whole dance if they could have, but it wasn't possible. They were on assignment.
"We're looking for anybody who dreams about teachers, Janie," Captain had said. "Or any teachers who are dreaming about students."
"It's because Janie and Cabel work undercover as narcs at Fieldridge High school. Janie's discovering there are a lot of weird things that happen at her school. More than she could have ever imagined."
"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."
TASTY RATING: !!!