Thursday, January 19, 2017

What we're reading: Visions and portents

I read and greatly enjoyed Lisa McMann's trilogy of Wake, Fade, and Gone, in which 17-year-old Janie fears sleeping because if she does so in close enough proximity to someone else, she gets stuck dreaming their dreams with them. (Imagine dozing off in math class only to experience the dreams of the likewise snoozing football player sitting next to you.) It was an interesting premise, and then McMann surprised me with where she went with it. I also liked her books Cryer's Cross and Dead to You, although they were quite different (from each other and from the trilogy). So I picked up her newest trilogy, Crash, Bang, and Gasp, with great anticipation.

In Crash, we meet Jules, who lives with her family above their pizza parlor and shares both waitressing and delivery duties with her two siblings, working for their parents. Across town is another pizza place, a rival family with whom Jules's parents and grandparents have feuded. When Jules was a toddler, she went to school with the son of that family, Sawyer, and the two shared a really special childhood friendship until their parents discovered it and kept them apart after that.... Today, Jules is experiencing a weird phenomenon: She keeps seeing a vision, both in her dreams and in her waking hours, and soon it intensifies to the point where the vision is playing in every reflective surface around her--windows, random shiny things, the television set, the windshield of the car. The vision is a disturbing one, of a truck crashing into a building, and nine body bags lying in the snow. Then Jules realizes that she recognizes the face of one of the people in those body bags...

I wasn't disappointed in these books, but they did take a while to grow on me. After the first one, my response was that this trilogy seemed simpler, younger, and not as intriguing as the first trilogy; but I enjoyed it enough to continue. With the second one, my fondness grew: The suspense of solving the visions is the supposed seller for these books, but I like the relationships she portrays even better. We find out some big revelations about the two rival pizza place families in the middle book, and we also get the star-crossed lovers thing, so if you like romance with your mystery, you will enjoy this. There is a story arc that continues throughout the three books, but new characters are introduced in each to keep things fresh; and the mystery morphs and expands to include them, with a satisfying revelation at the end. I went from a solid three out of five stars to a 4.5 by Book #3. Good storytelling, and good wrap-up! Check them out!


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