Pulse, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
n Lisa McMann's beautifully written
, seventeen-year-old Janie Hannagan struggles with a talent that can pull her out of her waking life and into other people's dreams at any time of day or night - if someone in her vicinity is dreaming, Janie shares it, willy-nilly. When others notice, they assume she's catnapping or is zoned out.
anie lives in poverty with an alcoholic mother who is on welfare and has little presence in her daughter's life. The author introduces us slowly and surely to Janie's dream-sharing and what it means to her as a child, and as she matures, in terms of her understanding those around her - and knowing too many of their secrets. She reveals Janie's developing friendship with Carrie Brandt - who moves in next door and suffers regular nightmares - and her dislike of rich girl Melinda Jeffers whose clique constantly picks on Janie.
t seventeen, Janie works after school and on week-ends at Heather Nursing Home, where she befriends blind Miss Stubin, who tells her, '
You have more power than you think.
' She buys her own clothing and food, saves for college, and acquires a car that she calls Ethel. She gets to know Cabel Strumheller who '
had been trouble in school since ninth grade
' and has a reputation as a pothead, but looks very different now. Caleb covers for her when she has dream episodes, but he has his own secrets. Janie is attracted to Caleb but can she trust him? And will he trust her?
isa McMann empathetically conveys Janie's unusual
talent - and the challenge she faces in learning to control it - but she also tells a tale of true love, and incorporates a mystery for her young heroine to solve. I highly recommend
to you and can't wait to read its sequel,
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