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Book Review: Wake Me Up Inside by Lee Bice-Matheson

May 16, 2013

 Genre: Paranormal YA mystery


Synopsis: Paige Maddison finds herself moving from the city, to her grandparents rural country estate so that her mother can help take care of her aging and ailing grandfather. Paige has been having strange dreams, but does not directly associate them with the move. She also keeps seeing strange things. Eventually she begins to suspect that her grandparents house is haunted... and the ghost is trying to kill her grandfather. Can she figure out why this ghost is holding a grudge before it is too late?




The Good: The story takes a quick pace, and is a relatively short read at only 103 pages. It sort of reminds me of the Nightmare Hall series, and this is designed to be a series as well.

Although the subject matter and the age of the characters is technically YA, the writing style and length are probably more appropriate for the younger end of YA, maybe even mid-grade. (I read Nightmare Hall when I was ten and eleven.) The author does a fairly good job of setting up the chapters in such a way as to leave you wanting/ needing to read the next chapter to find out what will happen next.




The Bad: I could not relate to any of the characters, which was very frustrating. I found Paige's emotions to fluctuate like quicksilver. There is a guy she has a crush on and that seems as important, if not more important, than preventing the ghost from killing her granddad. The relationship between the parents and grandparents is also strange. They haven't had any contact since Paige was a little girl, but are willing to up and leave their established lives to help take care of the grandfather, who was the cause of the upset in the first place... oh, and the author never tells you what the upset was. (I presume that it will be revealed in subsequent books, because at the very beginning the author tells you that there will be more books, and at the end you are left with a huge cliff hanger ensuring that there absolutely will be more books.

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The Ugly: I love series reads, but I prefer books that can stand alone, or that you need to have read the first book to be able to read the next; but at the end of the book you are only left with one or two questions which whet your appetite for the next book. This book has so many events left unexplained that if it were a stand-alone I would say it has more plot holes than a back road in Montana. But it is not a stand alone. I cannot know how many of these points she will address in the next book, how integral they are to the series, or if they will indeed become plot holes.

And there were several grammar/ spelling issues that drove me a little nuts! For example: defence... it drove me nuts!!! Apparently it is an alternate spelling in Britain (sort of like grey/gray) but there were no other indicators to British spellings. I can't say that I have read a lot of books by Canadian authors. I'd never noticed this style of grammar and spellings before, anyway. Not saying that it was wrong, just that it was so distracting that several times it pulled me out of reading the book to go and look up if the spelling/ grammar was correct. Yeah, I am weird like that! 


Overall: The author writes some beautifully descriptive parts, and the story drew me forward, but in a morbid way. I did not like Paige, her logic, or her reasoning.  I found her quite annoying! (Of course, I found Bella annoying too, so maybe it is just me!) Parts of the story felt quite contrived, but that may be simply because my brain works differently from the characters. I never would've found myself in these situations.

The big last minute plot twist that ensures that there will be a second book just did not grab me. I guessed it somewhere around page 29. The main plot is convoluted by all these bizarre twists and turns of questionable relevancy. Part of me really wants to read on, just to see if these points are ever addressed, but unfortunately, I just don't think I could go through another Twilight, clinging to a potentially interesting story, despite not liking or being able to relate to the main character at all. We'll have to see.

Until next time,
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