February 13, 2014

Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass: "Lucid" [new title 2014: "Let Me Wake"]

Title: Lucid*  [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
   *new title 2014: Let Me Wake
Series: None
Author: Adrienne Stoltz & Ron Bass [Adrienne on IMDB | Adrienne on Goodreads | Ron on IMDB | Ron on Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary with a Twist
Year: 2012
Age: 12+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Pulling, refined prose. Vividly painted leads and sidekicks (most of them, that is). Killer idea behind it all.
Cons: Two love triangles for the price of one (but the book is so good, you'll probably be able to condone that. Like I did...). Some over-the-top or too convenient situations. I was able to spot a couple of typos, but nothing majorly annoying.
WARNING! An underage sex scene (though not at all graphic) told in retrospect.
Will appeal to: Contemporary fans who are in for something different. Not contemporary fans who are in for something different. Everyone who likes to go in deep and get surprised.

Blurb: Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn't be more different - except for one thing. They share a secret that they can't tell a soul. At night, they dream that they're each other. The deeper they're pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.(Amazon excerpt)

Review: You know me by now, don't you? I hate swoony romances, love triangles, all the stuff. So, how come I read a book with plenty of romance and not one, but two love triangles (or the likes) and didn't throw it across the room? On the contrary, this turned out to be 4-star material for me. Crazy, isn't it? I guess I owe you a convincing explanation ;).
See, there are two girls. Or only one. Or no girl at all. Let's say, there are two stories, because of that much there is evidence. Each story, of course, has its own main character - both female and 17 year old. Apparently, the two of them dream each other's life. Their lives even mirror each other loosely, though they (the lives...but the girls too) couldn't be more different. Right from the start, some small details leak in and out of each life - just enough to alert the reader that the two characters are related somehow. The real question is, how? are they both real? or only one of them is? or...are neither? is there someone else behind them? (Which is not just one real question but a bunch. Oh, well. Maybe I can write but I can't count).
On one hand, Sloane - the student - feels more real because she lives quite the normal life, the one you can relate to more easily. On the other hand, Maggie - the actress - is the one with the shrink, the one who makes up stories about people, and (I may be wrong, but this is how it sounds to me) the one who doubts her own realness more. Which makes up for her having the more glamorous life, and therefore posing as the major suspect when it comes to being the fictitious one...supposing one of the girls is not real. Which I didn't necessarily imply ;).
I don't know if the author duo split the work in two, or collaborated through the whole book, or took turns in revising each other's chapters. What I know is that Bass is a LA screenwriter, and Stoltz his long-time writing partner from Mystic, Connecticut - coincidentally, Sloane's home town. So I suppose she had her say about the setting for Sloane's story, while probably (just my educated guess) Bass took care of the NY sections. Anyway, the chapters flow seamlessly, and while the two girls maintain their peculiarities and do have different voices, their streams of consciousness manage to sound alike enough when it comes to the basics. [...]

Apart from the recurring am-I-real-or-not speculations, most of Maggie's and Sloane's emotional turmoils revolve around love. Maggie is torn between a sub-casting agent (who might or might not land her a role) and a film student; Sloane is under the spell of the new guy at school (duh), but also wonders about her best friend (who might or might not be interested in becoming more). So, two love triangles. And some too convenient (or over-the-top sometimes) exchanges and stuff. Anyway, after 239 pages, I was only mildly irritated by all that. Blame it on the writing - sophisticated, but in a good way (except for a couple of cheesy remarks). Blame it on the general frame of the story. Also, the sidekicks were helping - at least some of them. Jade for instance, Maggie's little sister, is one of the cutest secondary characters I've ever met in a book. Anyway, at this point, I was wavering between 3 and 3.5 stars. Still 100 pages to go...and all of a sudden, all hell breaks loose. Because when [mild spoiler ahead, assuming you haven't read the back cover]

things get deliciously scary. And I was mesmerized and thrilled beyond belief...hence the 4 stars.
Now, the very ending is questionable, since IRL, things would never resolve so easily. A person in a certain situation would need a lot of work in order to get back on track. But since this is fiction, I guess it may be seen as a symbolic ending, in a way. (And I guess most of what happens in the latest couple of chapters is symbolic, at the very least. Not factual for sure. Because there's this particular scene, toward the end of Ch. 26, that would scare the hell out of the boy in question if it should take place for real...I'm not sure about the scenes with a certain parent in Ch. 24 though. I'm afraid they're real). Also, I don't think it's a confusing ending at all, but some reviewers are apparently unsure of what really happened. I personally reckon that a second read will clear any doubt though, in case you have some. Anyway, Mrs. Stoltz and Mr. Bass, well done. And more, please :).

Trivia: according to Curtis Brown, the draft title for this book was Before I Wake. Now, if you google it, you'll be flooded in with results. Definitely not a good idea. And Lucid does sound better anyway.

For quotes from this book click here.
For more Contemporary/Contemporary with a Twist books click here

Left to right: alternate cover; Paperback/eBook cover (trite);
Indonesian Paperback cover (supposed to be stylish, I guess. Urgh)

Edit, August 2014: new title and cover for the book. I pretty much dislike the first. I fiercely hate the latter.


  1. I am definitely intrigued! I love the idea of lucid dreaming, and knowing that the book gets "deliciously scary" is promising. I might have to check this one out!

    1. It doesn't get scary as in "horrific things occurring", but it does have its midnight moments, as you would call them...no gore, lots of psychological turmoil.

  2. Another review I liked on GR ;) Just a heads up- tomorrow you're mentioned in a post on my blog *suspense*. I hadn't wanted to comment cos... it's hard. Don't want to read synopsis cos... spoilers. Obviously not read the spoiler you tagged. Not got really spoilers from your review, who knows what is true? XD But yeah... I'm confused. The fact you rated it 4* though, despite those elements, means that I'm possibly interested... Another possible recommendation from Roberta ;) Reading blogs is the best way XD You said it's for 12+ so I guess suitable. Me thinks more books to add to wishlist...
    Happy reading :)

    1. You know I never spoil books...safe place here :). I'm so grateful for the tag though, because if someone has read a book already, she/he can read its review too, and comment somehow...
      Sorry for your wishlist LOL. And I've already commented on "that" post - went straight there as soon as I read the heads up...thank you!

  3. It must be a good book if you can overlook TWO love triangles! lol I hate them and wouldn't bother with this one if I hadn't' read a good review.

    1. Haha, well, yes. Though they're not classic love triangles probably - according to what I happen to read around, in blurbs and reviews. One of them is really sweet, because Sloane is alerted about her old friend Gordy supposedly having feelings for her, so she begins to wonder about the two of them together and her own feelings for him - which is realistic in a girl+boy friendship. The other is written a little more like a typical triangle, but...well, I can't say more without spoiling the book.

  4. Sounds completely fascinating and like it's kind of vague or something. You've certainly intrigued me to this book Roberta!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Vague books are often the best, right? ;) Only, not too vague.

  5. Hey! I could have sworn I've been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I
    realized it's new to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely happy I found it
    and I'll be book-marking and checking back often!


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