Fans of books like Lisa McMann’s Wake series will definitely be interested in Dreamland, a book that features a mystery and a girl who can slip into the dreamscapes of others. She actually has to dreamwalk or there are physical consequences. I was all in, and I was pretty pleased until the explanations started coming. They changed the entire shape of the book. They changed the genre of the book, actually. I wasn’t happy about that, so I only gave it three stars. I do think that teen readers of YA may enjoy it more.
Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.
Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?
Dea is independent and strong, but like most of us, she struggles to follow the rules when you add a hot, mysterious boy into the mix. It doesn’t help that her mother is keeping a few secrets of her own – secrets that prevent Dea from understanding the full scope of the consequences of bending the rules of dream. The secondary characters are a little off-beat, but likeable, and there is a romantic element that is appealing. The pacing is consistent, and if I pinpointed the villain fairly early, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment. What I did find was that, as answers about Dea and her past came to light, this book took a turn that threatened my ability to suspend disbelief. That did kill my good time. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable read with Inception-lite concepts that many readers will enjoy. It is going on my classroom library wish list because I think my high school students will find the premise too hard to resist. It is a fairly fast and easy read with characters who live on the fringes like most of us.
I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.