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Dreamwalk by Sarah MacManus
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Dreamwalk (edition 2011)

by Sarah MacManus

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Member:maribs
Title:Dreamwalk
Authors:Sarah MacManus
Info:YoungRebel Publications (2011), Edition: 1, Kindle Edition
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Dreamwalk by Sarah MacManus

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Dreams of falling are a common enough occurrence, but for Chloe Hawthorn, the experience is far more vivid than the physical sensation upon waking: for years, her dream self has fallen from skyscrapers, planes, and the like. With her move to New York City, however, these imaginings take a decidedly strange twist as she finds herself befriending another lost soul as she sleeps. What follows is a quest, borne of teenage love, to discover what happened to Shane and, ultimately, to save him.

When I first picked up this story, I was expecting something along the lines of your standard chicklit: a happy love story, with a generous helping of hilarity thrown in for good measure. To my surprise, this story is actually quite weighty, addressing issues such as abandonment, growing pains, and drug use. Though the protagonist is a teenage girl, the content pushes the book from young adult into adult fiction, at least in my mind. For the first half of the novel, I found both Chloe's and Shane's struggles to be believable, their behavior something I might expect from someone in such circumstances. Her father's sorrow as a widower, though barely touched upon, is still palpable, but he fades towards the latter half of the book.

The most intriguing character by far is Sid, the ostensible antagonist whose sanity is as questionable as the nutritional value of microwavable meals. The warped logic that he utilizes makes him far more interesting than a deliberately malignant force would have been; the fact of the matter is that he thinks he's doing something heroic and grand when he's actually destroying innocent lives and facilitating poor decision-making. The man is a pitiable villain, though a villain all the same.

Truth be told, this book would have earned considerably higher than a 3.5 based on the first half of the book. Shane's journal entries were reasonably profound, the plot fairly fascinating and the pacing excellent. The second half of the novel, however, began to drag. It felt like Shane was trying too hard to be deep, and there was a visible shift in Chloe's personality that I found difficult to reconcile. Perhaps part of the difficulty that I experienced was related to the details of the Dreamtime, which grew to be confusing in its New Age philosophy. It was integral to the plot, but at the same time, it made my mind weary and drew me away from my emotional connection to the main characters.

In writing this review, I confess that I'm doing my best not to impose my own morality on a fictional tale. Even so, I will admit that I was bothered by Chloe's means of rescuing Shane, particularly when one of her final acts carelessly endangered several addicts who had nothing to do with the situation at hand. The deliberate drug abuse, and the complete lack of any real consequences (on Chloe's part), makes me hesitate to recommend this book to someone who hasn't already formed his or her own opinion of the matter; that is, I would hardly recommend it to tweens and teens.

Dreamwalk is a heavier kind of love story, one that stretches the mind and raises some metaphysical questions. It is the thinking reader's romance.

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(Review copy provided by the author) ( )
  hideandread | Aug 16, 2011 |
I have to admit that I went into this book with a little hesitation. From the premise, it seemed as though the book could go very good, or very bad. I'm glad I decided to go against my doubts because I ended up finding a great read that has everything going for it. Good writing style, incredible characters and a story that sucks you in from the very first line to the very bitter end. It's all there and I can make no complaints.

When the story ended, I had a hard time letting go of the characters - especially Chloe. The realistic way the characters are portrayed not only makes you connect with them on a deeper lever, but sometimes it even makes you think about your own life and the decisions you make. These characters aren't just typical cliche characters that you see in other novels - you can see these characters as your friends in real life, everything was completely genuine and utterly believable.

Your emotions are sent through a whirlwind throughout the novel. I laughed, I cried and I even got scared. It was complex and surreal. It was lovely, yet so bittersweet. Honestly, I can't sing the praises enough - it was a brilliant read, highly recommended from me. I am now officially a fan of Sarah and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. ( )
  missyreadsreviews | Jun 4, 2011 |
Chloe has it rough. Her mom has died and she has moved to a new city and school. She also has a hard time getting a good night's sleep due to some vivid terrifying dreams where she is falling to her death.

A friend introduces her to a band's website and she becomes a bit obsessed with the lead singer. She begins to dream about him and takes solace in the friendship and love that grows between them. The dreams, however, turn out to be her actually traveling in her sleep into this boy's life while he is in a treatment facility for heroin addiction.

The premise is interesting and the conclusion was surprising, but I had a couple issues. First, this book is considered YA and yet the sex scene was more explicit than in most YA books. A little too much description for a book geared toward young readers, in my opinion. I don't mind sex scenes in books usually, but they don't belong in a Young Adult book.

The drug use and expletives I had no problems with when it concerned Shane. He was depicted very realistically as a drug addict in treatment and it would have rang false without them. Again, though, since this is geared to teens, I don't think Chloe's experimentation with heroin and need of it to Dreamwalk was necessary.

The last thing is just me being a bit picky. There were some editing issues, such as grammar, and sometimes I felt like one paragraph didn't relate to the next, losing the flow of the narrative due to me completely getting lost and feeling as though I missed something.

However, when it got going it was very entertaining and full of great imagery. I liked Dreamwalk, and do look forward to seeing and reading more by Sarah MacManus. ( )
  maribs | Jun 3, 2011 |
I actually wasn't sure about the book when I first said yes to reading it, but it did sound interesting. I really had no idea what to expect from this book and now I am glad that I hadn't read any reviews on it beforehand. It was so exciting to go into a book without being jaded by something I read somewhere about the book in question.

I loved the writing style of flipping back and forth between Chloe's narration and Shane's journal entries. It was quite a unique was of sharing the story between the two main characters. Also, I think the fact that the storyline is playing out in different time lines makes for a very interesting concept. One thinks it's all a dream and one thinks it's hallucinations - very fun ideas to work with.

I wasn't really sure about Chloe being so enamoured with Shane from just having watched a few videos of him talking and singing online. But as the story unfolds and she learns more about Shane and I suppose I can see how much he might have had an effect on her - similar to how girls have crushes on movie stars and musicians. It's almost like she is attracted to him because he needs saving and it distracts her from her own problems for awhile.

The one part that worried me was how much Chloe would sacrifice just to see this boy again - taking sleeping pills, meeting seedy people alone, and drug use. It seems as though Shane is her addiction as much as heroin had been his addiction. I'm not saying that girls don't do weird things for the boys they love, but some of the actions seemed a little extreme to me and I was surprised to see Chloe do things that I felt were not in her character. Other than that I loved the concept of the story - girl saves boy, but with a twist.

I keep trying to write about the ending, but every time I get the words written down it seems too spoilerish. I have been reading many reviews that state they wish the ending had been elaborated on, but I disagree - I think they ending was perfect. It shows what selfless love is all about.

The story is dark and mysterious at times - leaving you with a mixture of feelings from the tenderest thoughts of selfless love to the messy yet undeniable collision of emotions and from a place of loneliness to the knowledge of truly being loved and letting go.
  chrystalm | May 5, 2011 |
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