I have to say, I was so excited to read this book. It has a beautiful cover and an interesting tagline. It is pretty good right from the start. Dreamland had a really unique concept and kept my attention to the very end.
Published by HarperCollins on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Horror & Ghost Stories, Fantasy & Magic, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General
ARC provided by HarperTeen
From immensely talented debut author Robert L. Anderson comes a stunning, complex, and imaginative story about the fine line between dreams and reality that will appeal to fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle.
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 broken the rules.
Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town. For the first time in her life, Dea feels normal. But both Dea and Connor have secrets, and as she is increasingly drawn to Connor’s dreams—and nightmares—the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate, putting everyone she loves in danger.
I have no idea how to tell you about this book without giving everything away. Basically, Dea is a dreamwalker. She and her mother can walk into dreams of other people. According to Miriam, Dea’s mom, she must never walk in the same person’s dream more than once and she must never be seen in the dream by the dreamer. If Dea doesn’t dreamwalk in other people’s dreams, she gets sick. She has moved around basically all of her life, her mother is constantly running from something. They are now living in a small town in Indiana. Dea is 17 and now that she has befriended Conner, her life is starting to get good.
Conner and his father have just moved to town. Conner befriends Dea. Connor lost his mother and brother to a killer, everything thinks it was him. Connor relives the same nightmare every night. Dea begins to have feelings for Conner before she learns about his past, but after she breaks the rules and walks his dreams repeatedly.
What I liked: There were many things I enjoyed about this story. Dea was a cool character. She is an outcast, she has a cool gift, and she knows how to keep a secret. The romance between Dea and Connor is a slow burn sort of thing, which is pretty cool. The story takes some unexpected turns and we go places I didn’t see coming at all. There is a feeling of helplessness on Dea’s part and it is so appropriate. The dreamland world is as unpredictable as I had hoped and the rules there are really different. I loved seeing the dreamworld and learning about the characters there.
What I didn’t like: I felt as if most of this book we were waiting for something to happen. We don’t as much doing as we do telling, which made this hard to digest. I didn’t like how Dea broke the rules, or why. This just didn’t make any sense. Now that she has a good friend, she violates his private dreamworld over and over to send him messages. She has been living with these rules for 17 years, why would she break them now? Also, I didn’t like how Dea handled being in trouble. There were so many things just wrong once she ventured out on own. She met up with Connor and there, again, it just wasn’t a believable move. There were a few other things that didn’t jive as believable but to mention them here would be spoilery.
The good outweighed the bad so don’t let my hang ups keep you from enjoying this book. Dreamland is a YA paranormal/fantasy that should be enjoyed by most fans of the genre. If they are willing to overlook a few flaws.
I have to say the biggest possible disappointment would be that this might be a stand alone and not the start of a series. As good as the beginning was, the ending was so much better. There are just so many possibilities for more. In my opinion, it really should be a story that continues.