Title: Dream Girl
Author: Lauren Mechling
Genre: YA Fiction
Acquired: Received for review from author/publisher
Two Sentence Summary: Since she was a little girl, Claire Voyante has had dreams that have connections to her real life. Will Claire learn to use these dreams in time to help protect a new friend while trying to find her place in a totally new school?
One Sentence Review: Claire is a sweet narrator you can’t help but root for and want to know more about, even though the plot occasionally feels confused and the minor characters sometimes slip into the background.
Long Review: Fifteen-year-old Claire Voyant has always had dreams with odd connections to real life. Images she sees during her dreams show up during the day, but she’s never been able to make sense of them. When Claire’s former socialite grandmother Kiki gives her a black-and-white onyx cameo for her birthday, the dreams change and Claire starts to be able to interpret what they mean.
As if that’s not enough, Claire is also starting the year at a new school — Henry Hudson High School — a place for gifted kids that end up not being that friendly. Claire soon befriends Becca, another new student with some strange secrets of her own. Friendship with Becca pulls Claire into some dangerous situations where she’ll need to figure out what her dreams mean in order to protect her new friend.
While I’m not much of a reader of YA fiction anymore, I’m glad I accepted this book for review. I tend to like books with quirky teenagers and high school without the trashy drama, and this book certainly delivers on that. Claire is a smart and funny narrator who isn’t afraid to share her insecurities and embarrassments. Claire’s odd little brother, French professor father, and horoscope writing mother are also nice additions to the story. Many of these background characters didn’t get developed as much as I wish they did, but I’m optimistic for more in the sequel.
Because Claire is the narrator of the story, the book remains confused as long as she is confused — pretty much the first 3/4 of the plot. We’re learning about Claire’s dreams and their implications right along with her, so we don’t really know what’s going on until she does. There are parts around the middle of the story where the plot seems to get bogged down in all the confusion, but the book is short enough that those parts don’t last long enough to make you want to put it down.
I’ve seen this book compared to the Gossip Girl series in that there is a lot of high fashion and snooty teenagers at an exclusive high school. I think it’s a slightly misleading comparison. The students in Dream Girl are sweeter, there’s a lot fewer unbelievable situations (despite the fact that the main character is a psychic), and it’s just more fun. Gossip Girl made me cringe, this book continually made me smile. If you like high school drama that’s not trashy or sweet narrators developing unlikely powers, then Dream Girl is one to pick up.
I was also sent Mechling’s sequel to this book, Dream Life, which I just finished and am looking forward to reviewing soon.
If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!