Sunday, January 11, 2015

A New Kind of Night Life: Dream a Little Dream

Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (The Silver Trilogy #1)
Henry Holt, Expected Release Date: January 6, 2015

*ARC provided by the publisher - Thank you! This in no way impacted my thoughts on this book.* 

Liv Silver and her little sister Mia are used to an unstable life. Ever since their academic parents got divorced, they've been passed back and forth between them while they go to and from different jobs around the world. But when Mom gets a job at Oxford, it looks like they'll finally get to settle down and have a life they've only been able to dream of: a house with a yard in the English countryside. Except when they land in London, they're in for a shock. They'll be living in the city with Mom, her new boyfriend, and his two kids, one of whom is a boy Liv not only recognizes from school, but from the strange dreams she's been having. Suddenly thrust into the world of dreams where the regular rules don't apply, can Liv - a sucker for mysteries - figure out what's going on?

Gier does a great job in this novel kicking off her latest trilogy of seamlessly moving between the real world and the dream world, both of which are interesting and engaging. She sets up a mythology I haven't seen before, and Liv is a girl who is both very smart for her age and is aware that she has a lot of growing up to do. I also really enjoyed that this book felt balanced in terms of the protagonist having challenges both in her own life and in the bigger picture. Sure she's trying to figure out what's going on in the dream world along with the mysterious blond boys Arthur, Jasper, Henry, and almost step-brother Grayson, but there's also her sister to think of, her mom, their longtime nanny Lottie, and adapting to another new school among plenty of other things. Just like real life, she can't just focus on one thing at a time - they all demand her attention.

I felt like the pacing was a bit slow in the first half of the book for my taste, but it picked up nicely in the second (I felt similarly about Gier's previous trilogy, Ruby Red). Gier seems to be a writer who doesn't mind taking the time to set the rules and groundwork for her world right away, that way later on readers can be more focused on the characters and the story. I also felt there were a few times where Liv was redundant in that she'd show what was going on, then tell readers explicitly what had already been clearly implied.

Readers in search of a fun fantastical/paranormal-ish read will no doubt enjoy Dream a Little Dream. Reminding me a bit of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, I think younger readers especially will especially gravitate towards Liv (however, be aware that as Liv is growing up in Europe, teens/people there tend to be more mature and discuss issues like sex and drinking quite frankly - I had no problem with this, but parents of a younger crowd may want to know this in advance). This was a fun one-time read for me on a gray winter day, and I'll definitely be ordering it for my school's library.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

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