Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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?

Dreamland was a book I got around to reading last year, but unfortunately never got around to posting the review for it. It was a really interesting idea, first of all. I don't think I've come across dream-walkers too much in young adult fiction, other than Lisa McMann's Dream Catcher series. And when I mean dream-walker, I mean entering the world of dreams, not so much as just dreaming something and then it actually happening. Anyway, this was such an original concept and the descriptions were breathtaking. I mean, the dream sequences? It was so vivid, I could really see it clearly. There was a fantasy element to this one too, not just a paranormal one, which made this one so much better, in my opinion.

I will say, however, that I kind of hated the insta-love(ish) romance that starts off the book. I mean, I'm glad it took longer than other I-just-met-him-and-immediately-felt-a-connection-with-him-omg-we're-in-love relationships that can be found in YA, but damn–that was a short time to fall for each other. Other than this though, I liked the two characters, Dea and Connor. Both were genuine characters that I could root for throughout the novel.

There was a pretty cool twist that I did not see coming, which has to do with the aforementioned fantasy element. I wanted so much more of the dreamworld that was presented then though. Imagine the world-building possibilities! I feel like that where the book took a slight turn for me, because I'm a sucker for high fantasy and when you drop an entire world in there without exploring it then it makes me sad. Along with this I did have mixed feelings at the book's ending, but it did make sense. I like that the author chose to go in a certain direction, because it was not predictable and it didn't end all cleaned up nice and tidy, which was a change from most books.

I'm hoping that there's another book coming out about the dreamworld, because I would absolutely be down to read that. Paranormal, fantasy, and a great mystery element to it as well, Dreamland was such an amazing concept. Robert L. Anderson's debut is magical and dark, with beautiful descriptions and suspense that keeps you on your toes–definitely give this one a read.

If you like this, try...

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Waiting on Wednesday – Week 184

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases that I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Goodreads ● June 13, 2017

Um, is there even a question as to why I can't wait for this one?? As a Muslim myself, it's pretty rare to find representation for my religion in young adult books. There are definitely books out there, but not enough. Thankfully I don't have to wait too long for Saints and Misfits!

What are you waiting on?

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.

Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.

But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.

This is such an overdue review because I read this one last year, but here it finally goes! I was pretty excited when I got Places No One Knows in the mail because I've heard tons and tons of good things about Brenna Yovanoff's books, and most of them are on my TBR. I've actually read her debut The Replacement a while back...long story short, I can't remember what happens in it, but I remember not liking it. Anyway, I'm a big believer of giving authors multiple chances, and I'm glad I did! I enjoyed this one, and while the pacing was slightly slower than what I expected (maybe to capture the dream-like atmosphere?), it was still a fascinating read.

There are two Waverleys. One is well groomed, academically unparalleled, reasonably attractive, and runs the cross-country country course at Basset in under eighteen minutes. Sixteen point five on a good day.
      The other is a secret.
      Secret Waverly is the one who never sleeps.
–p. 4, paperback

I was kind of expecting more about the whole dreamwalker aspect, but it wasn't a central part of the book. I guess Places No One Knows takes a magical realism stance, and we as readers just have to accept that this happens. Anyway, instead of focusing on the supernatural element of the story, it instead focused on the relationship between Waverly and Marshall, which I thought was an interesting approach. I personally would have liked to see more of the paranormal-side of the story explored, but I guess it makes for a pretty unique meet-cute?

A big plus point for the book, despite not delving too much into the whole "I dreamed about you and appeared in your room" aspect, was the characters. Brenna Yovanoff's prose flowed really well, and the characters that came with it were well rounded and fleshed-out. The focus on the interactions between Waverly and Marshall was, as I've mentioned, quite interesting, but I just wish there was something a bit more. I do like a slightly dark and edgy contemporary, but there was a little teeny bit missing from the plot that I would have liked there. Character exploration was amazing though, and you could see where these people were coming from. Autumn was great too, and reading about her connection with these two really solidified the plot. 

Excellently written and captivating from start to finish, Places No One Knows draws you into this surreal, dreamlike world with very real characters and issues, and hits you with a rollercoaster of emotions. I will absolutely be reading more of Brenna Yovanoff's books, because if they're anything like this one, I'm definitely in for a treat.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Julia at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

  • Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson ● Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 183

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases that I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape. 

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Goodreads ● June 13, 2017

First of all–THAT COVER. Absolutely. Gorgeous. Secondly, every time I see the title, I get "Bad Romance" stuck in my head (not complaining!). Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading this one, because while it does sound like a dark contemporary, it sounds like an important book, too. I actually haven't read anything by Heather Demetrios yet, and all her books are on my TBR list...maybe this one will be the first?

What are you waiting on?