Monday, September 6, 2010

Dream Journal by Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Livy has survived the pain of losing her mother by shutting herself off from the rest of the world. She has alienated herself from her best friend, and her and her father live as strangers in the same house, barely speaking, and never allowing themselves to share the grief that is tearing each of them apart. But when Livy gets swept up in a strong but ill-fated crush, and her mother's condition worsens, she must learn to trust not only those around her, but herself.
Dream Journal is a emotional story of how people deal with grief. The story opens as Livy, our main character, recounts her dream in the journal her mother gave her. Although Livy’s mother is in critical condition and is very close to dying, Livy’s dad swears her to secrecy so that no one will know the the pain Moore’s are going through. People deal with loss and grief in a variety of different ways, it just so happens, Livy’s father’s way of dealing with her mother’s cancer is by acting like everything is fine. As for Livy, she hides. She hides from her mother, her father, and her best friend. Eventually, Ruth, Livy’s best friend, looses interest in Livy leaving her alone with a group of trouble-making seniors she barely even knows. 
Even though Dream Journal is a well written sad story of loss and goodbyes, it was not a very enjoyable book. First off, I began to immediately dislike Ruth for abandoning Livy in her time of need–Ruth was suddenly too busy chasing boys and getting into trouble. Livy also started associating with a group of party-hardy teenagers who jeopardize their chances of escaping small-town life with a thought-to-be harmless prank. To me, Livy’s personality was numb like the pain she was feeling, so naturally the book is pretty depressing. I cried–which I rarely ever do–and I had bad dreams while reading it. The ending of Dream Journal was predictable, as was Ruth’s misfortune. 
Recommendation: While it was a very dramatic and a painfully honest story, I don’t feel like Dream Journal is a “enjoyable” book to read; of course it probably wasn’t mean to be. Because I feel only so-so about this book–mainly because I don’t like depressing plots or themes–I can only recommend to older teens who can relate to the loss, grief, and confusion Livy goes through. If you don’t like this kind of theme, don’t read. I wouldn’t purchase this book either because you probably won’t want to read it again.For ages 16+.

This Book is For: Teens who can relate to Livy's loss, grief, and confusion.
This Book is Not For: Teens who don't like depressing stories/themes of loss

Content: Sexual references, some language, dramatic elements, and teen drinking (PG-13)

|Pages: 256|Published: 2006|Publisher: Hyperion|Price: Soft. $8.99|
|Genre: Loss, grief, drama, contemporary fiction|
|Content: PG-13|Age Group: YA, ages 16+|
|Enjoyed It: 2/5|Content Rating: 2/5|Cover: 4/5|
|Overall: 2/5|

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