Killing Me Slowly

A leopardess who learned how to dance. And read.
Dreamwalk - Sarah MacManus I really, really enjoyed Dreamwalk. It ticks all my boxes - it's surreal, it's genre-bending, it's unique, it's bittersweet, the characters are realistic and well-developed, and it's got a great ending. More importantly, it's complex. This isn't about a girl out to save the world or bring down a government or right society's wrongs. It's more intimately focused than that. And while I almost never like books whose plots are driven solely by a romantic conflict, Dreamwalk isn't that shallow. It's not just about love, it's about a girl dealing with her mother's death, with growing up and finding herself and her place. It's about a boy learning to cope with reality, or really the different ways in which people in general cope with reality. The romance is just the means by which the characters learn these lessons.

Actually, I think my biggest complaint about Dreamwalk might be the summary. It's way too spoilery! By the time I started reading it, all I remembered about it was that the heroine could do something in dreams, and her love interest was a junkie. And I'm very glad that's all I remembered; the experience was much better for it, so much more unpredictable. I was allowed to speculate and theorize about things the summary gives away - what and where Shane was (dead? a ghost? a figment of Chloe's imagination?), how Chloe could reach him (was she insane? was it all just a dream?), what might keep them apart (did not see the time-travel coming, and I loved that twist) - and be pleasantly surprised when I was wrong nearly every time.

The surreal quality contributed greatly to the unpredictable aspect of the story - you believe that in this world, anything could happen - or perhaps nothing would happen at all. I really did entertain the idea that Chloe and/or Shane was simply delusional, and the way Dreamwalk is written makes that a valid possibility. It literally reads like a dream, mostly in the abrupt scene transitions, and matter-of-fact inclusion and acceptance of the bizarre...

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