Dreaming Big in Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (translated by Anthea Bell)

21469090

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Publisher

Dream a Little Dream is the latest offering from Kerstin Gier who is a German author best known for her Ruby Red trilogy which has been translated into twenty-five languages including English. The translator of this book, as well as the Ruby Red trilogy, is Anthea Bell whose work I have found precise and enjoyable.

Dream a Little Dream follows Liv whose parents are amicably divorced and globetrotters of the fickle variety. Because her parents have been moving from one country to another because of their work, Liv and her sister, Mia, have never had a permanent home to call their own so they are beyond thrilled when their mother tells them that she is renting a cottage while she teaches at a university in England. When they get to England, however, their dreams go up in smoke when her mother tells them that due to a new relationship she has decided to stay in London instead of out in the country. So Liv, Mia, their caretaker, Lottie, and their mother are all shunted off to a tiny apartment whose owners are out of the country. Liv and Mia go to a swanky private school full of the kind of students who look at Liv as if she is a rare kind of animal. There she meets a quartet of boys who all pique her interest, among them her potential step-brother. Then suddenly Liv is seeing them in her dreams only they think she is a figment of their imagination. Liv realizes that things are definitely not as they seem and is determined to find out what’s going on.

Okay, that’s my very lame and inadequate summary of the book but I swear I touch upon all the relevant details.

I liked the first two of the Ruby Red books quite a lot. Gier has this effervescent style of writing that makes reading her books SO. MUCH. FUN. They are the perfect pick-up after tough days when life seems too difficult. Her protagonists are similar to Sarah Rees Brennan’s Kami from the Lynburn Legacy: self-deprecating, quirky (sometimes eccentric), unassuming and unaffected. There is a little (but important) whimsy to them that makes reading their thoughts and following them on their adventures so much fun. Dream a Little Dream has the same kind of feeling but while Ruby Red presented a new world with an exciting magic system (or time traveling), Dream a Little Dream feels a little overdone. We’ve all seen the movies and read the books where the new girl wanders into a plot she shouldn’t and things go very wrong for her. Of course Liv is a much funnier and capable protagonist character than many of the others but the plot felt tired.

The romance was good though and I appreciate that. I liked this love interest much better than I liked Ruby Red’s Gideon because he was a lot more human in his actions and flaws and I appreciated that. The book is very simple and doesn’t really offer much in the way of twists and red herrings.

Concluding thoughts: Read this when you want to relax. This is one hundred percent entertainment. It will make you snort out in a sort of ungainly way sometimes which is always good unless you are in public. Then it’s embarrassing.