Author: Rebecca Emin
Year published: 2012
Number of pages: 162
Recommended age: 10 to 15 years
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
Daughter Rating: ★★★★★
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from back cover): Charlie is happiest when biking with Max and Toby, or watching films with Allie. But when Charlie reaches year nine, everything begins to change. As her friends develop new interests, Charlie’s dreams become more frequent and vivid, and a family crisis tears her away from her friends. How will Charlie react when old family secrets are revealed? Will her life change completely when some of her dreams start to come true?
What it’s about: This book is about a teenage girl named Charlie. Some of Charlie’s dreams come true. Charlie’s dreams only come true when she discovers her aunt is really sick.
What I liked and disliked about it: I was really excited to get this book from the author. And right from the start I really loved reading it. There is a picture of Charlie on the front cover of the book. Charlie looks just like my friend Mae.
I thought the dreams that Charlie had were freaky. Some of the dreams I have are freaky also. I liked that Charlie’s dad told her that her aunt had already died once. It made the book mysterious! I liked that some of her dreams sounded like they were real but they were actually dreams.
It was odd to read about kids that are way older than me and doing things older girls and boys do like kissing each other, but it didn’t really bother me to read about it.
My bottom line: This book is my favorite book right now. I would recommend it to girls 9 years and older.
What it’s about: When Dreams Come True tells the story of Charlie, a teenage girl, and her changing friendships with her childhood pals – Allie, and two boys Max, and Toby. As Charlie has to cope with a family crisis, she discovers new feelings emerging toward her friends. Through a series of vivid dreams, Charlie uncovers family secrets and takes the lead in healing old family rifts.
What I liked and disliked about it: Along with my daughter, I was also very excited to read this book. There is something simply compelling about the cover photo of the girl (not just that I also think she looks like my friend’s daughter). I just love that photo!
My daughter read the book first and just loved it. It’s all she could talk about the morning after reading it at bedtime. She sincerely enjoyed it and that just made me want to read it even more. I must admit that I was a bit surprised when I finally did get to it. This book describes the inner workings of a teenage girl’s mind. Charlie begins to develop deeper feelings toward a few different boys, and there is some romance, kissing, and some mentions of “tingly feelings”.
Perhaps it’s just that I’m not remotely ready to have a teenage daughter who experiences attraction to boys, but the fact of the matter is that this does eventually happen (generally speaking!). This book explores teenage attraction and does it in a very gentle and understated manner. If my daughter is ready to begin reading books exploring young love (*ahem* – she’s not!), this book is a great introduction. Of note is that she did not seem fazed by reading about the experiences of these teenagers. She was far more interested in the main plot line of the dreams and family secrets.
The author of When Dreams Come True is British and consequently there is some terminology that we don’t run across in North America. For example, there is mention of “snogging’ (i.e., kissing) in the book. The language differences are not significant and I actually really enjoyed the slightly different vocabulary. I was using my British accent inside my head when reading the book to myself!
I do have one issue that I would like to raise. At times, I felt that the main plot line was lost or that it was not entirely clear. On the one hand, Emin does a great job of describing the relationships amongst the teenagers and the typical adolescent emotions and behaviours. However, the parts of the plot describing Aunty Jenny’s illness and the family issues are not as clear. For example, what illness did the aunt have that would have brought her to death’s door? It was not that obvious. Is there a special meaning to the fact that Charlie’s dreams come true? Were they simply coincidences or is there something special about Charlie? I was, at times, confused.
My bottom line: Aside from the one issue, this book is appropriate for girls 10 years of age and older. The themes may be a bit too mature for younger children. However, that being said, I can’t deny that my daughter really enjoyed it and overall, I enjoyed reading it as well.
** When Dreams Come True by Rebecca Emin was provided to us free-of-charge by the author. **
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