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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Lauren Clark's novel At Least I Can Dream: Voyage is a young adult adventure story. Evangeline, or Evi, is the narrator. She is 17 and a patient with terminal cancer in a Spokane hospital. Every night she has disturbing nightmares. The hospital has a program for terminal patients to grant them one last wish. Evi's wish is to be able to dream again, to experience adventures like those in Treasure Island. The Dream Research and Analysis Corporation can fulfill her wish through their Dreamcatcher simulation that closely mimics dreams and reality. There is a catch: If she dies in the simulation, she dies in real life. She accepts the condition. Her guide on her simulated adventures is Remiel Duval or Remi. He is 18, a terminal patient in a Portland hospital, and his wish is to be a real live video gamer. Evi and Remi are pirates in a dream state that twists and turns with action-packed and perilous adventures to find the King's Hand!
I was captivated by Lauren Clark's At Least I Can Dream: Voyage for its characters and their intense and exciting dream-like adventures. I particularly liked Evi's character development and the friendship that develops between Evi and Remi, her guide through their adventures. I loved the vivid and evocative narrative, and how Evi learns to work and live as a pirate. During the simulation, Evi and Remi are still aware of reality. As they take on formidable challenges, they learn more about each other. They fight for each other's lives. I think the most gripping moments were the life-threatening situations when Evi has to make hard and courageous choices. I loved the "character" SIAH, the cat which pops up in very dangerous situations with a helpful hint or two! A fantastic adventure novel of Evi and Remi facing death in real life and finding courage and friendship through shared dream-state adventures.