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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Deleted Dreams by Ren Ellis is an absorbing YA science fiction novelette that pulls you into the world of dreams. Silver City is a place where no one really dreams, including the main character Derra. She would give anything if her dream of becoming part of the Ring of Radiance and being with the elite in the city came true. That would enable her to feel emotions--sadness, anger, joy, and love--without punishment. Since she can't do that for the time being, she's left with hiding these emotions and the one thing that makes her different; her ability to see what someone else is thinking by touching them. A top scientist wants to misuse her power, but also offers her the things she always yearned for. But what she has to do in return is side with and protect the very system that has deleted dreams. She has a choice to make--side with security, or take a chance on the life, love, and dreams she really wants.
Ellis has built a world you can believe in from the very first pages. With genetic engineering and emotion control the norm, fans of Black Mirror will instantly be attracted to this futuristic drama. You'll find a heroine in Derra who is conflicted about what to do but knows a choice needs to be made. I like how Ellis sets the scene on the first page, leaving no doubt that you've entered a new world that is both a little sad and frightening, but so interesting. You find yourself rooting for Derra, and caring about what happens to her and the situations that she and the other characters are in. There is a lot more going on here than just the surface story. You have themes of family, love, repression, friendship, freedom, and sacrifice, causing readers to wonder what choices they would make if they were in Derra's shoes. The plot is convincing, the characters realistic, the pacing is timed perfectly, and there is attention to detail and description that really grounds you in the story. My favorite part is how the author ties in Derra's psychic gift, which makes for an intriguing angle. Deleted Dreams by Ren Ellis is a captivating read that will linger on your mind long after the story is over.