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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
Have you ever had a dream so real and vivid that you thought it was real? Most people don't, but Sasha does, and from what she has learned, so did her mother. The problem is that no one talked about them, and so she thinks she is going crazy. When her latest dream is about her best friend, she gets so scared that she finally tells her about the dreams. Amiee talks her into going to the doctor, and although Sasha is reluctant, she goes for Amiee's sake. She expects to be told she's crazy, but when the doctor seems to take her seriously and sends her to a specialist, Sasha isn't sure what to think. Of course the specialist isn't anything that logical, cool, rational Sasha is ready for. The doctor is a small Japanese woman who listens to Sasha and presents her with an ancient legend as fact. That she is dreaming the future and it is a gift, not a curse, given to her so that she can possibly change the outcomes. Don't Wake Me If I'm Dreaming is the complex story of Sasha's life after the meeting with the doctor. What occurs is anything but normal, and how she processes and deals with what the doctor tells her influences her behavior. Author J.E. Chaney develops a twisted story that leaves you wondering at times what is real and what is just a dream.
Don't Wake Me If I'm Dreaming is a complex book in a number of ways. There is the mother-daughter relationship that Sasha and her mother Ella had, and the secret of the dreams that her mother kept from her that keeps her from trusting people with the truth. Then there is the father-daughter relationship and her father's anger still, all these years later, that he places at the feet of Ella's aunt for her fear of talking about her dreams. If this whole family had dealt with the original dreams differently, it would be a completely different book. Author J.E. Chaney takes the dysfunctionality of this family, and uses it to create a story that hinges on secrets and hiding. Sooner or later, the secrets will ruin any relationship.
This was a complex book that had me laughing and crying the whole way through. There were times I didn't know what was a dream and what was reality, and so I completely understood Ella's breakdown. It is so worth the time to read and enjoy this book. It is a very clean book, there is some allusion to sex, but no real descriptions, and no violence. I feel comfortable recommending it to any age reader.