Dreamcatcher


Young Adult - Coming of Age
216 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gail Kamer for Readers' Favorite

Dreamcatcher by Ann Curtin relates the story of a young boy, Jesse, living with his dad and moving from ranch to ranch. But at the current ranch, his dad manages to get the foreman’s job and it’s not a broken-down ranch. Maybe things will look up. However, the owner’s son doesn’t like Jesse and they get into a fight at school, resulting in a suspension for both of them. A boy named Aaron adopts Jesse as his friend. Aaron is an outsider to just about everyone in school. Jesse can’t shake him, and he’s not sure he should. Aaron and Jesse attempt to tame a mustang that Aaron's named Dreamcatcher, creating an exciting adventure for Jesse, Aaron, and Dreamcatcher!

The theme of catching bad dreams and letting good ones sift through a dreamcatcher is at the base of Ann Curtin’s Dreamcatcher. A bit western, a bit ghost story, and a bit friendship story, Dreamcatcher made me laugh. Then, it made me cry and smile. I loved the mystery of who the main character kept seeing that others couldn’t see; the mystery of whether the main character’s mother would come home; the mystery of whether the main character and the rich bully would become friends. I loved the artwork at the beginning of each chapter and the front cover hooked me as a reader. Dreamcatcher would be easy for young readers to relate to as it connects to their interests. I loved how Ann Curtin handled the topic of things working out, but not always the way you want. I highly recommend this book to readers from ages nine to twelve. It’s full of adventure and might just help a youngster work through one of their own problems.

Jack Magnus

Dreamcatcher is a coming of age novel for young adults and preteens written by Ann Curtin. The long trip from Missoula, Montana to Riverton, Wyoming had taken a whole day, and the fact that the air-conditioning in their pickup truck had stopped working had made the trip even more grueling and tedious for Jesse. When they finally arrived at the Savage Ranch, however, Jesse had to admit to himself that he was pretty impressed with the ranch where his father would be taking on the job of ranch foreman. Big Bob Savage was every bit as imposing as his name implied, and he quickly made Jesse and his father feel at home. While Big Bob showed Mark his office, Jesse helped one of the ranch hands who was taping a mare’s leg. Jesse was even more impressed when his father drove them up to the foreman’s house -- this time they wouldn’t be living in the bunkhouse with the ranch hands but in their own house. Everything seemed perfect, and Jesse couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps his mom would come back if she knew how good a situation he and his dad were finally in. Mark didn’t want to talk about it, but Jesse had begun to hope.

Ann Curtin’s coming of age novel for preteens and young adults, Dreamcatcher, is a marvelous tale about a thirteen-year-old boy whose somewhat transient life with his ranch hand father finally acquires some solidity and purpose. Curtin accurately portrays the cliques and peer pressure Jesse feels in his new school, especially at the hands of Big Bob’s youngest son, Cade, and his ambivalence about becoming the new best friend of Aaron, the diminutive Shoshone Indian in class, can almost be understood in terms of those pressures. I had a grand time reading about the horses, especially the paint horse Big Bob gives to Jesse for competing in the rodeo, and seeing the growing kinship between Jesse and Aaron was illuminating and powerful. The author makes the experiences a teen would encounter on a horse ranch in Wyoming come to life. There’s action, adventure and danger in this well-written and engaging book -- and lots of horses. Dreamcatcher is most highly recommended.