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Reviewed by Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers' Favorite
Cali is a high school student that can't seem to find a reason to care. Her parents are divorced, her mother is tied up in a "positive thinking" pyramid scheme, her father is embroiled in affairs of the heart and questionable legality, her brother is lost in his zombie video games, and her best friend has abandoned her for an affair with a teacher and more popular pals. When a classmate dies, she finds herself plagued with nightmares about the young woman, but she can't seem to figure out what the images from her shattered life mean. She even turns to a counselor but still struggles to connect. When an arrest is made and her friend comes back, Cali doesn't know whether to trust herself or even to trust what she thinks she knows. What is this dark path she's headed on? This Is The Dream by Owen Thomas is an intriguing tale of one teen's struggles to connect and fit into a world that doesn't make sense.
I enjoyed This Is The Dream because it's a different kind of story. Owen Thomas tells it in a unique voice that resonated with me as a reader more than most short stories do. Cali isn't just a tortured teen soul, but a character with depth trying to make her way in a shallow world that nobody can explain to her. With little guidance and no friends, she's left to work things out independently, which is always a tricky thing, even with adults. I like the way the story develops and the elements of her dream come together to show the fractured life that she's trying to pick up. It's a story of despair but also of hope. All in all, it's a good, well-balanced, quick read.