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Dream Sweet

By

Not for me 😔

A promising fantasy take on dreams-versus-reality romance gets bogged down by uneven prose and character development.

Trevor meets his dream girl Harmony at his friend Fay’s party, and thinks he has found love at last. There’s one problem: Harmony is a literal dream, not present in his real life in Texas where he and his friends are about to graduate. Trevor feels his real life is a nightmare without love and asks Harmony to prom. As Trevor becomes more attached to Harmony, and less attached to his waking life, he begins to wonder if he can live in the dream forever, much to the fear of his real-life friends and family. 

 

Using a literal dream girl to explore whether a dream triumphs over reality is intriguing, and a great premise for a YA romance. Trevor’s longing for love and frustrations with the high school he’s desperate to leave fit well in a YA novel, and the mix of specific hangouts like the Hill and the Waterway and cultural references create a believable Texas setting. Trevor’s free-spirited best friend Fay is another highlight, showing her love for Trevor saying “I can’t lose another brother again” after Trevor hints that his dreams feel better than the real world (88). With a setup like this, the book has a lot to say, but the writing can get in its own way.


Unfortunately, the awkward prose, dialogue, and a tendency to tell rather than show Trevor’s feelings about Harmony undercut many of this book’s worthy goals. When describing Harmony Trevor says: “I pay more attention to that of her ambition and childlike cuteness. She is very smart and knows her way in the world with the possibility to achieve the person she wants to be’” (133). We understand Trevor loves Harmony from this description, but we don’t see Harmony’s smarts and ambition in action because we don’t see Harmony’s character development during the relationship. While this makes sense at first, because she is a dream, it also makes it difficult to understand why Trevor would be so tempted to choose the dream world and a girl the reader doesn’t get to know over his better-developed real-world relationships.


Some YA readers will appreciate Trevor’s journey with Harmony, while struggling to choose between dreams and the real-world. The dream world and Texas setting make an established romantic plot feel new. However, I wanted more from this book. I wanted see the characters’ sweetness rather than be told about it and to know more about Harmony, so I could appreciate her the way Trevor does.

Reviewed by

I’m building my experience reviewing books. I’m interested in disability, environmental, and fantasy themes. I bring a unique perspective as I have mild cerebral palsy and could address how disability representation impacts disabled readers. I want to read diverse authors and authors from Colorado.

Harmony

About the author

Taylor Daniel is a born n' raised Texan with a passion for written word. He received his Bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University, and currently teaches high school English. Now he is working on following his dream of being an author after publishing his debut novel, Dream Sweet. view profile

Published on May 14, 2020

70000 words

Genre: Romance

Reviewed by