Poppy Lawson is sceptical when it comes to love, but upon meeting Noah, her viewpoint changes and she becomes infatuated by him. However, their love threatens to cause destruction on a global scale. Can their relationship survive, or will it crumble under the pressure?
The premise had me intrigued. What would happen to Poppy when she met her soulmate? The build up to the reveal was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Poppy and Noah’s story arc. Some characters and scenes were a unnecessary, but it was good overall.
Writing Element Thoughts
It was so interesting to have read one of Holly Bourne’s later novels first and then read her debut novel. By comparison, you can see how much she’s improved since this debut novel. For example, she includes scenes that felt unnecessary and slowed the pace at times, whereas in her later novel, she only incorporated the most important scenes.
The overall story arc was consistent and good, and the steady build to the climax did keep me gripped and wanting to read on. The characterisation was interesting in that some of the characters were very well developed, but others felt like they didn’t really serve a purpose. Although Ruth had one redeeming moment, she was only there to undermine Poppy, and Amanda was just there. Lizzie, on the other hand, was a good friend, and the growth between Poppy and Noah was excellent.
But hey, not every first novel can be perfect. It takes those first novels to realise what it is about your writing that needs improving, and what worked really well.
What I Like
Poppy and Noah’s character growth – going from distain towards Noah to liking him to dating him was such a wonderful experience. I loved watching the pair getting intimate with one another and allowing their guards to drop.
How they used science to explain why this whole experience was happening – despite my basic knowledge of science, I still understood they put a twist on basic human biology and explained it in a way that actually made sense (even if it’s implausible).
What I Don’t Like
The melodrama could be too much at times, even for a YA novel – I understand that teenagers are angsty and dramatic, but sometimes it ruined the scene and pulled you out of the story.
A few too many scenes – some of the scenes felt irrelevant and unnecessary, which slowed the pace of the story.
I enjoyed the overall premise and watching Poppy and Noah’s relationship grow. I wasn’t as hooked as It Only Happens In The Movies, but I did still enjoy picking it up and reading it.
Alice has been dreaming of Max since she was a child, experiencing wild and wondrous dreams together. However, when Alice moves to Boston, she makes a startling discovery: her dream boy is real. Navigating a new city, a new school and new friendships, along with her conflicting feelings towards the boy she thought she knew, Alice’s life gets complicated. Can Alice and Max’s relationship exist in reality, or will she only ever have her dream boy in her dreams?
The idea of two people sharing a dream was such an intriguing concept to me that I immediately wanted to pick up the book and read it. Alice was quite a compelling character, just for her dreamscapes alone, and I enjoyed seeing her go from needing the dreams to survive, to letting them go and living in reality with her literal dream boy.
Writing Element Thoughts
The characterisation was interesting. I thought Alice and Max’s relationship went back and forth a few too many times, making it all the more frustrating, but I’m glad they did end up together in the end. The secondary characters were well rounded, but they were all conveniently in a relationship by the end of the story, which irks me a bit. I enjoyed how they handled Oliver and Celeste, considering how they could’ve made them into assholes after what Alice and Max did, but instead, they chose a mature decision to move on, which I appreciated.
The pacing was well maintained throughout, following the story structure almost perfectly, and the overall story arc was consistent and kept making Alice change and grow as a person. Nothing too drastic happened either, which I appreciated.
What I Like
I loved reading the dreamscapes, since I often have weird dreams myself, and I loved that Max was helping to control the dreams. However, I also appreciated how emotions controlled the dreams too, with their fears turning the dreams into something uncontrollable.
I liked that there was a psychological reason these dreams were happening instead of a supernatural reason. They actually tried to use science to explain it, even if I don’t actually believe this is possible, which I appreciate.
What I Don’t Like
I didn’t like how convenient the ending is with everyone coupling up. It irks me because it doesn’t feel that realistic to have everyone in the story be in a relationship. Perhaps Oliver and Sophie is justifiable, but Alice’s father and Margaret Yang? And Celeste just so happening to date an older man after dating Max for years? Nope, sorry.
I didn’t like how Max kept going back and forth with how he felt for Alice, especially compared to the dream version of himself. I know they’re teenagers and they have no idea how to feel the majority of the time, but the constant back and forth was frustrating and used as a plot device.
It was a good story overall. I enjoyed reading it and finding out why Alice and Max were having a joint dream, but I think it was lacking something for me to make me want to reread it.