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.
Audrey Winters is in the midst of a crisis, leading to her total disdain towards romance movies. With her father moving on, her mother in a catatonic state, and her ex-boyfriend dumping her for another woman, it’s little wonder Audrey feels that way. However, when she starts her job at Flicker (their local cinema), she meets Harry, and her feelings begin to change towards love.
I was addicted to this book from the first moment I picked it up. I was curious about the beginning scene since it happens much later in the book and I wanted to know what led to that moment and what the resolution would be. I’ll admit, I’m much more likely to stick with a book if it gives me a reason to, like showing a much later scene first. Or even just hinting towards something ominous in the future.
Writing Element Thoughts
The characterisation is very realistic. Audrey changes through the course of the story, from letting her guard down and being vulnerable again with a guy, to letting her friends back into her life who she’d been neglecting, to finally expressing her true feelings towards her dad and her brother. It was refreshing to see her try to juggle multiple problems in her life while trying to keep a hold on everything, such as A levels and friendships and a home life. At some point, most people will experience this difficult juggling act, which could end in a very bad way (like a mental breakdown or physical injury).
The story arc is very well written. It has a clear key narrative structure with a good beginning, middle and end. The chapters are interspersed with her criticism of romance films that correlate with the stage of her relationship with Harry, which is a nice touch. I personally like the writing style too. It’s friendly and conversational without trying too hard to relate to a younger audience. There’s ways of speaking that young people use nowadays, but it’s not included in a cringey way.
What I Like
- I like that Audrey didn’t just take Harry back after the Big Gesture because he hurt her and she couldn’t trust him anymore. I would’ve liked if they’d gotten back together, but it shows a realism to the story by forcing Harry to deal with the consequences of his actions, rather than just sweeping it aside and moving on.
- I like when Audrey finally talked to her brother about her feelings and shouted at her father for what he did. It showed a maturity and a willingness to handle her problems instead of letting them spiral out of control.
- I like how Audrey takes back control of her life after realising she’s been living in a zombie state, in part thanks to her shitty ex-boyfriend. She actively fixes her friendships and applies to study media at university.
What I Didn’t Like
- I didn’t like how, when Audrey did repair her friendship with her best friends, we didn’t have a scene with the girls just hanging (although, since they weren’t the main focus, it does make sense).
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story from start to finish. I honestly couldn’t put it down because it was just so well written. The characterisation and overall story arc was brilliant and the themes were handled wonderfully.
I’d definitely recommend you to read it.