BY COLEEN MURTAGH PARATORE
Dreamsleeves follows Aislinn (whose name means 'dream', by the way) during the summer before her thirteenth birthday. Poor and with a drunkard father, her life gets worse as her dad's drinking does, so she tries to save herself with an ideas of hers- Dreamsleeves.
Dreamsleeves are the white part of 'Hello! My name is-" stickers with your dream on them. Her second youngest brother, D, wishes for a little red car. She wishes for her father to stop drinking.
Of course, it doesn't help that her friend, Maizey, chose Sue Ellen, the stuck up rich girl, to be her friend instead of Aislinn, and she wants to woo pretty boy Mike Mancinello. Her mom's going to have a new baby, and her world's falling apart.
The first thing I want to say about this story is that I love the way Coleen Paratore wrote it. The style she wrote it in made it sound much more emotional and realistic, nostalgia shaking you to your core, sadness ripping your heart, and hope blossoming.
Sadly, there were many problems to go with it.
Honestly, I don't mind the 'daddy why do you drink?' sort of plot, and I think that it was done well in this book (though I've never been through such an ordeal, so I may be wrong). What I didn't think was done as well was all the distractions that were thrown in.
The one-or-two-wah-I-don't-know sided romance was fine, even though I'm not much into the topic (maybe because I'm a lonely, lonely soul). No, it was the my-friend-won't-talk-to-me-and-now-she-likes-my-enemy-better-than-me thing. Yeah, we get it, she's your best friend and you're sad, but we had a real nice plot that doesn't involve griping about it. I've felt that feeling a thousand times, and it wasn't really done right. It's not really jealousy, like Paratore described it as, it's hatred of both people involved. Then it's hatred of yourself. It goes like that, and when I've experienced it, I was never jealous of the person who had "stolen" my friend from me, because no one is jealous of a monster.
"But Cori-" You start. "Don't call me that." I finish. "But, Corinne," You begin again, "That was minor. It didn't distract the story from its plot too much, did it?" No, you're right, it was more of a little nuisance, but it bothered me.
Another distraction I feel horrible about mentioning is just how much she talked about her Roman Catholic faith. No, I don't mind that that was her religion, she could be a cultist for all I care, but it just seemed like all the instances she said it was getting in the way of my enjoyment of the book. It wasn't crucial to the plot and really turned me off.
Now, the characters. I loved most of the background characters, or even the non-narrating main characters (her father, Mikey). Instead of the normal "here is my character okay that's it", they actually had lives. Aislinn's dad collected hubcaps, Maizey was scared not to be accepted, Mikey wasn't just the cute boy, he was the cute boy with a personality. Awesome.
The sad thing? There was one character I had a couple issues with- Aislinn. No, I don't mean because she had flaws, it would be boring if she didn't, but occasionally she just didn't feel as realistic as she should have. At one point, she wet her bed (ew), which was actually when I started noticing the problem. Yes, it happens to some people, but the way she reacted was... not up to par. Instead of the feeling of "I'm acting like a three year old, I feel horrible" it was more of "this isn't my fault". Preteen girls don't do that. Crippling self-doubt and little self-worth is pretty much a tween girl's life. I don't care how strong she's supposed to be, you don't escape that kind of incident without a bit of emotion.
At another point, she finds out that long long ago when the earth was green, her dad threw away one of her favorite stuffed animals. Okay... that's... sad, I guess. But the cry-fest she replied with wasn't right for the subject. It wasn't her kitten, it was a stuffed rabbit. It had been years since it happened. I'm sorry, there was just too much emotion wasted in something so unimportant, something that was hardly mentioned afterwards.
One last thing before I get back to the review, the dreamsleeves themselves. Considering that 'Dreamsleeves' is the title, I was disappointed about how little they were mentioned. They felt like more of a background thing than part of the plot, which I didn't really like.
Overall, though, the book was okay, with realistic characters but a very distracted plot. The emotions were handled well, but not always in the right places. I would recommend it, but only to the more dramatic type.