Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Life Is But A Dream by Brian James

By Brian James
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publish Date: March 27, 2012
Format: Hardback, pp 234
Age Demographic: Young Adult
b&n // amazon

“Something is wrong with the sky. Thinner and nearly see-through, the sky is like a worn bedsheet tacked loosely over the sun, which blaezes brightly on the other side. I stop for a second to watch and the other kids hurry past.

I breathe in and the blue fades out. I exhale swirling colors that streak across the clouds like rainbows on soapy water. I reaach upward with my free hand. The evening sunlight touches my skin like golden water and I feel safe--almost like heaven is falling from the sky to protect me. It should be confusing but somehow it all makes sense to me. It makes sense the way a dream makes sense. The only difference is, I'm awake.” (pp 01)

Alec and Sabrina are crazy in love. Problem is: Sabrina’s really crazy.

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself.

Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences.

*Summary taken from Goodreads.

❝My Thoughts❞

Life Is But A Dream is an incredibly intense and emotional story told, in a somewhat unique way. The setting of this novel, is in a psychiatric facility and it's very different from the normal world. James attention to detail showcases what wonderful talent he possesses, as he so eloquently and almost lyrically paints the canvas of this atmosphere. The range of emotion explored in this novel, is heart-gripping, and quite telling. Yet, in some cases, a bit frustrating as well.

The character's are interesting, the story told is compelling enough to keep reader's flipping the pages, and the careful way James has crafted this world is interesting enough. Sabrina, is diagnosed as being schizophrenic and is checked into the Wellness Center by her parents who are only seeking to help her to get better instead of continuing to struggle with her illness. Sabrina, on the other hand, is quite fearful of losing her dreams that she clings to. She has this undeniably interesting yet almost scary way of looking at the world and I actually loved how James was able to get inside her head and paint a picture of how she lived with her illness and the fear from the inside out. As fascinating as this character may seem at times (and she is), she is also frustrating as well.

For instance, I personally didn't like that she was so willing to stop taking her medication and halt her progression of getting better, because Alex had convinced her to do so. It's not that Alex isn't an interesting character or that I didn't like him, it was the things that he was feeding Sabrina that she was so willing to believe naively that frustrated me as a reader. I liked that he cared about her and that there was someone else, with whom Sabrina could have a deep connection with, but I didn't like that he hindered her road to recovery a bit. If he loved her as he said he did (and I believe he did to a degree), then he wouldn't have convinced her to stop taking her meds. Alex, for all intent and purposes, will redeem himself later in the story. He is a likeable character, one reader's can sympathize with and enjoy to a fault, he just made a mistake I believe.

I absolutely loved the way this novel started, the thing that hooked me was the blurb on the front cover of it, "Is the world crazy--or is she?" The writing was just absolutely beautiful and the story is emotionally charged. It's just beautiful and scary and special in a sense. Though, the only drawbacks for me, was that the pacing of the book moved a bit too slow for my liking.


{ This ARC was provided by ATW ARC Tours, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided. No money exchanged hands, I review books for fun because I love to read. I am not interested in monetary gain. Any piece of this ARC that was/wasn't quoted, is not part of the finished product and should not be perceived as such.}

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