|Read July 1 - 2, 2014|
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Number of Pages: 336
Genre/s: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley
“I've always been a dreamer. Daydreams. Night dreams. Dreams of grandeur and dreams of escape. If I were an onion and you pulled back the papery outside, you'd find layer after layer of eye-watering dreams. And in the center, where there's that little curlicue of onion heart? There'd be a puff of smoke from the dreams that burned away.” - taken from an uncorrected ARC
What if what you dream about becomes a reality? Annabelle found out she has this unique power in the form of one, gorgeous boy. Clearly having a dream so powerful, it can bring a being into life, only happens in a SciFi show and easily makes for an interesting read. But alas, in Dream Boy, this is where the interest starts and ends. Because after the novelty of having your dream boy become a reality faded, the only thing this novel inspired me to do, is to take a nap myself. Twice. I can't even begin to tell you how a total snoozefest this book was.
I have no qualms in being this harsh because I tried so hard to like this book. However, Dream Boy made this too difficult, and it wasn't long until I gave up. The characters are abysmally dull, and the pacing is just dreadful. As I turn page after page, all I could think about was: I'm one page closer to the end of the book. I wanted to be done with it, so I can finally move on with my life. I've yet to not finish a book, but this one came so close.
Annabelle, our main protagonist, is so boring. I definitely get it why she has to dream people up so her life could become interesting. I believe there were so many opportunities for her to become likeable and engaging. For instance, if we had explored more about her Dad, or her drawings, or her friendship with Talon and Selena, then I might've grown to like her. Martin Zirkle, the dream boy, does not have any redeeming qualities, either. He's as flat as a cardboard. He's cluelessness is not endearing in anyway, much more his stalkerish, possessive behavior. This could be explained by his lack of social understanding, since Annabelle literally just dreamed him to life, but I won't make that excuse for him.
"I mean," Martin said, "how do you know Annabelle?"
"If you were close you wouldn't have to ask that question."
Martin grabbed my hand and pulled me onto his lap. "Close enough?"
Okay, forget the western. It was more like that thing where dogs pee on their property as a message to other dogs.
— Um, just no. *facepalm*
I'm trying to think of something positive to say about Dream Boy, but all I can come up with circles back to its captivating concept: Dreams and Nightmares—the reason I picked up this book in the first place. Annabelle did choose the right guy for her in the end, so I have to give credit where credit is due. Will can also be included in this very short list because he's the only character I cared about. He almost made me feel something at the end of the book. Almost.
I had high hopes about Dream Boy. I'm deeply disappointed because if you have this intriguing premise in your arsenal, you basically have a sure tool in crafting a fantastic novel. A slight focus on the world-building in the dream world and having more fleshed-out, dynamic characters might have made this book better. The meaning behind Annabelle's dreaming powers was never adequately explained, too. The explanation was sloppy and prohibitive, and the readers are just left to swallow it up and pretend it all made sense. Also, let's be honest, if you write a story about a special girl, a chosen one, who has to battle an evil entity to save all those she holds dear, it needs to be a girl we can sympathize and root for. Unfortunately, Annabelle doesn't fit the bill.
Dream Boy failed to live up to its potential. Drab and lackluster, even Will is not enough to change how I feel about this novel. Now excuse me, while I dream away the bitter taste this book left in my mouth.