Life is But a Dream by Brian James

Title: Life is But a Dream
Author: Brian James
Series: N/A
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: 3/27/2012
Length: 234 pages
Format: Paperback Galley
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | ePub
Rating: ★★★★☆

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.

Achingly beautiful. Those are the two words that come to mind upon finishing this book. I sincerely hope that this book gets all the buzz it deserves and does well. With so many hyped books coming out next year, it would be easy for this one to fall between the cracks. Don’t let that happen! It really is beautiful.

This book is both a look at the world through the eyes of a girl while her mind slowly unravels and a gorgeous love story about two troubled teens who find solace in their understanding of one another. I will say that the quick progression of Sabrina and Alec’s relationship was a little off-putting. I had to remind myself of the desperate and intense emotions that comes with being a teenager. I can only imagine that those emotions would be taken to another level if suffering from the psychological and social disorders that these two have. What’s so beautiful about it all is that they get each other. In the same situation most people would decide Sabrina or Alec was crazy and walk quickly in the other direction. Because they’ve both felt what it’s like to be weird or outcast (or “special,” as Sabrina would say) they develop a deep connection.

The book isn’t just about Sabrina and Alec’s love. It’s mostly about the world Sabrina lives in vs the real world. She struggles to hold onto what is real and what isn’t. What I loved about Sabrina’s illness what that it was written in a way that’s easy to understand. It’s easy to see how she gets confused. Her obsessive fixations on some things seem to take her away from real life. It’s so easy to sympathize with her character when experiencing the whole thing through her eyes. She’s constantly afraid of what will happen. She doesn’t want to change. She doesn’t want to become fake, like all the people she sees around her. She most definitely does not want to lose Alec. It’s all very engaging. I could hardly tear myself away from the book.

Within her stay at the hospital, she sorts through her memories. I slowly got to discover what happened to her and why she ended up there in the first place. That part was almost as interesting to me as her developing relationship with Alec and the progression of her illness. I just needed know how things ended up this way. There was also a small focus on her relationship with her parents. I think that part was a little more understated, but it was there. I am glad they’re not the terrible parents that always seem to inhabit teen books.

To sum things up, I thought this book was terrific. Everything really leaped off the page. It was a very visual experience for me. The writing was beautiful and I can’t wait for it come out so I can go get my very own finished copy.

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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