Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and for providing me with a copy for review. My review is my own honest opinion of the book.
What if dreams are more real than waking life? Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life. She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm. At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?
The map at the start of Awa and the Dreamrealm gave me an insight into this beautiful story of self-awareness and hope before I even turned the first page as it has been created as a landscape within a brain! I found this story a fascinating exploration into the power of dreams to heal the psyche in the real world, told in a refreshing and sympathetic manner through the eyes of a young teenager, Awa.
Awa is dealing with some big changes in her life from the divorce of her parents to the move to a much smaller apartment in the city of Wellington to separation from her old school friends. She has struggled with anxiety in the past … will this follow her into her new life?
Following a disastrous start at her new school, where she is targeted by a racist bully, Awa begins to have lucid dreams. Awa’s dreams have the ability to morph into nightmares which terrify her … and encroach into her real world.
When she dreams, she enters the Dreamrealm where she meets a small, glowing creature, Veila who is a Dreamcharmer, and her guide. This realm is a wondrous place, both terrifying and gorgeous. Once fully immersed in it, Awa feels calm, peaceful and content, letting go of her worries. Is this realm better than her reality?
Awa is soon desperate to spend more time in the Dreamrealm where Veila wants to train her to help with dreamwork. She introduces her to Honu, a giant turtle, who is the Guardian of the Lake of Reflection. Honu tells Awa that she is a Dreamweaver, a revelation that leads her on a dangerous quest to help herself, and protect her friends in the Dreamrealm from some terrifying people.
This story deals sensitively with some big issues such as bullying, racism and anxiety. It also explores the awkwardness of fledgling relationships and the uncertainty that can arise from them as Awa develops friendships with two teenagers in her class, Ella and Evan.
Overall, I thought this was a wonderfully captivating story, set in a beautifully realised landscape. A story about becoming self-aware and having the courage to take control of your worries.
About the Author
Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.
Check out the rest of the Tour with these bloggers!