Title: Awa and the Dreamrealm: Dreamweavers Book 1
Author: Isa Pearl Ritchie
Publisher: Te Ra Aroha Press
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publication Date: November 1, 2019
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?
Personally, I have not read any middle grade books recently and Awa and the Dreamrealm was such a refreshing change to the usual Fantasy books I’ve been reading for the past few months. This book was such a fun read, it was also easy to follow as well.
As I was reading, there were moments where I had to stop and think, was this how a middle grade book is nowadays? Then I remembered myself during those times as well and I realize how great the book is on how it tackled certain important themes of kids emerging into teenhood: teasing/bullying in school, attraction to the opposite sex, change in family dynamics, moving to other places, forming friendships, and more.
During the start of the book, I wasn’t a big fan of Awa’s mother. I just felt that she was somehow detached and that she just allowed Awa to do what she wants and have all sort of feelings all by herself. Eventually, I grew to like her specially towards the end when she fought for her child and spoke up against the oppression her daughter was experiencing. I also liked how involved Awa’s dad was even though he lived away from her.
I really enjoyed the parts when Awa was in her dreamworld. It just felt whimsical and fun, specially when she was allowed to think of anything she wanted and do anything she wanted. Personally, I want to experience flying in my dreams, sounds really wickedly cool! The characters inside the dreamrealm were really interesting too! Somehow, Veila reminded me of Joy from Inside Out, but not in every literal sense. Veila was described as someone who looked like Awa but she was smaller. And everytime Awa was lucid dreaming, Veila was there to talk to her and tell her all about the dreamrealm.
The parallelism from the dreamrealm to Awa’s real life was also a fantastic part of the plot. She was encountering all types of personality inside the dreamrealm and was learning how to deal with them inside her dreams that she was able to apply in her real life interactions in school. That was absolutely fantastic for me.
Although there were moments that I felt confused and frustrated, specially when Veila kept beating around the bush about Awa’s importance in the dreamrealm, what exactly was expected of her and how she was going to achieve that goal. And some questions were still unanswered even towards the end of the book but then again this is a series so I expect to learn more in the future books.
Overall, I would say that this was a great first book for a middle grade series. I think it’s unique, fun and imaginative. I think kids and their parents will enjoy this a lot and would make for great conversations on issues that maybe troubling to them to speak up on.
Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on this blog tour! Thanks to Isa Pearl Ritchie and Te Ra Aroha Press for the e-arc copy! Follow the blog tour on the schedule below:
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.
Kindle copy giveaway!
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