Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie

Book: Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie
Pages: 244
Genre: Young Adult 
Buy A Copy: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Available Formats: Ebook / Paperback
Publication Date: April 4th, 2011
How Did I Get This Book: From Author for Review
Preview Book: Read Chapter 1
Sixteen-year-old Autumn has spent her entire life worrying about others. Her ailing grandma, meth-addicted mom, and a best friend who is always in trouble. She's spent the last few years attempting to worry less, to be carefree, without success.

Enter Evan, whose radiant attitude is an Autumn magnet. With Evan at her side, Autumn's able to let some of her worries go as they trudge through life's difficulties and fall for each other in the process.

A girl who no longer wants to care and a boy who cares enough for the both of them, Dream Smashers is a love story, but most of all, it's about letting go.

Dream Smashers is a daring and intelligent contemporary young adult story that features an interesting and likeable heroine.

Autumn Winters is a bit of a mess, but what sixteen year old isn't? Autumn has spent her life trying to keep things together - she has been thrown a lot of curves balls and she struggles to stay on top. You see, her mother is a meth addict and Autumn wants nothing to do with her destructive life. This creates an interesting dynamic in Autumn, because she wants to be a good person. She certainly isn't perfect, but she certainly is trying to better herself. Her inner narration is both witty and heartfelt and she is easy to connect with. The problems she deals with make you want to champion for her, and the strength that she faces everyday earn her a place in your heart. Autumn is a complex character, but one who is easy to love.

Although Autumn was a dynamic and multidimensional character, I thought that her love interest, Evan was rather flat. He is a nice character, and he genuinely cares about Autumn, but I found him to be rather dull. I think the reason I felt so strongly about this is because Carlie switches back and forth between the viewpoints of Autumn and Evan. Although we are only given brief glimpses inside Evan's head (the majority of the story is told from Autumn), he still came off as one dimensional. He was always thinking exactly what I thought he would be, he always did exactly what I predicted and he always said what I thought he would say. He never changes, never grows, he simply remains the same Evan we started with. Although I liked that Evan, he was overwhelmingly predictable.

Rainy one the other hand, Autumns best friend, does go through some character development. However, I still did not really like her. I think we've all known people like Rainy before; self-centered, demanding and a bit crass. She is rather outgoing and Autumn latches on to her. I know I had relationships like that growing up, like Autumn, I was the sidekick who was dragged long to questionable activities and circumstances, when I clearly knew better. I think that Rainy is an incredibly believable character, I just did not like her. However, I will admit that Carlie does a great job with her. I definitely felt strongly about the character, which is the goal. She is both memorable and thought provoking.

The plot line was incredibly captivating; it was depressing and uplifting at the same time. At times it was hard to watch Autumn's interactions with her mother - much like it is hard to watch a car accident happen right before your eyes. It's terrible, it's horrible, you may even feel sympathy pains; but you still don't look away. Dream Smashers definitely pushes the boundaries. It makes you think and feel. However, like I stated before, Dream Smashers is both depressing and uplifting. Although it is hard to sit idly as Autumn deals with her pain, it is incredible to see her begin to turn things around for herself. This is a story about Autumn's journey to accepting that she is control of her own life and nothing can ever change that.

I enjoyed Dream Smashers - Autumn was a remarkable character with a captivating story to tell. It was the rest of the cast of characters that fell a bit flat for me. Evan was a kind character, who served his purpose in the storyline, but he wasn't anything more. Rainy, although well-written did not exactly do it for me either. Still, I would recommend Dream Smashers. It is a story that makes you think; which in my opinion is the best kind.

Favorite Quotes 
"He enters my space, gives me a brief, sincere hug, then steps back, tripping on the curb. His face beams red - handsome and sweet."
"There's a feeling, Evan's read about in books, when two separate souls collide that were never meant to be apart, but are. When nothing and everything matters and all the protagonist sees is the beauty of creation - love - right in front of his face. He always thought it was just fiction. He thought wrong." 

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