Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published by Harper Teen on April 12, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Format: ARC, paperback
2.5 Stars, Completed August 5, 2016
– read the bold text only to avoid SPOILERS –
I feel pretty bad about this rating because it seems like the majority greatly enjoyed Dreamology; and there were certainly moments where I did, too, but I also had issues with the characters and romance which prevented me from overall truly being fond of the standalone.
…dreams and reality are far from the same.
In Dreamology readers are introduced to Alice and Max, a cute pair that, like many couples, meet everyday… but only in their dreams. Then on the first day of class, Alice walks into her new school and notices a boy exactly like Max. Though he is indeed the one and the same, the real life Max is different from the dream Max that Alice has known practically all her life. And as they get to know each other’s true personalities, they have to face a number of obstacles before they can be a real couple-one of the biggest being that their dreams are bleeding into reality. To prevent from going mad, Alice and Max will have to decide whether they want to put an end to the merged dreams.
I do have to praise Lucy Keating because the imagery used for the dream chapters was so whimsical and vivid. In fact, the surreal qualities sort of reminded me of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-in a good, tastefully inspired way. (Also, it’s cool that our protagonist is named Alice. Some more parallelism!)
As I alluded, I really liked the incorporation of the dream segments, which were distributed to be nearly every other chapter. Readers would think that they’d get disinteresting or humdrum quick, but each were equally as entertaining as the last.
My problems lied more so in the real life parts, which was the larger part of the book.
Max and Alice’s romance seemed like an entirely new form of instalove because the girl falls in love with the boy from her dreams, which I did anticipate and was totally okay with because this is after all the complete storyline of the book. However, Max and Alice’s relationship moves on unnaturally fast. Arguably, Alice actually has known Max her entire life since they both started having the playful dreams as young kids, but even Alice admits that the real Max is quite different from the dream one. Their relationship felt kind of unnatural-and at times forced-to me because of quick progression (from meeting in real life to falling in love with each other).
Another drawback I encountered was the lack of depth within the characters; I had a difficult time emotionally connecting with them.
First, I strongly disliked Alice’s character. She was impatient, overzealous, and way too Max-crazed (too early on) for my liking. The bulk of the beginning of the book was her feeling betrayed that the in real life Max already had a girlfriend. She couldn’t wrap around why he would date someone other than her. But, I mean, for the longest time both of them acknowledged that their dream counterparts were, well, part of dreams and not real anyway. I mean just because something happens in a dream doesn’t limit or dictate what someone does with his/her real life. However, conversely, I guess I would have been able to see Alice’s perspective on the matter more if she and Max knew they both existed in reality from the beginning.
As for Max, personally I found him void of much personality. He didn’t standout among other fictional boys I’ve come across and was completely forgettable. I couldn’t really see why he was so crushworthy to Alice or Celeste, his girlfriend. But who knows, maybe other readers found him cute or his indecisiveness endearing. Attractiveness is different for everyone, I suppose.
Also, since this book predominantly focuses on the romance than any other element it’s important (for me) to be able to like the couple together, but in addition to finding Alice and Max’s relationship odd and detached, I also couldn’t help myself ship them individually with the second leads. Second lead syndrome was overpowering in this one. Oliver had less time with Alice (if you include the dream states) but he gave the most effort in getting to know and being there for her in real life. Also, Celeste was such a genuinely nice and amiable character, it was pretty sad seeing how she was treated by both Max and Alice.
And yes, earlier I did type leads plural, meaning there was a love polygon involved. It wasn’t an obnoxious one, but it also felt unnecessary. To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded keeping Celeste as part of the romantic plot, but with Oliver, too, it was a little overdone that each lead has two love interests vying for their attention.
But despite these faults, there were, as I said, parts that I did still like. What I really enjoyed was Alice’s relationship (or lack of relationship, I guess) with her mother. It may seem like the absent character trope was exaggerated because how can a mother abandon a kid in the manner Alice’s mom did? But I feel like having such a detached and unmaternal figure isn’t too unimaginative, and that part was very realistic and even relatable for me.
Anyway, I expected to swoon over and be swept off my feet by Dreamology, but, alas, I wasn’t really impressed because of the lack of character complexity and characterization, rushed romance, and love polygon. (Though I didn’t really elaborate, the ending was also tied up a little too conveniently neat to be believable.) Overall, a book with a charming premise full of potential that fell flat for me but may still be a fun, fast read for another reader.
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected advance readers copy.
Thank you Harper Teen (and the EpicReads booth at Yallfest) for giving me the opportunity to read and review Dreamology. In no way did this affect my reading experience or honest review.