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Book Review + Author Interview: Dream Boy

Title: Dream Boy
Author: Mary Crockett, Madelyn Rosenberg
Published:  July 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Reviewer: Lyanna
Rating: 5 stars


Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.

One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.


I knew the moment I heard of this book that it was meant for me. 

The premise excited me and, oh come on! Who doesn't want to read about a girl's dream boy -- literally -- come to life. All my guilty pleasures in one book! [squeal] I've always been a sucker for dream-to-reality fictions, and this is no downer! 

I couldn't put the book down and when I did, never did it stray away from my thoughts. Dream Boy is a stunning fantasy novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning from page to page wanting more.

The plot was constructed in such a way that there were never any bland points, while simultaneously leaving enough breathing room for readers to assimilate. It was a test of friendship, love and sanity. An adventure to know themselves because what better way to strip down someone's walls than when they're vulnerably asleep. This isn't your typical contemporary romance, what with the paranormal phenomena reoccurring all around their small town.  

The nightmarish setting kept me from turning off any of the lights around the house and had my iTunes playing loud obnoxious music to keep the terrifying images from scaring me further. Heavens, it was amazing!

I now feel like I want a dream journal too, it's a really smart idea actually, to allow dreamers to keep track of their dreams. Ha! Leonardo Di Caprio should've thought of that one! (cough, Inception, cough).

I related to Annabelle profusely. She escapes reality through art and sleep, much like myself, she also has crazy-way-too-realistic dreams and nightmares, and we both constantly lack sleep. I, too, have a similar Dream Boy gracing my dreams, every now and then. So… we're twins, basically. Except I'm prettier, (kidding).

Will was adorkable, but Martin…

I could grab Martin right now, shove him in my knapsack and run away to Mars where we can breed beautiful offsprings. Remember when I said Annabelle and I had the same-ish Dream Boy, yeah… Martin is exactly that. So when Annabelle pulled off that imprudent stunt at the end of the book and her accompanying choices afterwards, well, I guess you can say I was a very, very pissed off camper. 

The supporting characters were also very present in the entirety of the book. They each had a purpose and weren't simply put to fill in the gaps. Everyone had their own distinct personality and complimented each other, along with the main characters, very well.

Overall, if I had any doubts that Dream Boy would be anything less than perfect when I started reading, then they're long gone now. This book is easily now one of my favourites and will stay with me for a long, long time. 

Perhaps someday my Dream Boy would walk in class too, fingers are crossed.

A copy was provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

About Mary Crockett:

Mary Crockett's debut young adult novel DREAM BOY is about the aftermath of dreams and the desire to figure out how you fit into the puzzle of your own life. It's also about cute guys, epic kisses, and the mystical power of a really awesome pair of shoes. 

A native of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Mary grew up as the youngest of six children in a family of misfits. She has worked as everything from a history museum director to a toilet seat hand model. In her other life, she's an award-winning poet, professional eavesdropper, and the person who wipes runny noses. If you tweet at her, chances are she will tweet back.

Contact Mary: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr  

About Madelyn Rosenberg:

Madelyn is the author of many books, her most recent one is Dream Boy which came out last July 1, 2014.  Before being an author, she wrote for the Roanoke Times in Southwest Vigrinia, where she grew up.  Nowadays, she continues to work on stories for children and adults, as well as essays, articles and newsletters.

Contact Madelyn: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

What is your definition of a Perfect Boy?

Madelyn: Someone who laughs and who can make me laugh. You know how there are people who make you feel like you’re funnier than you really are, just because they are the perfect match for your sense of humor? I’d put that at the top, and throw in kindness, mischief, maybe a little rebellious streak and a variety of herbs and spices. Someone who believes in me and pushes me, but not too hard. When I was younger and in school, I spent a lot of time looking at boys from behind (not AT behinds, mind you, but from behind) and for some reason I got obsessed with the backs of necks. Also, nice teeth.

Mary: I wonder if there is such a thing as a Perfect anything—especially Perfect Boy. I've always been somewhat suspicious of the very notion of perfection. I guess the best I can do (outside the pages of a book) is find someone who's perfect for me, right?

So my perfect guy is pretty flawed, in the way most interesting things in life are flawed. He's forgiving (which is lucky because I'm flawed too). He's funny, and like Madelyn says, he makes me feel as if I'm funny too. He's pulls over and helps turtles across the road. He shares his ice cream.

Where did you get the inspiration for your characters' names?

Madelyn: You are testing my memory! I think Paolo came from someone Mary knew once.

Mary: Yep. He's a guy a knew in high school. I didn't take Paolo's character from the guy I knew, just his name. Ever since he showed up in Dream Boy, it's been a bit odd for me because I still keep up with the real Paolo from time to time on Facebook. He's gone off to make his fortune in the world and is living in LA and working as a big shot animation guy. I think he led some crew of animators for How To Train Your Dragon II. I'm not sure if I ever told real Paolo that I used his name for a character or not.

Madelyn: Annabelle was a name that I picked for the sound (I liked three syllables, plus the bell sound) and I wanted a name that could be innocent and complicated at the same time. The town, Chilton, is named after Alex Chilton, one of my favorite musicians of all time. (I used to be a music writer so whenever I get stuck on a name, I usually try to name-check a musician.)

Mary: I was at the library the day Madelyn called to tell me that the agent was sending off Dream Boy. As we were talking, I passed by a whole row of books that had a huge golden CHILTON's on the spines. They were some kind of car reference book, but I got really excited. I took it as a sign.

I also wore the green beetle necklace that Madelyn gave me for luck for months until the manuscript sold. I only took it off for showers and sleep.

But I'm not superstitious or anything.

If you could, by any chance, be any character in your book, which character would you be and what would you do?

Mary: I'd be Spice. And I'd come visit Mary. (Wait. I AM Mary. I'm blowing my own mind here.)

Madelyn: I would be Annabelle and I would do some serious exploring of dreams. Also, I’d play a lot of putt-putt.


Madelyn: We love Martin, too! It’s good to love your characters but dangerous when you’re so attached you don’t want them to feel bad, and I think that’s what was happening with us and Martin in the end.

We don’t have a sequel in the works, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t talked about what would happen next. Martin would definitely have to be near the center of it.

Mary: Agreed. I find Martin quite charming, and I'd love seeing him in a sequel.

Do you often remember your dreams?

Madelyn: I used to have a dream journal and when I kept one, it trained me to remember my dreams. At one point, I found myself remembering them almost every night, not unlike Annabelle; I felt exhausted, like I hadn’t slept. Some of my dreams were pretty disturbing – I remember sweeping up body parts, for instance – and at some point, I decided maybe I didn’t need to remember all of my dreams all of the time.  I stopped keeping the journal then and now I just remember my dreams more … organically? Is that the right word?

Mary: I remembered my dreams much better before I had children. Like Mad, I kept a dream journal and I felt very connected to my dream life. I could wake slowly and write it all down. But now I'm usually woken by a child, and that child's need becomes my first thought of the day. So dreams just sort of drift away on their own. 

Do you have a favourite scene in the book? If so, what is it? (If it's too spoilery, you can say the chapter or page number.)

Mary: I'm going to use the chapter/page numbers option! Talon cracks me up in Chapter 14. I liked Chapter 19, because we got to describe this strange little restaurant that I'm kind of obsessed with in real life (even though we changed its “real life” name and location). I like what happens with the rock and ice on page 325 because Annabelle is in some ways breaking out there; she's fully accepting who she is there and she's taking control.

Madelyn: I have always been a fan of the putt-putting scene. I like the descriptions in that chapter, and also the tension between Will and Annabelle. Another favorite was actually at the very beginning of the book, a scene we had to remove, that takes place at Annabelle’s cousin’s wedding. And I like the scene when Nightmare Girl “helps” Annabelle’s dreams come back to her.

What did you find the most challenging in working with a co-author?

Madelyn: Most of it was fabulous – especially the publicity part, which I usually hate, because it’s making me brave enough to talk about this book. The two challenging parts:  The editing, because we both had to sign off on all changes, and the expectations, because I felt like Mary’s were sort of pie-in-the-sky and I felt responsible for making sure she wouldn’t be disappointed if they didn’t come true.

Mary: Just for the record, I like to have pie-in-the-sky expectations. It makes me happy. And I would never never never blame you, Madelyn, or anyone else for that matter, if and when they don't come true.

Also, since Madelyn and I asked something along these lines when we interviewed each other in a little video for Stories & Sweeties, you can see what we say here:

If you could give one advice to every human on earth, what would it be?

Madelyn: This is going to make me sound like a Deadhead, but “Be kind?” Be kind and be brave.

Mary: “Love one another.”

Thanks, Lyanna and Lea.

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