12-year-old Jake has been suppressing his heartbreak over the loss of his mother for the past four years. But his emotions have a way of haunting his dreams and bubbling to the surface when he least expects it. When Jake learns how to take control in his dreams, he becomes a lucid dreamer, and that’s when the battle really heats up.
Using his wits to dodge bullies by day and a nefarious kangaroo hopping ever closer by night, Jake learns about loss, bravery, the power of love, and how you cannot fully heal until you face your greatest fear. This uncompromising novel is a magical yet honest exploration of emotional healing after a devastating loss.
Described as a “poignant coming-of-age novel (that) offers a sensitive and honest examination of a child’s spiritual and emotional battles” by The BookLife Prize.
This moving story is in the genre of magical realism, a type of storytelling popularized by acclaimed authors such as Neil Gaiman, Rebecca Stead, Katherine Applegate, Wendy Maas, and Roald Dahl.
Adults have a tendency to talk down to children. It's like they reach 18 and their inner patroniser awakens. I can honestly say, however, that this book does not do this. Pure, raw emotion is encouraged in this book. This book gives children some excellent growing-up tips, especially if the child has had a raw deal such as losing a family member.
The story is written with sensitivity. At times, I was gulping back tears so, yes, this is a book that will have children and adults welling up. Jake's feelings are realistic and understandable after his mother died, and his angst is fitting for the situation (and age group!)
The pace of the story is fitting for a MG novel. There is no point in the story that seems like it's dragging. This makes for an easy-reading experience.
The character of Jake is well developed but characters like the school colleagues seemed to vanish after a while. This meant that the ending wasn't entirely satisfactory. It didn't seem like a full story without the conclusion of the middle school story-line that seemed so important at the beginning.
Whether or not this was a deliberate decision to show the things that really matter, I don't know. However, I do feel that just one scene towards the end of the book, which featured Jake's school acquaintances, would have been beneficial to the overall story.
On the whole, however, this was a really good book which left me feeling fortunate and enriched.
You can find the book here.