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DREAMRIDER by Barry Jonsberg


by Barry Jonsberg

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84457-7
Publisher: Knopf

From the first line—“I killed two kids at school today”—to the closing Messianic reference, this follows Michael through one week in the tortured and bullied life of a fat kid in his seventh new school. Michael’s only refuge is his ability to have “lucid dreams,” which allow him to control his painful reality. His life is not without kindness from a well-meaning but dithering stepmother; a plump, sympathetic classmate; a wise teacher; an administrator. The latter two are powerless to help Michael who understandably resists accusing his assailants. But after years of physical and emotional abuse, Michael’s “dreamriding” is perverted from acts of kindness to violent acts of retribution. It emerges that Michael himself is an unreliable narrator, that nothing and no one is as it seems, that the story can be read and interpreted on many levels. Undeniably compelling but darkly disturbing and ultimately deeply perplexing. (author’s note) (Fiction. YA)