In Moore’s YA fantasy, dreams are just as legitimate as reality.
Precocious protagonist Eri Lane and her gay best friend, Malcolm, are impervious to the human need for sleep. They attend a high school for gifted children during the day. At night, via place-holding golems, they travel to a parallel reality they dub “Dream.” Their purpose there? To prevent the prospect of “Dream” and “Wake” from merging together. Sassy dialogue between 14-year-olds, disquiet about “gifted” high schools and gentrification, clever pop-culture references—i.e. Britney Spears’s shaved head, Robot Unicorn Attack, among others—and a didactic sensibility about how to abide with single and/or divorcing parents all qualify this work as young-adult fiction. For the most part, Moore provides wholesome content for her audience. Characters possess an enviable, charming self-righteousness. Narration moves swiftly. Dry humor—Eri “was becoming increasingly concerned with the size of her golem’s butt, and what it implied”—abounds. Moore’s Dream construct also extends beyond just a storyline: In one scene, Eri and her crush, Pete, discuss Carl Jung’s theory of “collective unconscious.” But the moral sure-footing that Moore creates becomes null by the end: The climax involves Eri and a chef’s knife on a school bus. (Moore mollifies the act, but its implications are dubious.) This plot twist may end up alienating most of Moore’s audience: The story’s setup seems apt for young readers, while the ending seems fit only for adults. Egregious spelling and syntax errors also damage the story’s impact. But concerned parents may feel less remiss about improperly hyphenated compound modifiers than they do about a teenage killer.
Fast-paced, humorous YA fiction with a problematic ending.