Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling (July 22nd 2008—Delacorte)
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Summary: “CLAIRE VOYANTE HAS been having strange visions ever since she can remember. But the similarity between her name and her talents is purely coincidental. The name is French, and unlike the psychics on TV, she can’t solve crimes or talk to the dead. Whenever Claire follows her hunches, she comes up empty—or ends up in pretty awkward situations.
But that all changes on Claire’s 15th birthday, when her grandmother, Kiki—former socialite, fashion icon, and permanent fixture at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel—gives her something a little more extraordinary than one of her old cocktail dresses: a strange black-and-white onyx cameo on a gold chain. It’s not long before Claire’s world becomes a whole lot clearer. And a whole lot more dangerous.”
Review: Dream Life is a charming read that combines the best of both worlds: Nancy Drew and Gossip Girls. Okay so I ran out of analogies. At any rate Dream Life is a mesh of high socialite without all the snarky backstabbing and a mystery that has the decency to don on a gorgeous yet sensible pair of boots before running around New York.
One of the best things I found refreshing from Dream Life was the family relationship. I was pleasantly surprised how much effect Mechling put in to the mother, the father, and the little brother. A majority of books I’ve read have yet to include any mentions of neither siblings nor parents and if they had, it was not to par to his family. Each member is as whimsical as Claire and as every bit as lovable.
Mechling does a wonderful job at foreshadowing as well as not foreshadowing. See the readers go on this roller coaster of random dreams with Claire. So if she’s lost, we’re also pretty much lost. And by that, I mean we get off topic. While I do appreciate the attempt at making things realistic in an otherwise fantasy-like genre it seems as though the story strays from the plot at various moments only to center itself once again like a speeding bullet. Ouch. It is towards the end does much make sense, but by then I had forgotten the dreams and clues all the way from the beginning. That said, it might be me; I mean I’m pretty forgetful and dense rolled into one.
The other main issue would have to be the friendship between Becca and Claire. I had a really hard time accepting this friendship as just that. It seemed more of a follower and leader rather then each of equal footing. Claire is constantly looking up to Becca sometimes letting a bit of her sense be clouded and reducing her to a puppy state of nature aiming to please the master. But then again I began to warm up to the duo and found it a nice partnership. Oh! Just a small little shout-out to Ian for his kick-butt evil radish comic. I can only imagine how awesome it would be if a comic book artist drew a small section of it and somehow manage to weave it in the book.
Overall: Dream Life needed a bit of kick start, but once it started moving it was a wholesome enjoyable read.
I’m sorry but I really do not like this cover. The ceramic doll makeup and poor choice of a hairstyle does not do the model justice to an otherwise hardly fair resemblance to Claire. I also don’t get the flowers, but again me=dense.
FTC: a copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for this review