15 August 2011

DREAM SMASHERS by Angela Carlie

DREAM SMASHERS by Angela Carlie
YA - Paperback, 244 pages
Published March 2011 by DarkSide Publishing

Sixteen-year-old Autumn has spent her entire life worrying about others. Her ailing grandma, meth-addicted mom, and a best friend who is always in trouble. She's spent the last few years attempting to worry less, to be carefree, without success.

Enter Evan, whose radiant attitude is an Autumn magnet. With Evan at her side, Autumn's able to let some of her worries go as they trudge through life's difficulties and fall for each other in the process.

A girl who no longer wants to care and a boy who cares enough for the both of them, Dream Smashers is a love story, but most of all, it's about letting go.

When I received DREAM SMASHERS for review, it took me a few days to work up the nerve to start reading. (And I probably would’ve put it off longer if I didn’t have a mailing deadline.) The idea of reading about a girl with a mom addicted to meth stressed me out.

Autumn, the girl with meth-head mom, is sixteen and has spent her whole life dealing with more than anyone her age should. We meet her just as she decides to live a “carefree life” and is determined to forget about all of the bad and just have fun. However, she quickly learns that life doesn’t always listen to our plans.

When her best friend sets her up on what she expects to be an awful blind date, she meets Evan, a super nice boy from a perfect family with a hefty belief in a higher power. While a religious character isn’t usually an issue, this one sort of was… It wasn’t just a part of Evan and the reason he was so utterly blissful, it was a thing that was pushed onto Autumn as a way to relieve her from her burdens. She was initially creeped out by Evan’s dedication to his religion, and, as a reader, I was too.

The book is mostly told from Autumn’s point of view, but does shift to Jacinda (the mom) and Evan (the boy) occasionally. While Jacinda’s chapters try to give a glimpse of what things are like from her end, in what seems like an attempt at gaining her some sympathy, I was left feeling sort of insulted by them. The story was Autumn’s and there is no arguing her mom made her life extra hard, so I didn’t WANT to spend time feeling bad for her mom, instead. Evan’s chapters, on the other hand, attempt to give dimension to a character that is otherwise, pretty one dimensional. He’s nice. He’s religious. He does volunteer work. He likes Autumn. But, come on! He’s a TEEN BOY. What ELSE does he do? All that said, I liked Autumn enough to read through the POVs of the other two characters in a rush to get back to her.

DREAM SMASHERS depicts how one bad thing (meth) can go on to touch the lives of an entire town. The story is Autumn’s attempt at escaping the things she’s been weighed down by for her entire life. She’s thoughtful and determined, and she just may be strong enough to make it happen.

If you decide to read it, be sure to have a light-hearted book or a Gilmore Girls marathon ready to go when you finish.

Big thanks to Savannah at Books With Bite for including me in the book tour!

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