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Dreamrider Hardcover – February 12, 2008
From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up—Starting at a new school is always hard, but Michael Terny's size makes him a larger and easier target for bullies. His dad constantly pressures him to fight back, but the teen quails at the thought of physical confrontation. In dreams, however, he finds that he is the one in control, and begins to take revenge on his tormentors. Embracing his role as a self-proclaimed dispenser of justice, Michael tempers his vengeance by healing those in need. Ultimately, is he truly in control, or is he trapped between dreaming and waking? His older voice is at odds with the high school setting, and teens will feel as though the narrator is talking down to them. Though the fact that Michael's mother is dead creates some sympathy, the tenuous emotional connection deteriorates, as he stills seems too bland, even when breaking another student's fingers. An underdeveloped Australian setting nags at readers, gradually unraveling the cohesiveness of the plot. The Sixth Sense ending, asking readers to determine what was "all in your head" and what might be real, will leave readers frustrated, especially as the author is not generous with clues. Shooting for an introspective and suspenseful tale, Jonsberg instead creates a muddled Shyamalan imitation.—Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
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“Dreamrider is an eerie, absorbing novel which will have readers squirming. Astonishing.”–Aussiereviews.com
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Michael had hoped that Millways High School would be different, and it started promisingly enough, with his finding a friend in a girl named Leah on that very first day. However, he finds the same types of kids following him, promising the same problems he's tried to escape. What's more is that parts of his dreams seem to be leaving their mark on the real world. Is it possible that he might be able to influence the things that happen in real life through the power of his dreams? If that's the case, then it might be time for Michael to start fighting back, and not just in the ways his dad keeps telling him.
But one must wonder if Michael's perceptions are accurate. Even his allies may not be what they seem. How much of the dreamworld has crossed over?
This masterfully written book challenges the reader's preconceptions of reality--their own as well as that of those around them. Interesting and thought-provoking, it appeals to those who love seeking details, and finding where the puzzle pieces fit together. Some harsh language and violence, fitting for more mature readers.
Reviewed by: Allison Fraclose
I just found the ending very bland and it left me confused. Overall, not a book I would ever pick up again, or recommend.
There's more one more difference: Michael has discovered he can make things happen in real life with his dreams. He is powerful. He stands up for himself. And he can make anyone cower.
This was an easy read with the power of a car wreck. Once you see it, it is hard not to stop and gawk for awhile. Michael's tormentors are relentless. Teen that enjoy horror or the macabre will find something to enjoy here.