Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling
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.
But that all changes on Claire’s 15th birthday, when her grandmother 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.
I started Dream Girl expecting a paranormal romance but got something entirely different. Dream Girl is basically a contemporary realistic fiction with a hint of detective sleuthing and psychic visions. It's about 15 year old Claire Voyante (she does realize the irony of her name) who is growing up in New York City, adjusting to a new school, making new friends, dealing with her crazy lovable parents, brother, and grandmother Kiki. Claire has extremely vivid dreams which turn out to be something more; they predict the future.
Claire is a pretty typical teenage girl. Smart, quiet, kind, sarcastic, a bit unsure of herself. Her one unique quality are her dreams. They've always been strange and vivid, but on her 15th birthday her grandmother Kiki gives her an old cameo necklace that enhances her innate ability to see the future in her dreams.
Claire begins a new school when her parents can no longer afford her private school. Unfortunately for her, Sheila, her former best friend, is part of the ruling clan and strives to make Claire's adjustment to Hudson as unpleasant as possible. Claire isn't the type to immediately fight back but neither does she just stick her head in the sand. Her closest friend is the eccentric Becca Shuffleworth, who is a ketchup heiress and unbelievably wealthy. Becca and Claire become very close very quickly. That's where the mystery comes in... Becca's been getting strange text messages and someone from the rival Soyle clan is desperately seeking the secret ketchup recipe. They'll stop at nothing to get it - even death. Can Claire piece together her dreams to stop the Soyles from hurting her new friend and her family?
The mystery and paranormal elements of the book really don't become significant until the end of the story. And that was just fine. I typically get frustrated and annoyed when books fail to get to the point until halfway through. But I was having such a good time reading Claire's story that the mystery was just the icing on the cake. Claire's wry humor kept me smiling throughout the pages. I loved her interactions with Kiki, her parents and brother, Becca, and Becca's family. I especially enjoyed the detailed descriptions of New York City. The city is one of the biggest characters in the story. It makes me want to visit even more than I did before.
Dream Girl is a fun, fast-paced read. I'd recommend it to anyone. As long as you're not expecting a strong paranormal or mystery plot, you'll have a great time living in Claire's world.
Rating: 4 / 5