Dream Life by Lauren Mechling
Claire Voyante's first semester at Henry Hudson High School was eventful, to say the least. As she heads into her second semester, things are calming down a bit. But Claire has a few secrets that are getting harder to keep. Her biggest secret of all? The onyx and ivory cameo necklace her grandmother gave her for her 15th birthday. Ever since she started wearing it, her dreams have been coming to her in black and white and turning out to be oddly prophetic.
Becca’s been hanging out with her old prep school friends and never seems to have time for Claire anymore. And soon, Claire discovers why—there’s a secret group of society girls with a mysterious identity. And, turns out, a mysterious enemy who’s out to get them. The second she sniffs out trouble, Claire jumps on the case. But is it someone close to Claire who’s in danger again—or could it be Claire herself whose life is at stake? (courtesy of Goodreads).
After enjoying Dream Girl, I eagerly picked up the sequel, Dream Life. I was not disappointed. Dream Life picks up exactly where Dream Girl left us. But the book has a slightly different feel. Dream Girl was nominally a mystery, but really more of an everyday journey through Claire's life, with strong character development and rich descriptions of New York City. Dream Life has more of a plot without losing any of the fun of getting to know Claire, her friends, and family and the wonders of New York.
Claire is feeling left out as Dream Life begins. Her best friend Becca is ignoring her and hanging out with friends from her old school. Claire's secret boyfriend, Andy, is avoiding her for reasons she can't understand. It turns out that Becca's cagey behavior stems from her new membership in a secret society. Things get better as Becca brings Claire into her world. The Blue Moons are a secret do-gooder society. But their secret and corresponding ability to help the citizens of New York are threatened by someone who is trying to expose them. It's up to Claire to discover and stop the person(s) before the world knows all about the Blue Moons.
The plot of Dream Life sounds, and really is, rather silly, but I loved it nonetheless. Claire is such a fun girl - sarcastic, daring, and smart. She has a lot of self-confidence but still has the same insecurities about her appearance as every teenage girl. I love her designer vintage clothes - thanks to her fashion-maven grandma. Kiki, the grandma, is a shining star of Dream Girl and Dream Life. Claire really relies on Kiki both for moral support, fun, and advice. She loves her parents, but Kiki is the one who understands her. We also see more of Claire's friends, Becca, Lewis, Ian, and Andy, along with some new characters. Each person in the story has a distinctive voice and three-dimensional character. They felt real.
Claire's visionary dreams are extremely well-done. Claire doesn't see the future. She see hints - clues and symbols. She has to carefully observe life to make the subtle connections between life and dreams. Lauren Mechling plays to the reader's intelligence with the dreams. She requires Claire, and by extension, me, to actually think. Every dream is a fascinating read, in its zany weirdness.
I highly recommend Dream Life. The only part of the book I disliked was the last page - no more Claire to enjoy. I can't wait for Mechling's next book.
Rating: 4 / 5