Dream a Little Dream

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This is actually a book I first read about three years ago, while I was in England for my three-month study abroad program. On one particular trip, I was bored while waiting for my train and ended up wandering into a bookshop. I bought this book because it looked interesting and I figured it would be cool to say I had gotten a book while in England, since buying a book seemed to have become a habit of mine whenever I went on a trip.

This book is by (I finally get to say) European author Sue Moorcroft. She has apparently written several books, but being American I wasn’t surprised that I wasn’t familiar with her.

Dream a Little Dream focuses on the relationship and the lives of Liza Reece and Dominic Christy, two thirty-somethings living in England and dealing with their problems. For Liza, its avoiding her ex-boyfriend and trying to save her job. For Dominic, it’s coping with his ex-girlfriend’s abortion and dealing with his diagnosis with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. When the two happen to meet, they find their lives changing in both good and bad ways.

Although the storyline is about people about a decade older than me, I found it fascinating to read about characters at that age. It was both interesting and a little comforting to see that people in their thirties don’t necessarily have their lives all together. Being barely 23, I’ve assumed several times that people who are in their thirties have an idea of what their life is going to be like at that point. I guess that’s not the case.

The one element of the story I was not used to was the fact that it took in place in England. I’ve read other stories where the characters travel to different places, but this book was probably the first I’ve read that takes place entirely in a different countdaldry. Since the author is European as well, I had to adapt to the use of the vernacular. For example, “carriageway” means the highway, and curb can be spelled “kerb.” Having spent weeks in England at that point though, it wasn’t too hard to decipher what the words meant.

I also enjoyed how Moorcroft made the characters very realistic and relatable. Dominic struggles to manage his sleep disorder, something that afflicts millions of people. He also tries to control the attraction he feels toward Liza, as there is sexual tension between the two. I did not expect it to develop as far as it did, but I found that realistic too. There’s also themes of getting over an ex and keeping up with your family member’s lives.

Overall, an excellent book to read about two very realistic adults in England. I guess it means the characters have accents to me, but I don’t think I read the book in a British accent. Or at least I don’t think I did the first time…

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The Wrong Side of Right

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Since moving to D.C. last year, I guess it’s not surprising that my interest in politically-themed material has grown a little bit. This novel, written by American author Jenn Marie Thorne, combines both politics and teenagers.

After the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Kate Quinn moved to South Carolina to live with her relatives and start at a new school. A year later, while finishing her junior year, she discovers that her father is a popular senator from Massachusetts, who is also running for president. Soon thrust into the spotlight, she finds herself becoming acquainted with the senator’s wife and younger half siblings and caught up in the whirlwind of a political campaign.

What made this novel more unique is the perspective it’s told from. There are other politically-oriented young adult novels, such as Meg Cabot’s All-American Girl, but this one is different. It’s told in first person narrative from a girl who is literally new to the whole political scene because of her relation to somebody in it. What I liked about Kate’s narrative is describing all the experiences she has while travelling all the country during the campaign. It made the story more realistic and made me realize just how much work goes into putting together a presidential bid. That and how so much work can affect a family life on a personal life.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, and even though the ending seemed a little predictable, I appreciate Thorne putting a spin on an otherwise popular theme. When you think about it, politics has to be one of the most popular themes for television shows and books. Behind law enforcement, that is.