Drama, Historical fiction, Young Adult/Children

And So We Dream by Linda Mahkovec

I usually read multiple books simultaneously. I, therefore, finish them in batches. I don’t end up reviewing them, just queuing them and getting to them at a later stage. Sometimes, based on my mood at the time of writing the review, I tend to like the process, and at other times not. In this instance, when I saw it was this book that I had pending, I felt a slight smile thinking of my reading of this. This reaction is not common for authors I have no prior experience with and even rarer for books with such an offbeat narrative.
I would refrain from calling this book quaint, but it veers quite close to how I would define a book in relation to that word. When the book begins, we have a man introducing his wife to a popular stage artist and mentioning how they knew each other as children. When they cross paths after the show, the latter remembers him and acknowledges him quite emotionally. The story then pans back to the summer, which forms the foundation of the entire narrative.
This was a refreshing book in all senses of the word. The narrator is Joey, as a young boy sent to live with friends as his parents sort out their differences. The tone I liked best in this was this preteen boy being friends with these girls, describing their beauty and energy without actually being creepy. He genuinely treats these girls as his sisters without any blood ties. It is very rare that I come across a book that is not childlike and refrains from complicating relationships between people of different genders at the forefront of the narrative.
The summer is set to bring changes to the lives of everyone present. We get to see some of the events from the eyes of the girls as well when Joey is not deemed old enough to be part of the conversation.
It is the summer of dreams being formed and personalities being shaped. Set in the 1970s, it felt quite realistic, and the people in town provided a very full cast of differing types of people making the story feel unique but also nostalgic. The slower pace of life described here made it easy for me to see the situation even as I have no way of actually knowing exactly what the experience would have been like, given the differences in the cultures that I am accustomed to.
This would work well as a young adult book, something I seldom think when reading an actual young-adult labelled book! I highly recommend this as a historical fiction coming-of-age story.
I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.


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