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REVIEW: Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

Any Shakespeare fans out there? Then, this book is for you! I’m not the biggest Shakespeare fan. Probably because his works were forced upon me in high school and now in college. But because of Dreamers Often Lie, I think it might’ve turned me into a fan.

Any Shakespeare fans out there? Then, this book is for you! I’m not the biggest Shakespeare fan. Probably because his works were forced upon me in high school and now in college. But because of Dreamers Often Lie, I think it might’ve turned me into a fan.

The Blurb:

Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, her doctors. She’s fine, she says. She’s fine. If anyone knew the truth—that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters have followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls—it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he’s 100 percent real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself.

Troubled by this magnetic boy, a long-lost friend turned recent love interest, and the darkest parts of her family’s past, Jaye’s life tangles with Shakespeare’s most famous plays until she can’t tell where the truth ends and pretending begins. Soon, secret meetings and dizzying first kisses give way to more dangerous things. How much is real, how much is in Jaye’s head, and how much does it matter as she flies toward a fate over which she seems to have no control?

Dreamers Often Lie is a trippy YA romance that will have you thinking about it days after you’ve finished reading. Or the ending at least. It starts off with Jaye, the main character, who gets into a skiing accident and gets a bad head injury that leaves her seeing and interacting with Shakespeare and his characters like Hamlet. These hallucinations leave her questioning her relationships, her family, her past, present and future.

Heroine: Jaye is a theater nerd, which was something I loved about her. I loved that she had a passion, something that she’d give up sleep for. Every time she talked about acting and theater—the reader could feel the love and the dedication flowing out of her. And, she also had a rebellious streak to her and she didn’t care about sticking out and being unique. Even when her parents told her be normal and conform, she didn’t. I found her very relatable and well-rounded. A few times she did annoy me because she kept making stupid mistakes and not learning from them, but I give her a pass.

Love interests: There’s a slight love triangle between her Pierce, a childhood friend and the new transfer student Rob aka Romeo. I personally didn’t like Pierce. He was a bit too controlling for my taste, but I loved Rob! His dialogue was witty and cool and the chemistry between him and Jaye was so amazing that I could feel the sparks.

High Points: Writing and Romance

Writing: One of my favorite thing about this book was the writing. It was superb. Everything was written so simply yet each sentence mattered. No words were wasted. The transition between scenes happened so elegantly it was almost like watching a play or movie.

The Romance: I know some people hate love triangles, but I really don’t mind them if they’re done well, which this one was. Each guy had an equal opportunity to get the girl, but I was cheering for Rob all the way. He was so cool! I loved his personality—he’s laid-back, funny, sweet, a great listener, and he had this mysterious edge to him that made him so adorable. The dialogue exchange between him and Jaye felt so natural like they were destined to be together.

Where Rob felt natural, Pierce and Jaye had history. They were best friends growing up and so were their families. And he’s the hottest boy in school and all the girls want him. He’s cute, athletic and rich. He also deeply cares for Jaye and he’s there when she needs him.

So, Jaye could’ve picked either one, and it would’ve made sense. Since I don’t want to spoil it, I won’t tell you who she chose.

Low Points: Unanswered Questions

Unanswered Questions: With this being a romance, I also considered this book to be a thriller in my opinion. After Jaye gets out of the hospital, we learn more about her past. Her father died in a bad car accident, and we learn that he always treated Jaye horribly because she was different. As I was reading, it seemed like the author was trying to hint that Jaye’s father’s car accident wasn’t an accident and maybe Pierce and his father, who were also in the car and survived the accident, might not be telling everyone the full story.

Also, every time Jaye would say something bad about her father, her mother and sister made it seem like she was nuts. That she was making up lies and that in reality her father was this fabulous, perfect individual. With Jaye hallucinating and not remembering things from her past, it’s starting to seem like she’s an unreliable narrator. That’s what kept me reading. Did Pierce and his father try to murder Jaye’s father?? Was Jaye’s father really mean to her? Or did she imagine it all? Is she crazy?

None of these questions were answered, which bothered me, but didn’t shock me because of how the book ended. In regards to the ending…Oh this ending….umm yeah…this ending….Ugh!

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I read the ending—didn’t get it. I read it again—didn’t get it. I READ IT AGAIN—didn’t get it. It felt so cryptic and ambiguous that I second-guessed everything I just read. After reading it three times, I tried to put the book away and forget about it, but I couldn’t. It lingered and ate at my mind because I fell in love with these characters and I needed to know what happened to them.

So, I went onto Goodreads, trying to see if anyone else felt the same way. Lots of people didn’t get the ending, and I searched through the reviews trying to see if anyone actually explained the ending. Only like three people interpreted the ending and all their answers were different, and none of them felt concrete enough to be right. Again, I still wasn’t satisfied. I almost contacted the author to get an answer, but I checked her Facebook first to see if anyone asked about the ending. They did, and she answered them. Before I read her response I was like:

yaydddd

From reading her response, I concluded that on purpose, she created this ambiguous ending, wanting the reader to end the book how they wanted it to end or for the reader to come to their own conclusion. She does explain three possible endings: the good, the bad and other. All the endings made sense, but I ended up choosing the good ending.

Dreamers Often Lie is a real gem that hooks the reader in and makes them second guess everything. The characters were unique and realistic, and the romance was really sweet. The ending did get me a bit frustrated because I didn’t quite understand it, but I like books that challenge me and make me feel different things. The book was very trippy and the hallucinations were hilarious sometimes. For example, one of my favorite parts was when Jaye spotted Hamlet and Ophelia making out in the backseat of the car while trying to have a serious conversation with Pierce. Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend! 🙂

Still not sure? Read the first ten pages here!

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Anisaa

Anisaa Book Reviewer

“A shelf without books is a lonely soul.” I’m a twenty-something writer and book nerd who enjoys entertaining and being entertained by words.