November 18, 2011


by Nicole Luiken
Great Plains Teen Fiction (imprint of Great Plains Publications)
227 pp.
Ages 12+

Being different, whether it be in books or in the “real” world, is not always appreciated.  Lissa Foster who can cross the dreamline into the dream world anytime has had to deal with her “difference", learning to accept being friendless, to keeping what she learns to herself and to fighting the formless shadows called wulfdraigles that prey on people’s fears and twist dreams into nightmares.   And now the wulfdraigles seem to be scheming something big for her town of Grantmere.

However, being a pariah in high school becomes more difficult after a new (very cute!) boy, Mitch Kincaid, and his wealthy, former software-developer, now motivational speaker, dad arrive in town.  First, Lissa realizes that Mitch is like her, a dream-come-true and one who can cross the dreamline (although he really doesn’t know it, believing he’s crazy instead).  Secondly, because of her reclusiveness, Lissa’s parents are forcing her to attend the charismatic Mr. Kincaid’s program, “Building Confidence, Building Dreams."  There she learns that Mr. Kincaid is a conduit, a human who acts as the wulfdraigles’ agent in the real world (in exchange for something he wished).

The network of intersecting plotlines (Mitch learning about his dreamline ability; Lissa trying to determine the wulfdraigles’ plan; Mr. Kincaid’s relationship with his son; Lissa’s encounters with the wulfdraigles; etc.) made for a thrilling read.  Knowing that the ending to the story would be complicated and worrying that it would not be satisfying (i.e., not happy), I was thrilled at how Luiken effortlessly plaited the storylines, while leaving the reader breathless through the final scenes.

Irrespective of the fantastical elements of this thriller, Lissa is a wholly empathetic character, enduring ridicule from her peers and adults’ misinterpretations.  But she carries on, finding the means to brave all agonies, physical, emotional and supernatural, even conceding to the rare pleasure of closeness. 

With such strong writing, both content and craft, evident in Dreamline, I look forward (or is it backward?) to reading Nicole Luiken’s Dreamfire (Great Plains, 2009), the prequel to Dreamline

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