Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling

Big thanks to Mary Rowe (The Library Queen) for writing the following review!

Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling

Some mysteries are much like a roller coaster; you get in and hang on while you are taken for a dangerous ride. You are thrown up-side down as you speed along in the dark and are totally terrified before you come to the end of the track. This mystery is not at all like that at all.

Dream Girl is more like a stroll with Robin Leach through the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Along the way pieces of the mystery become known at a leisurely pace. In-between the clues you are entertained by an introduction to lavish living with fascinating and eccentric characters. The mystery is slowly revealed to the heroine and the reader at the same time.

Claire has always thought her dreams were strange, but when her grandmother gives her a cameo necklace her dreams begin to change. As she pays attention to the dreams , they seem to lead only to embarrassment as her sleuthing uncovers nothing. Just as she is about to give up on following the leads in her dreams, Claire's grandmother gives her a few suggestions that help her have more confidence.

The characters in Dream Girl are a lively mix of likeable individuals, dramatic eccentrics and a few unpolished gems. For the most part the characters are fully developed and the relationships ring true.

Kiki, Claire's grandmother is very sophisticated. She lavishes money and clothes on her granddaughter but also seems to honestly enjoy spending time with Claire. Becca Shutterworth's character seems to be revealed gradually almost like a butterfly unfolding its wings for the first time. The reader gets glimpses of Becca that create uncertainty about her personality. When she is finally emerges I felt as if she had become my friend as well as Claire's.

Some characters lacked depth and don't seem to add much to the story line but hinted at having more important roles in possible sequels. Claire's parents (Mom's a writer and dad is a French professor) and their eccentric friends add color to the story but not much else. I wondered if Douglas (college professor friend of Claire's dad) was going to become a stronger character in the plot but all he does if have dinner with Claire and Becca and disappear from the book. In some ways the extra scenes like this added to the mystery because I found myself wondering if this was going to be important incident in the story just like Claire wondered if her dreams were significant.

Becca's brother Andy has a girlfriend named Rye. Rye seems to lack the most development. Readers just don't get enough information about her to make her more than a "stick figure" walking among the more central fleshed out characters. The catty schoolgirls aka "the beatles" didn't gain much affection from me or from Claire and Becca. They seemed to be placed in the story only to detract attention from the real mystery surrounding the Shutterworth family. I found myself wishing they had been given more personality. When they get their "just rewards" from Claire and her friends I felt sorry to see the friends behave unkindly and Claire seemed to have regretted it also.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and while I would not classify it as one of my favorites I did find the time reading Dream Girl enjoyable. I enjoyed the fashion name dropping along with the peek behind the dressing room doors of stores, which unfortunately, will never be graced with my real presence. (I never knew some customers were treated with finger sandwiches and other delicacies while shopping.)

Dream Girl was more of an intriguing situation than a fast paced mystery. But the stroll was lovely.

What Other Bloggers Are Saying:

Liv's Book Reviews:
"The writing in Dream Girl might not have been all that wonderful or captivating but the whole mystery of the story and the fun romance between Claire and Andy kept it all moving and left me satisfied. I would recommend Dream Girl as a nice light read along the lines of The Gallagher Girls and The Queen Geek Books..." (read more...)

The Book Muncher:
"Dream Girl was definitely a satisfying and thrilling read that I recommend to all readers. Fans of stories with high style, high school, and high mystery will enjoy this novel." (read more...)

YA Book Realm: "It’s a great book to pick up if your looking for action, mystery, and just a touch of romance." (read more...)

Harmony Book Reviews: "The plot of Dream Girl involves so many things that it’s hard to believe it all fits in between the few hundred pages it does. Lauren Mechling has a way with words and she makes that happen, keeping the plot fast-paced and never bogging the read down with details." (read more...)

Abby (the) Librarian:
"I would hand this one to middle-school mystery fans who like a splash of the paranormal." (read more...)

In Bed With Books: "I enjoyed DREAM GIRL, but the A-plot doesn’t hold up to any of the subplots. The paranormal element feels extraneous and didn’t seem to add much to the book as a whole. I believe I prefer the 10th-Grade Social Climber books, which Lauren Mechling coauthored." (read more...)

More Info:
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735216
  • Source: Review copy from publisher

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