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“Well, sometimes change can be exciting. An adventure. Sometimes you can find out who you are,” Boots. –Dream Within A Dream      

Dream Within a Dream

by Patricia MacLachlan

At A Glance
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While her parents are off bird-watching, Louisa and her brother spend time with their grandparents, Jake and Boots. Louisa isn’t looking forward to spending the summer with her grandparents. Louisa dreams of traveling with her globe-trotting parents, whereas her brother would like to find a way to stay on Deer Island forever.

While staying with her grandparents, Louisa worries about her grandfather Jake, whose eyesight is failing. Jake has always driven Boots around, and he loves his car. And Jake’s worsening eyesight isn’t the only that that is changing. This year, twelve-year-old Louisa’s summer takes an unexpected turn when she is introduced to George. Can Louisa find a way to embrace the changes that come with growing up?

George pushes Louisa to move out of her comfort zone, allowing her to see herself in a new light and finally realize that she is beautiful. Louisa and George are friends from the start and soon must navigate growing feelings for each other. George and Louisa go on a “date,” they kiss, and they decide they are in love with each other within a short period of time. The romance is sweet, and the author hints that George and Louisa’s love will last a lifetime.

Most of the story is told through the character’s dialogue, which takes place in short phrases. The majority of the paragraphs are one to two sentences. The dialogue, short paragraphs, and simple vocabulary make the story easy to read. However, Dream Within a Dream will appeal to adults more than children because it revolves around relationships and contains little action. The story portrays healthy, long-term relationships and shows the importance of helping each other.

Louisa is a very likable character who is kind to others. With George’s help, Louisa interviews people in their community and writes poetry about each person she meets. Since the story is so short, readers may have a difficult time keeping track of the many characters. Dream Within a Dream shows the importance of embracing change. Even though Dream Within a Dream has many positive aspects, only readers who enjoy realistic fiction that focuses on relationships should pick up the book. Readers who are eager for action, adventure, or fantasy will find the story difficult to enjoy.

Sexual Content

  • Louisa’s grandfather comes into the room and, “he puts his arms around [his wife] and kisses her for a long, long time. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a long kiss.”
  • George says that his parents kiss often. Louisa says her parents “don’t kiss in front of us.” Louisa’s brother jumps into the conversation and says, “My friend Joey says my parents have kissed two times—once for Louisa and once for me.”
  • Louisa’s brother sees George’s parents and says, “They’re kissing now.”
  • Louisa is swimming when she gets a cramp in her leg. George jumps in the water to help her. “And then George kisses me. . . Our bodies are as close as friends can be. And to make him feel better, I kiss him back. And we begin to laugh, our lips together, like Jake and Boots laughing when they kiss.”
  • Louisa’s grandmother tells her, “Jake and I were in the sixth grade when we kissed each other for the first time.”
  • During a storm, Louisa kisses George “too fast for Boots and Jake to see.”


  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • None


  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None



Other books by Patricia MacLachlan
Other books you may enjoy

“Well, sometimes change can be exciting. An adventure. Sometimes you can find out who you are,” Boots. –Dream Within A Dream      

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