Dream a Little Dream

Liv is used to strange and new things. For all of her life, she has bounced from city to city as she moved from one place to another. This time she and her sister, Mia, are packing up their belongings for England because their mother has garnered a teaching position at Oxford University. Little does she know that this move will be the strangest yet.

Liv finds herself thrust into a world of gossipy blogs, a rich new family, and vivid dreams that make her question her reality. She soon finds herself entangled in bizarre dreams in which she is led to the most popular boys in school, one of which is her new “brother.”  Before she can even adjust to her new life, she is swept away into deals with a demon to free the boys from a terrible fate. Liv’s curious mind drives her closer to the heart of the mystery of the dreams as she searches for the truth underneath all of the madness.

Dream a Little Dream is an entertaining and suspenseful novel that leaves readers on the edge of their seats as they wonder what will happen next. Many of the characters are introduced at the same time, which causes confusion.  However, the story has a creative and engaging premise that is very enjoyable. The reader is able to discover this new world along with Liv and relate to her confusion, fear, and curiosity. The book has a surprising plot twist that adds to the enjoyment of the novel, but what follows that event leaves much to be desired. The attempt to leave room for a sequel ruins the ending and causes the reader to be confused rather than curious about the next installment in the series. Additionally, the novel describes how characters conduct rituals to make deals with a demon, which may be concerning to some parents.

Sexual Content

  • Liv’s mom has a relationship with an English lawyer, who makes her happy. They are described as kissing a few times, but nothing more than that.
  • Florence is described as having, “voluptuous breasts.”
  • The school blog wrote about sports and said, “Aesthetically speaking, those sloppy shirts they wear are the worst (even polo kit has more sex appeal), but all the same I don’t object to the sweaty sight of our four musketeers.”
  • In one of the “dreams”, Henry and Liv hold hands. They also discuss kissing, but only briefly.
  • In reference to Jasper’s dreams, “Most of the people in his dreams are stark naked.”
  • Liv’s mom talks about how when she was fifteen, she “was sitting up at night writing poetry. I was unhappily in love. . . At that age you fall in love with someone else every three weeks.”
  • Liv tells Anabel that she looks like Botticelli’s Venus, to which she responds, “Yes, but only when I’m standing around in a seashell with no clothes on.”
  • Anabel says that Arthur is the great love of her life and that, “it was like a tsunami rolling over us. I knew we were meant for each other, I knew he was the man I’d been waiting for all my life.”
  • Mia and Liv jokingly say that they have an “Operation Marrying Off Lottie” in which they will find their au pair a soulmate so she’ll have something to do when they don’t need her anymore.
  • Grayson and his girlfriend Emily kiss at a party intensely to the point which Liv thinks that it is, “kind of embarrassing to watch.”
  • Liv and her friends walk into a cinema and find a couple in the top row of seats in the dark. The man “began frantically adjusting his clothes . . . he came storming down the steps, his shirt still unbuttoned.” When the woman comes down, Arthur says, “How nice to see you again, Mrs. Kelly . . . and give your husband my regards if he happens to be at the party too.”
  • The four boys repeatedly ask Liv if she is a virgin. It is later revealed that she is.
  • Anabel breaks the rules of the game by having sex. She then has to forfeit and her dog is killed by the demon. It is later revealed that she killed her own dog with poison in order to trick the boys.
  • In the dream world, Henry and Liv kiss several times. They are not described in detail, but are usually described as “soft kisses.”
  • A gossipy girl talks about Arthur and says, “I get goosebumps whenever I set eyes on him. But Henry Harper is totally sweet too. And sexy.”
  • Henry and Liv make out during her sixteenth birthday party. “For a few seconds I forgot to breathe, then I felt my arms rising and going around his neck of their own accord to draw him closer. We weren’t kissing cautiously now, but much more intensely.” They all so make out during a school dance. “I’ve no idea how he did it, but when he kissed me nothing else mattered.”

Violence

  • When Liv went to a middle school in Berkeley, California, a girl gang, “had threatened to force my head into a toilet.” They later actually do shove her head into a toilet and it is described in detail in one of Liv’s dreams. These bullies also say that they squash people’s hands in doors.
  • In a dream, Henry sees his old cat. “He looked just the way he was when I last saw him: all-over blood and with his guts coming out . . .”
  • In one of her first vivid dreams, Liv repeatedly hopes that Lottie won’t show up with a hatchet.
  • In a nightmare, there is a group of enraged basketball fans. Liv says, “It sounds like they are going to kill him any moment now!” The mob begins to chant, “Burn him now, burn the traitor. Burn him now, not a day later!”
  • Liv jokingly remarks about London and says, “Street gangs indulging in shoot-outs the whole time, sex fiends lurking in front gardens, and isn’t that Jack the Ripper just coming around the corner.”
  • During a ritual, Liv, Grayson, Arthur, Jasper, and Henry all take turns cutting their hand with a hunting knife and dribbling their blood into a Chalice full of red wine. This scene is described in detail over several pages.
  • Liv has many dreams about Hamlet after she sees the play, and in these dreams, there are references to the stabbings and deaths of many of the Shakespearean characters.
  • During her sixteenth birthday party, Liv requests that Mia stop her from looking like a “lovelorn sheep” in any way that she can. Mia decides to distract her anytime she looks at Henry in that manner. “I was black and blue around the ribs and had been hit by assorted flying objects: several chestnuts, a spoon, and a blueberry muffin.”
  • Arthur intends on offering Anabel as a human sacrifice in the dream world in order to satisfy the demon. This never happens, but later in the novel, Anabel captures Liv with the intention of killing her as a virginal sacrifice to the demon.
  • When Liv tries to stop what she thinks is the sacrifice of Anabel, she “swung up my right foot and caught him just under the chin as I jumped. Still in the air, I turned at an angle of 280 degrees, and when I landed, my left forearm caught him in the stomach.”
  • An iron torch holder falls on Liv and she blacks out. Following the incident, she has to get several stitches.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • At the airport, Liv is stopped for suspicion of drug smuggling because a drug dog smells something in her backpack. It is just German cheese with a strong odor, but the ordeal causes Liv a lot of embarrassment.
  • On several occasions, Jasper helps himself to some of his mother’s sleeping pills in order to remain in the dream world longer.
  • Liv’s mom is accused of smoking pot when she was fifteen, but she defends herself by saying, “Nonsense. I never smoked pot until I went to college.”
  • Grayson tries to deter Liv from going to a party by telling her mother, “These parties are rather wild. I mean there’s a lot of alcohol flowing, and what with Liv being only fifteen.”
  • Liv describes Arthur’s house as looking like “a private clinic for the drug-addicted kids of millionaires.”
  • Jasper makes drinks that contain large amounts of alcohol during an important scene that lasts several pages. He is also later described as “tipsy.”
  • During a party, Arthur drinks gin straight from a bottle.
  • The British teens that Liv meets tell stories of when they were drunk on Halloween.
  • In one of Anabel’s dreams, Arthur walks toward her heroically while carrying a bottle of wine.
  • A drunk truck driver killed one of Anabel’s ex-boyfriends. The accident is not described.
  • At the school dance, Jasper “had somehow managed to get tipsy, although there were no alcoholic drinks.”
  • Anabel and Arthur leave the school dance under the guise that she is terribly drunk. They are actually setting a trap to lure Liv, so Anabel can kill her for the virginal sacrifice.
  • At the conclusion of the novel, Anabel is “lying in a hospital bed in Surrey, stuffed full of mind bending drugs and tied down.”

Language

  • Profanity is used frequently throughout the novel, including hell, bloody hell, shit, and damn.
  • “God,” “my God,” “thank God,” and “oh my God” are used frequently as swear words.
  • Grayson is described as a “stupid show-off” and later as an “idiot.”
  • Mia thinks that her aunts named Gertrude and Virginia have “shitty names.”
  • Liv strongly dislikes Persephone and says that she, “follows me around everywhere, talking to me the whole darn time!”
  • A character is called a “midget.”

 

Supernatural

  • During a ritual, Liv, Grayson, Arthur, Jasper, and Henry all take turns cutting their hand with a hunting knife and dribbling their blood into a Chalice full of red wine. This scene is described in detail over several pages.
  • Liv does not believe in “unlucky numbers any more than I believed in horoscopes, or four leaf clovers and chimney sweeps that brought you luck.”
  • The main characters of the novel conjure a demon and in return for freeing him, have immeasurable power and their dearest wish granted. “If you followed the rituals in this book, Anabel claimed, you could conjure up an ancient demon from the underworld, a demon that could help you gain immeasurable power and grant your dearest wishes.” Their immeasurable power is in the form of dreams in which they can control what happens with a simple thought and enter the dreams of others to learn their deepest secrets and desires.
  • The initial approach to conjuring the demon was not serious. “Conjuring up a demon on Halloween . . . It was fun . . . it seemed to me as harmless as telling your fortune by reading tea leaves. No one expects the tea leaves to develop an independent life of their own and come tormenting you in your dreams by night. Or go about murdering dogs.”
  • When Liv wakes up from a horrific nightmare, her family comes running to make sure that she is okay. Florence asks her, “Did you see a ghost?”

Spiritual Content

  • To upset Florence, Liv makes sarcastic suggestions as to the horrible things that she and her family might be. She says they are, “hopelessly disorganized, or a kleptomaniac, a Republican, a Jehovah’s witness, or anything.”
  • The demon that the group conjures is the “Lord of Shadows and Darkness.” Anabel believes that he is all-powerful and dedicates herself to him like a god. This devotion stems from a time period in her youth when she and her mother were a part of a satanic cult.

          by Morgan Filgas

 

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