Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{March 24, 2012}   {ARC Review} Life is But a Dream by Brian James

From Goodreads: Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it’s the world that’s crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she’ll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences.


This was a very interesting look at the life of a teenage girl struggling with schizophrenia, trying to deal with the real world and its problems while finding her center at the same time.  James does a great job fleshing out the characters, especially that of Sabrina, as she deals with her past and present life.  The multiple flashbacks were a great way to help solidify Sabrina’s previous life for the reader, showing us the intricate workings of her mind as we watch Sabrina begin to deteriorate in the present.  It was very intriguing to see her grapple with herself—with what she knows to be true, what she believes to be true, and what she is unsure of—while also trying to make everyone around her understand the world from her perspective.  I really liked Sabrina, although I spent a lot of time cringing at the decisions she makes once she meets Alec.  Although I didn’t see Alec as being a malignant force on purpose, his presence does set Sabrina back a bit on her road to recovery, as it were, and I found myself hurting alongside Sabrina as I read the novel. 

This isn’t one of those sweet romance novels that leaves the reader feeling extremely happy and cheerful; it’s not a fairy tale ending by any means, but it is a nice little love story with a feasible ending that gives the reader hope.  Overall, I enjoyed the story, though I wouldn’t recommend it for a light read.  It deals with some heavy topics, in my opinion, but James did a great job with his characterization and prose, drawing the reader into the story, and I definitely think it’s worth the read.  Three stars.

MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 27th.


deadtossedwaves says:

I love the sound of this one. Since life isn’t a fairy tale, I don’t always expect the novels to be. A real and refreshing read is great! Which is exactly what this sounds like. Looking forward to it.

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