Customer Reviews for

Dream Smashers

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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5 Star

(7)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful debut novel!

    This was an incredibly powerful read. I haven't read a lot of books that went as into depth with families dealing with drug addiction.

    Autumn's mother left her with her grandparents when she was young. In her 16 years these are the only parents she has ever know. Jacinda, her biological mother, is someone who just comes around from time to time causing trouble and breaking her Grams heart. I was immediately entranced in the story and the life of this 16 year old who has nothing, but a life full of worries. She has had far more horrible things happen in her life than anyone deserves in a lifetime, let alone her short 16 years. She tries so hard to turn her life around and be optimistic, but bad things keep happening. Finally, she meets Evan. A church going good boy that puts some light into her life. And, after a while, hope. He is the kind of person that sticks with her through the good and the bad which is something that Autumn isn't necessarily used to. He opens her up to a new way of thinking which she so desperately needs.

    I felt so much pain for Autumn. It was hard not to hurt for her. The life of pain and sorrow she was living was the only one she had ever known. She was so beautifully written as were all the characters. Each one of them having a direct effect on her life and making her the person that she is.

    I also like the way the author used different view points to tell the story. Primarily we see things through the eyes of Autumn, but we also get to see glimpes of the story through Jacinda (her biological mother) and Evans point of view. It was really interesting to see the story through Jacinda's eyes. She is filled with so much anger and blames everyone else for her actions and her addiction.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It was a very emotional ride, but in a good way. This is a fantastic debut novel! I look forward to more of her books in the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    Wonderful and touching novel

    I thought this was a wonderful contemporary YA novel. It deals with several difficult subjects - drug addiction, faith, death - in a eloquent manner. The main character really struck a chord with me as well as the setting - this book takes place close to where I live. Not to sound silly, but the author's descriptions of Pacific Northwest weather are some of the best I've read. It's not a lighthearted read, but there are plenty of funny, real moments - especially between Autumn and Rainy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing No Holds Barred Read

    Dream Smashers was a very difficult read for me. Not because I didn't understand or like it but because it deals with some very tough topics in a very bold, real way. At times elegant, at times thoroughly visceral, the story dives right into meth addiction from the point of view of the addict as well as those around them including family.

    The narrator is Autumn whose mother is as toxic as they come, addicted to meth and angry about her past choices and mistakes. Autumn's voice is snarky and funny and very intelligent in spite of her sometimes poor grammar and foul language. With a mother who constantly invades her life and turns it upside down, it's no wonder Autumn's viewpoint is so raw with emotion and frustration and hopelessness. Enter Evan, who appears to be the epitome of light and goodness who comes armed with words of truth and hope and with an easy, sometimes cheesy manner. The two are so well written together that everything else in the plot seems to fall away in the moments when they are together. The romance is gentle and sweet and I enjoyed every second of it.

    The other characters are equally well-written and layered. Every one seems to go on a transforming journey through the story, from the supposed drug pushing popular girl to the rough, trouble-magnet best friend. I was so impressed with how each character had their own personal story which we were treated to at least partially through the events of the story as well as layers which were peeled back slowly in response to the central metamorphosis of Autumn's life because of her interactions with Evan.

    Parts of this book were so uplifting that it was a joy to read. The scenes of hope and love were just as well-crafted as those that were dark and angry with drugs and alcohol and their aftermaths. Ms. Carlie is a wordsmith (she discovered myriad new and fascinating ways for Jacinda to drop the f-bomb) and her writing transported me from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, sometimes within seconds. I felt what Autumn felt, lived her life for the entire journey of the book. This is truly an amazing coming of age story with an element of faith that I had not expected to find.

    I especially appreciated the building up and toppling down of a false beacon of hope for Autumn. Watching her realize that she has a more lasting and real source of hope in Evan and what he brings to her through his faith was one of the best parts of this story.

    I could probably extol the merit of this work of art for hours. It reminded me of the brilliant way in which Lauren Myracle wove the story in Shine. Ms. Carlie should be praised for her bravery with the subject matter and for her exquisite writing style. Dream Smashers might be shorter than most YA novels on the market at the moment but there is no fluff; it is completely full of life and action. It is a must read for anyone who enjoys books dealing with heavy social issues and those who are fans of coming of age stories with hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. I encourage everyone to read this book though. Bravo, Ms. Carlie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

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    A fantastic debut!

    Dream Smashers is the debut novel of author Angela Carlie, and it was a novel that was just about impossible to put down once I began. This novel was much darker and much grittier than most young adult novels, very raw. While a coming of age story, it is also the story of a young girl struggling to be more than what life has given her as an example. Autumn's meth-addicted mother is a central figure in the story, having abandoned and emotionally abused Autumn since she was a little girl. Autumn struggles between the love and the worry of a daughter for the woman who is her mother and the hate for the life her mother has chosen over her. When Autumn meets Evan on a blind date, her life changes in unexpected ways, as he is from a life completely unlike her own. He introduces her to spirituality in a way she never expected and she finds a peace and a joy that she has never known.

    The author really did an amazing job with her characters. It was very easy to get absorbed into the story with Autumn, to feel her frustration and hurt with her mother, and the stirrings of romance with Evan. Rainy, Autumn's best friend, despite having problems of her own, was also an extremely likeable character and I found myself rooting fer her as well. Evan was definately the white knight of the novel, and he was the perfect hero!

    Carlie's writing, although raw and gritty at times, is beautiful. It drew you into the story, in happy parts and in sad, and made you feel as if you were a part of the story. The words aren't always pretty, but they are perfect for the story. Her physical descriptions of Jacinda, Autumn's mother, were definately not pretty, nor easy to read, but they were realistic. At other times, especially in some of the church scenes, the words were pretty and drew you into the spirit of the moment beautifully.

    Dream Smashers is a truly beautiful story, from start to finish. I loved that it tackled some hard subjects that you rarely find in teen fiction, and it did it in a realistic way. There is definately some raw language, and some very strong themes of addiction, so I would recommend this for more mature teen readers, but the message is a universal one. I gave it a 4.5 mugs!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2013

    I didn¿t read the summary of what this book is about, so going i

    I didn’t read the summary of what this book is about, so going into it, I thought it was going to be something of a paranormal nature. Surprisingly, it wasn’t what I expected at all, but at the end of the day it was such an unexpectedly beautiful and heartwarming story, I wasn’t sad at all about it not being anything paranormal. 

    “Dream Smashers” tells an uplifting story of a teen having to deal with a drug-addict mother and life in a neighborhood where drugs are rife. The author doesn’t cut any corners in bringing this gritty, harsh and shocking reality to life, and spares the reader no sugarcoating in describing Autumn’s mother, Jacinda, in every horrid little detail of what years of drug abuse has done to her physically and mentally. 

    Even the secondary characters each have a story to tell, and none of them live a perfect life. The story has a rather morbid feel to it, and the actions and dialogue of the characters sometimes took my breath away with the author’s no-holds-barred approach in keeping it as realistic as possible. “Dream Smashers” can easily be slotted into the Christian fiction category, but constant use of the f-bomb in the dialogue of some characters will be sure to step on some toes. There’s a definite and deliberate message to this story, one that is sure to inspire, and at the same time warn teens to the dangers of drug use and how it can ruin one’s life.

    All in all this was a fantastic read. I finished it in less than two days and will definitely read more of this author’s books. Great job!

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Carlie's gift/skills/love/passion for writing is clear from Drea

    Carlie's gift/skills/love/passion for writing is clear from Dream Smashers' first words. The novel opens up beautifully into meticulously edited pages. I was interested to read from the other side of the addict, and Carlie presented Autumn's side of the story flawlessly.

    I'm pretty sure I would hate Jacinta even if she was sober, and I think Carlie did an excellent job of portraying that.

    Autumn starts out as this, self-absorbed teenager, and, with Evan, Rainy, and Grams at her side, blossoms into this beautiful soul who deserves the love being thrown at her. I absolutely loved Grams and Rainy (especially Rainy) and Evan was definitely swoon-worthy, in his goody-two shoes. That was another thing: the entire concept of Evan was refreshing. Dream Smashers steps away from the "bad boy", and serves up this "Jesus-freak" boy who, in a lot of ways, is kind of perfect. This is where Carlie's writing shines: in the connections. She connects these characters with ribbons of pain versus love, dark versus light, and it just, works, in this novel.

    Dream Smashers is a heartbreaking novel that offers up love and hope, in a world made up of drugs, cruelty, and dark alleys. I think teens everywhere need to read it, and the rest of us, need to, too.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

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    Emotional, engrossing read...

    Dream Smashers was a hard book to read, emotionally. I haven¿t read many books that have dealt with addiction and its consequences, so this was also an eye opener for me. I¿m really glad I read the book.

    Most of the characters were likeable, and also complex. The main character, Autumn, is a very strong young lady. The girl has been through a lot, but she can take care of herself, along with the help of her grandmother who raised her. Her mother, Jacinda, was a meth addicted mess. It was painful to read some of the stuff Jacinda had put Autumn through. No mother should treat her child that way, and no child should ever have to go through what Autumn went through. I did not like the mom! I enjoyed Evan, and was glad that he was introduced into Autumn¿s life. I think the religious perspective that he brought along really helped Autumn out during difficult times, and I liked that.

    The plot was engrossing, and held my attention. The first half of the book went by a bit slowly for me, but by the second half of the book, I was hooked. The story is told from three different points of view; by Autumn, Evan and Jacinda. Normally I would find this confusing, but the author wrote it in such a way that I had no trouble telling what character I was reading about.

    Overall, this was a very emotional read, but I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Live To Read

    This book has the ability to make the reader both sad and happy for the main character. Autumn has two main people in her life: Evan and her mother. Her mother is addicted to meth and not a good parent or friend at all. Evan truly loves Autumn, the author makes this readily apparent. The novel jumps right into the story, the reader doesn't have to wait around. Autumn and Evan's relationship appears real and solid, the reader won't be rolling her/his eyes at the unrealistic romance in this novel. The characters speak plainly, a welcome quality. The plot is very interesting and is sure to capture the readers' interest throughout the novel. There are both light and humorous events in this novel, and there are dark and dreary ones. The author finds a good, but realistic balance. This book is recommended for young adults who appreciate a good romance tempered by a harsh reality.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

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    Great book!

    Ms. Carlie, you can write one wicked book! This book had so much great elements in it that is had me in love with it. I really enjoyed the storyline and the characters.


    First off, the storyline. Let me be the first to tell you how much it rocked! It blew my socks off. I loved the feeling of reading this book. It has so much realistic feel to it that you didn't want to finish it. You just wanted to savor every bit that you are reading. The way Ms. Carlie wrote this book it makes the reader feel connected to everything left me speechless. The drama is the book has very nice touches to it. It is all connected to Autumn, who is struggling with many things in her life.


    Autumn is such a great character. She is a normal teen, cursed with a bad mother. I love how Autumn really grasped everything about her mother at such a young age. She is not stupid and handled it in such a mature way. I like how the reader sees Autumn grow up in a wonderful young women. She makes mistakes but she quick to learn from them. She is a type of young lady who knows real life. She appreciates what she has and is content with where she is at.


    The love interest is just sweet and pure. I love how Evan is a good young man of understanding. His back round in church helped her in what strength she needed. He didn't pity her, but he loved her. He loved her fiercely and did what he had to do for her. I love how he didn't pressure her to go to church or judge her. He simply loved her till she was ready.


    Now there was lots of cursing, making out in this book. But without theses elements to describe Autumn's life, the reader might not be able to get the whole picture. Life is not perfect. Autumn's life is not pretty. I recommend an older, mature teenager to read this.

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  • Posted April 22, 2011

    MUST READ

    Joy. Laughter. Despair. Heartbreak. Hope.

    That's the gamut of emotions I went through while reading this book. Tears flowed freely (the scene at Share House was heartbreaking). The book was written so fluidly, so powerfully that I couldn't put it down until I read the last word. I didn't know the first thing about being around someone crashing off drugs; I do now. I know what it's like to fall in love, to need to protect the ones you love, and to reach the point where faith is the only answer. Truly amazing.

    Author Angela Carlie dives head first into the gritty, dirty world of meth addiction. It's a real problem and Carlie didn't shy away from the hard stuff. But she also gave us some of the good stuff. The transformations of the characters (or lack thereof in the case of Jacinda) is so real I feel like I just spent the morning with a group of close friends.

    I truly cannot wait to see what else Angela Carlie has in store for us. She's yet another extraordinary writer and should be proud of the heart, soul, blood and tears she poured into her novel. 5 STARS all the way!

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    Posted July 12, 2011

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