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Posted April 4, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 5, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted June 20, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted April 22, 2011
Joy. Laughter. Despair. Heartbreak. Hope.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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!
Posted July 12, 2011
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Posted May 9, 2011
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Posted August 11, 2011
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