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Dream Journal

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Overview


"Will she die soon?"

Sixteen-year-old Livy Moore has finally summoned the courage to ask about her mother's illness. But she already knows the answer: for two years, Livy has watched her mother grow smaller and weaker. Now, in a series of journal entries, Livy chronicles the summer before her junior year--the summer she watches her mother slip away from her, as she succumbs to breast cancer.

Livy has survived the pain of losing her mother by shutting herself off from the rest ...

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Overview


"Will she die soon?"

Sixteen-year-old Livy Moore has finally summoned the courage to ask about her mother's illness. But she already knows the answer: for two years, Livy has watched her mother grow smaller and weaker. Now, in a series of journal entries, Livy chronicles the summer before her junior year--the summer she watches her mother slip away from her, as she succumbs to breast cancer.

Livy has survived the pain of losing her mother by shutting herself off from the rest of the world. She has alienated herself from her best friend, and her and her father live as strangers in the same house, barely speaking, and never allowing themselves to share the grief that is tearing each of them apart. But when Livy gets swept up in a strong but ill-fated crush, and her mother's condition worsens, she must learn to trust not only those around her, but herself.

A beautifully written coming-of-age novel, Dream Journal gazes unflinchingly at the pain of loss and the beauty in survival.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Ed Goldberg
Olivia's seventeenth summer is marked by the death of her mother, Grace, from breast cancer. During July, Olivia's father, Ward, cares only for his frail, homebound wife, to the virtual exclusion of Olivia. Olivia hangs with two girlfriends and some high school football players whom Ward coaches. She gets into uncharacteristic mischief, shooting off fireworks and getting drunk. A fireworks accident seriously injures her friend Ed's trumpet-playing fingers, ruining his chances of a music scholarship. Grace drifts from frailty and sleeping to clarity and strength, depending on the day, and Olivia's little contact with her runs the gamut as well, from assisting with bedpans and feeding her ice chips to having coherent conversations. In August, Olivia copes with Grace's death, Ed's accident, an aborted relationship, and news that her best friend is moving away. Olivia finds strength as she reads Grace's parting note to her. Schreck's writing is simple and descriptive. Olivia's confusion about life is abundantly clear, as is her isolation from Ward and her fear of Grace's impending death. Each entry starts with a dream, typically a nightmare. All characters are believable and Olivia is real. Some scenes are unrealistic, however, such as Olivia driving a seventy-five-pound Grace in her Firebird to see their special cottonwood trees days before her death. Descriptions of Grace are not for the faint hearted. Although a solid book, Olivia's story is not for everyone; it is for those who can relate to a specific circumstance in a teen's life.
VOYA - Anna Fazio
This imaginatively written book tells a very realistic story. The plot is uniquely both sad and funny. It reflects teenage life in its true form, good and bad. Teens will find this book easy to relate to and, therefore, difficult to put down. I believe they will enjoy and appreciate this book, as I did.
KLIATT
A mother lying in the home dying, a teenager isolated and frightened, a distracted, grieving father--this is the essence of the novel, Dream Journal. The narrator, Livy, is isolated because her father has forbidden her to mention their troubles to friends and neighbors. Only the next-door neighbor, a nurse, and a few other people know what is going on. Livy's father is the local high school coach, so every other teenager respects him and fears him, too. Livy has spent many months staying close to home to help with the care of her mother, and her best friend Ruth feels shut out of Livy's life. In the events of this story, Livy is starting to act out, grabbing what excitement she can find with older teens and Ruth, who is definitely testing the patience of her father, the local preacher. Ruth and her friends, with Livy, are drinking and experimenting with wild behavior. Livy turns 17 at the end of the summer, with her life completely changed. Her plight and her honesty will interest many YA readers. The story is supposed to be happening in the present day, yet it is hard for me to believe families with a dying parent would not have hospice care, and that they would be treating cancer as "dirty linen" not to be discussed in public. I know this was probably true for many a generation ago, and perhaps I'm wrong that it wouldn't be happening somewhere in the US today, but I do find it hard to accept and it might be misleading for YA readers. Still, it's a poignant story that in essence is believable. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Hyperion, 250p., $15.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2006: A mother lying in the home dying, a teenager isolated and frightened, a distracted, grieving father—this is the essence of the novel, Dream Journal. The narrator, Livy, is isolated because her father has forbidden her to mention their troubles to friends and neighbors. Only the next-door neighbor, a nurse, and a few other people know what is going on. Livy's father is the local high school coach, so every other teenager respects him and fears him, too. Livy has spent many months staying close to home to help with the care of her mother, and her best friend Ruth feels shut out of Livy's life. In the events of this story, Livy is starting to act out, grabbing what excitement she can find with older teens and Ruth, who is definitely testing the patience of her father, the local preacher. Ruth and her friends, with Livy, are drinking and experimenting with wild behavior. Livy turns 17 at the end of the summer, with her life completely changed. Her plight and her honesty will interest many YA readers. The story is supposed to be happening in the present day, yet it is hard for me to believe families with a dying parent would not have hospice care, and that they would be treating cancer as "dirty linen" not to be discussed in public. I know this was probably true for many a generation ago, and perhaps I'm wrong that it wouldn't be happening somewhere in the US today, but I do find it hard to accept and it might be misleading for YA readers. Still, it's a poignant story that in essence is believable. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Livy Moore, 16, is best friends with Ruth, the pastor's kid, but has been neglecting the friendship since her mother became terminally ill. Ruth decides to playfully kidnap Livy and take her for a ride along with Gil, football player extraordinaire; his sister Jackie; Charlie, inseparable from Gil and also the running back; and Ed, a benchwarmer who's a bit goofy but has a great heart. They attend a party, get drunk, go home, and come together the next day to go to the Goodlove Forest preserve. "Guys crashed cars there, girls got pregnant, and nobody went there for the nature walks." Tragedy strikes, and Livy must now deal with not shutting herself off from the rest of the world again. What makes this story so strong are the moments in which the teen remembers being with her mother before she was sick and the dream journal that opens each chapter and reflects on her feelings. The relationship with her father grows believably stronger at the end of the novel. Teens who have recently lost someone close to them, or know that it's about to happen, will appreciate this sincere and thoughtful novel.-Kelly Czarnecki, Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg, NC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hoping to make sense of her dreams-and life-16-year-old Livy Moore begins a dream journal over the summer, as her mother approaches the final weeks of her long-fought struggle with breast cancer. After keeping her family's pain secret for so long, Livy begins to open up to her best friend, only to find that preacher's daughter Ruth has turned rebellious and begun cavorting with the popular crowd. Their thoughtless pranks lead to an accidental injury of a talented teen musician's hands. The summer's events, combined with a father who's become a stranger through grief, leave Livy questioning life's change and losses, its friendships and love, its gifts and memories. Although predictable to the bittersweet ending, Livy's well-rounded character rescues this tear-jerker from becoming "one of those hideous books where the mother dies." For teens who want edgier melodrama than Lurlene McDaniel's. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423101055
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/15/2006
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Halvorsen Schreck is also the author of the Lucy's Family Tree, which was chosen as an Honor Book by the Society of School Librarians. Her short stories and articles have received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Karen lives with her husband, daughter, and son near Chicago. Visit her online at www.karenhalvorsenschreck.net.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com

    Livy Moore is sixteen years old, and facing something no sixteen-year-old should have to face. <BR/><BR/>Her mother is dying. <BR/><BR/>Upon learning this, upon hearing for certain that it is inevitable, Livy shuts herself off from her friends, from her family, and from her own life. <BR/><BR/>Recording it all in her journal, Livy shares with readers the powerful emotions involved in love, loss, and life. She's forced out of her hiding place, forced to confront the reality that hiding from life will not make it all go away and will not make it any easier. <BR/><BR/>DREAM JOURNAL is a painful, honest, and wonderfully written story that should not be missed. Populated by realistic characters and full of the emotions that make Livy's story real, it's a sad, hopeful story, and one readers will not soon forget.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2008

    Awesome!

    This book is amazing!I couldn't put it down once I'd picked it up. If you don't read this book, you are missing out!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    Livy Moore is sixteen years old, and facing something no sixteen-year-old should have to face. Her mother is dying. Upon learning this, upon hearing for certain that it is inevitable, Livy shuts herself off from her friends, from her family, and from her own life. Recording it all in her journal, Livy shares with readers the powerful emotions involved in love, loss, and life. She¿s forced out of her hiding place, forced to confront the reality that hiding from life will not make it all go away and will not make it any easier. DREAM JOURNAL is a painful, honest, and wonderfully written story that should not be missed. Populated by realistic characters and full of the emotions that make Livy¿s story real, it¿s a sad, hopeful story, and one readers will not soon forget. **Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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