Skey is a beautiful teenager who was taken to a hospital after she slashed her wrists; she now lives in an institution. The reason she tried to kill herself isn't revealed until almost the end. She is trying hard to face reality with a distant mother and an absent father. Skey proves she is able to return to her old school and is released on a daily basis, but she continues to reside in the institution. She quickly slips back into her old friendships with a gang called the Dragons. Jigger, their leader and Skey's boyfriend, assumes his old relationship with his fragile, unstable girlfriend. It's a destructive, abusive relationship, but Skey cannot disengage herself until she has to save a friend and realizes she must save herself too. The author has written a dark tale of a teenager, realistic in its language and actions. It has mature situations, with sex and drugs. KLIATT Codes: SRecommended for senior high school students. 1999, Orca/Roussan, 206p, 18cm, $6.95. Ages 16 to 18. Reviewer: Sherri Forgash Ginsberg; Chapel Hill, NC, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
VOYA - Donna Scanlon
Goobie's latest book is a harrowing yet hopeful portrait of a teen's recovery. Sixteen-year-old Skey Mitchell has been in an institution for five months following a suicide attempt, although she does not remember why she tried to kill herself. In that time, she dreams consistently about roaming a network of mostly dark tunnels with carvings in the walls. These tunnels provide Skey with a safe place of solitude. During one journey, she encounters a boy wandering the tunnels. He does not know why he is there, and he will not tell her his name, but she feels a bond with him nevertheless. In the "real" world outside the tunnels, Skey returns to school and to her old crowd, but the reunion does not quite measure up to expectations. Astute readers may figure out several plot twists ahead of time, but Goobie is not obvious about unraveling Skey's mysteries. The convincing and compelling story unfolds gradually. Although Skey is not entirely likeable in the beginning of the book, the reader quickly comes to understand her, especially as her friends from before become increasingly menacing. The other characters are well-developed, particularly Terry, one of the counselors and Tammy, Skey's peer tutor, who insists on feeding Skey's body as well as her mind. Goobie's writing is deft and evocative, and at the same time, she pulls no punches in her gritty depictions. Skey's trials and transformation will resonate deeply with readers.
Children's Literature - Maria Lamattina
Skey Mitchell is a troubled young woman. When we first meet her she is residing in a group facility where she was placed for cutting herself. Skey is plagued with a recurring dream in which she is searching through a dark tunnel. In one of these episodes she becomes aware of another person, a boy, who is also in the tunnel. At first, she cannot connect with him. The staff at the facility decide that Skey is well enough to return to her old school. Rather than looking forward to seeing her friends again, Skey is apprehensive--not just because kids will know where she is living. Jigger, the leader of a group called the Dragons, is Skey's boyfriend and he wants desperately to resume their relationship, especially the sexual aspect of it. In her English class Skey meets Trick, a boy who is not "cool" like Jigger but to whom Skey feels a strange connection. Trick and Skey are assigned to work on an English project together and she begins to connect to him as she also does with the young woman who has been assigned to tutor her. At about this time Skey begins to actually communicate with the boy in the tunnel with whom she shares an affinity. From there the story takes an interesting turn. After reading the first chapter I wondered what the author's purpose was, what the value of the story would be. As I finished the last chapter I still wondered. This is not a book I would recommend for classroom use. Although it touches on several critical issues of concern to adolescents, I do not believe it does so in a way that warrants adding it to any high school reading lists.
Beth Goobie's The Dream Where the Losers Go immerses readers into a world of silent darkness and screaming light where the main character, high school junior Skey, wants to wake up from the nightmare that is her life. To find relief from the pain and scars on her wrists, Skey must battle the Dragons, her boyfriend, her mother, and most importantly, her own mind that will not allow her to remember how she got to the dark. Happiness seems as hopeless as sleep, until a boy enters the darkness with her and helps her find the light. The Dream Where the Losers Go is the emotional saga of a girl searching for her lost soul. The novel delves into themes of divorce, abuse, suicide, anger, and love through entwined images of dark and light. Readers find themselves sharing Skey's pain and illusions from beginning to end, showing Goobie's great skill at creating imperfect characters readers can relate to.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-A richly layered novel that contains elements of both fantasy and hard-edge realism. At night, 16-year-old Skey dreams of dark tunnels. During the day, she is usually aware of her surroundings, a facility for troubled teens where she has lived since a suicide attempt. But even awake, she can slip into the comforting tunnels that keep her mind safe and where she encounters a wandering boy much like herself. Because her recovery seems to be going so well, Skey begins to attend school during the day. There she hesitantly rejoins her gang of old friends, led by her boyfriend, Jigger. The teens are alluring and dangerous and seem to hold the key to the trauma that pushed Skey over the edge. The deep bonding of a first sexual relationship is exquisitely portrayed, even as Jigger's controlling behavior escalates toward violence. Readers will be held breathless as Skey begins to discover the truth about the gang and its terrible hold over her. Her journey is partly in the real world and partly through the tunnels, "the dreams where losers go" to find what they have lost. Through her growing friendship with the wandering boy, and the damaged classmate he so closely resembles, Skey ultimately summons the courage to save herself and her new friend. This portrayal of the inner lives of trauma survivors is accurate, respectful, and hopeful. A wise and compelling book that addresses the traumas of sexual assault and emotional betrayal.-Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"[A] frightening story of the power of peer pressure...Goobie's polished prose effectively weaves the dream sequences into this story."
"Wow! Wow! Wow! Beth Goobie has written an amazingly hard hitting story that will shake you to your core...A future award winner and a gripping read."
Read an Excerpt
She began dreaming about him in the dark dream, the one with the endless tunnels, stone walls that slid by cold under her fingertips, invisible because it was too dark to see. Hand outstretched, she would move forward, never knowing if she was progressing toward an exit or if at some point she had turned around and begun moving back toward the place she had come from, a place she could not remember.