Dreamrider [NOOK Book]


Michael Terny is at his seventh school in four years and he knows that whatever he does, he will be ridiculed and pushed around. Michael is the fat kid. But Michael is also a lucid dreamer–he can recognize when he is dreaming and make the dream unfold exactly as he wants. Here he is safe and completely in control. Safe that is, until he finds the dream world and real world colliding . . . and a passage between the two promises more power than he has ever imagined. With the help of an unexpected friend at his new ...
See more details below

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


Michael Terny is at his seventh school in four years and he knows that whatever he does, he will be ridiculed and pushed around. Michael is the fat kid. But Michael is also a lucid dreamer–he can recognize when he is dreaming and make the dream unfold exactly as he wants. Here he is safe and completely in control. Safe that is, until he finds the dream world and real world colliding . . . and a passage between the two promises more power than he has ever imagined. With the help of an unexpected friend at his new school, Michael plans how to use his power–to reward the good and wreak vengeance on the wicked. . . . But is Michael really in control? Nothing is quite as it seems in this book, and the shocking ending will have readers furiously flipping back to begin reading again with opened eyes.

From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The opening of this absorbing drama may startle with its graphic violence. Jonsberg (The Crimes and Punishments of Miss Payne), an Australian high school teacher, does not shy away from darkness, whether considering his beleaguered and bullied protagonist, the grotesquely overweight Michael Terny, or the supporting characters-the kind-faced classmate, the well-meaning stepmother, the cruelly intelligent tormenter-who orbit Michael's pain-filled world as he enters a new school, his eighth in four years. Michael is a "lucid dreamer" who learns to "ride" or control what happens in his sleep with a confidence that eludes him in his waking life, even as his actions during sleep begin to spill into reality. Don't mistake this novel for fantasy, however. It has fantastic elements, yes, but it switches genres at a climactic moment. Readers will be chilled by the author's unflinching and innovative treatment of the horrors and hopelessness engulfing the victim of bullying. Jonsberg's prose is spare, his pacing excellent, his plotting memorable. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Caroline B. Hopenwasser
"Are you really here or am I dreaming? I can't tell dreams from truth." This line from a song in the movie Once perfectly describes Michael Terny's life. Michael is a fat, lonely high school student whose mother was killed by a drunk driver and whose father has mostly checked out of his life since then. The book opens with Michael preparing to attend his seventh new school in four years. He knows that, as the fat kid, he will be bullied and harassed. The only facet of his life that Michael has control over is his dreams. As a lucid dreamer, Michael can control the course of his dreams and make them unfold as he wishes. Over the course of the book, the line between Michael's dreams and his reality becomes more and more blurred until the reader comes to realize that Michael is not the reliable narrator he first appeared to be. This is an excellent book, telling a gripping story of teenage bullying and mental illness. Reviewer: Caroline B. Hopenwasser
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up- Starting at a new school is always hard, but Michael Terny's size makes him a larger and easier target for bullies. His dad constantly pressures him to fight back, but the teen quails at the thought of physical confrontation. In dreams, however, he finds that he is the one in control, and begins to take revenge on his tormentors. Embracing his role as a self-proclaimed dispenser of justice, Michael tempers his vengeance by healing those in need. Ultimately, is he truly in control, or is he trapped between dreaming and waking? His older voice is at odds with the high school setting, and teens will feel as though the narrator is talking down to them. Though the fact that Michael's mother is dead creates some sympathy, the tenuous emotional connection deteriorates, as he stills seems too bland, even when breaking another student's fingers. An underdeveloped Australian setting nags at readers, gradually unraveling the cohesiveness of the plot. The Sixth Sense ending, asking readers to determine what was "all in your head" and what might be real, will leave readers frustrated, especially as the author is not generous with clues. Shooting for an introspective and suspenseful tale, Jonsberg instead creates a muddled Shyamalan imitation.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA

Kirkus Reviews
From the first line-"I killed two kids at school today"-to the closing Messianic reference, this follows Michael through one week in the tortured and bullied life of a fat kid in his seventh new school. Michael's only refuge is his ability to have "lucid dreams," which allow him to control his painful reality. His life is not without kindness from a well-meaning but dithering stepmother; a plump, sympathetic classmate; a wise teacher; an administrator. The latter two are powerless to help Michael who understandably resists accusing his assailants. But after years of physical and emotional abuse, Michael's "dreamriding" is perverted from acts of kindness to violent acts of retribution. It emerges that Michael himself is an unreliable narrator, that nothing and no one is as it seems, that the story can be read and interpreted on many levels. Undeniably compelling but darkly disturbing and ultimately deeply perplexing. (author's note) (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
“Dreamrider is an eerie, absorbing novel which will have readers squirming. Astonishing.”—AussieReviews.com

“Readers will be intrigued by the many paranormal ideas presented in a story that gradually and effectively reveals its many layers.”—Booklist

“Jonsberg’s prose is spare, his pacing excellent, his plotting memorable.”—Publishers Weekly

“Readers who love the shocking twists of Fight Club or The Sixth Sense will revel in the movie-ready bizarre turns this novel takes, and they will likely find themselves flipping back to reread key passages.”—The Bulletin

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375849466
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/12/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,330,157
  • Age range: 14 years
  • File size: 282 KB

Meet the Author

Barry Jonsberg divides his time between writing and part-time teaching. He lives in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.

From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

I killed two kids at school today.

My first day. I wandered the school grounds, looking for differences. The way the sun hit the grass, the arrangement of litter, the smells.

They came at me from opposite sides. I kept my head down. Part of me knew it would do no good, but I walked and watched from the edge of vision.

"Hey. You. Fat bastard."

On cue. Like a film you've seen before so you know the words before they're spoken. I walked. Kept my head down, looking for differences. I couldn't see any.

"I'm talking to you, fat bastard."

I stopped. But I kept my head down. Still.

A blade of grass. I watched. It differed. Maybe the way the spine curved, or the sheen of green. Wrong, somehow. An insect crawled along the blade's curve. It changed the world. Everything changes the world--the insect on the grass, the shadows over the oval.

They arrived. I heard their breathing. Their dark shadows slanted across the grass. I waited.

"I'm talking to you, fat boy. And when I'm talking to you, you should look at me."

"Yeah. Look at him, fat boy."

I looked at him. He had freckles. A face someone had doodled on, not getting the patches of color right. Dark red hair. Matted, as though he hadn't showered in a week. His eyes were light blue, the color of pale flowers in cold climates. I tried to see beyond them. I can do that. There was only pain, loneliness, and fear. There's always fear.

We stared at each other, the fat boy and the boy with ice for eyes.

And I waited.

"So what have you got to say for yourself, fat boy? Eh? Why'd you ignore me? Too good for me? Is that it, huh? He thinks he's too good for us, Damien."
Damien was small, thin and wiry. An athlete. His eyes were screwed up. I couldn't read them because he was facing the sun. He stood like someone who owned the ground beneath him.

"Yeah, I reckon, Callum. Why do you think you're too good for us, fat boy?"

"I'm just a fat boy," I said. "That's all. I'm not too good for you. I'm not good enough. I'm fat. I'm nothing."

The red-haired boy was confused. It happens that way sometimes. They want the right to attack. But I was agreeing. If they bashed me now, they'd feel bad about themselves. And they wanted their punches to be pure. Righteous.

The red-haired boy shifted, put his hands on his hips.

"Are you being a wiseass, fat boy?"

"No," I said.

"Well, I think you are. What do you reckon, Damien? Is he a wiseass?"

"Yeah. He's a wiseass big-time. You're asking for it, fat bastard. So why don't you say you're sorry? Maybe if you apologize, we'll forget it this time."

The red-haired boy moved in a little.

"Yeah. We need an apology, fat boy."

"I'm sorry," I said.

Callum poked me in the chest with a hard finger.

"You need to show you're sorry. How about on your knees? Yeah, get on your knees and say you're sorry for being such a wiseass."

So I got down on my knees. In the middle of the oval. As though I was praying. I bent my head. The blade of grass was closer now and still wrong. I focused. The insect climbed its plane, the east face of a green mountain. I counted the legs. They seemed right. And then I saw the difference.

It was subtle. The way the light hit the stalk. The sun was behind me, and the boys' shadows pointed away, toward where it would set. But the light on this blade of grass came from the wrong direction. The right side of the blade was polished, burnished by light, and the left shadowed. Wrong. The tip of the blade, curved away from me, should have been touched by gold.

I knew. So I stood.

"I told you to get on your knees, fat boy," said Callum.

I looked at him closely. Once I notice the first difference, even if it's small, others follow, bigger and bigger, until the whole world is different. Callum's eyes were brown now. His freckles shifted into a birthmark on his right cheek. His hair was a darker shade of red. Like rust.

I could take my time, so I turned to Damien. He had shrunk and the athlete was gone. He no longer squinted into the sun, because the sun had moved directly above us. I wanted it that way.

"I'm not sorry," I said. "I haven't done anything to be sorry about. You started this. Not me. So I'm not sorry, and I'm not getting down on my knees."

Callum glanced at his mate. My words were a detour into unfamiliar territory, and he had no map to give directions. I wanted him to bluster. So he did.

"I don't care what you think, fat boy," he said. "I don't give a shit. So you'd better say sorry real quick or . . ."

"I'll be sorry?" I said.

"Yeah," he said.

"Look," I said. "I'll tell you what I think and you'll listen. Every school I've been to, you were there. Sometimes you were taller, sometimes smaller. Your hair changes, your clothes change, but you don't. Not what's inside. It's always dark. I can taste it, that darkness. And it tastes of blood and fear and hopelessness."

"You're weird," said Damien.

"It's time to hit me," I said.

The boys glanced at each other. Nervous. Callum's eyes shifted back to me. One had turned green. His fist balled and he rocked back on his heels to get the weight right. He was scared but he had to punch me now. I'd given him no choice.

His fist swung back, and I put my face forward a little. I watched as the knuckles arced toward me. It was not a bad punch, considering I had chipped his confidence. I'd felt worse. When his fist landed on my cheek, just below my left eye, I felt the bone give. But I didn't fall.

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

    As a lucid dreamer, Michael Terny can control the direction of his dreams, and, over the difficult years since his mother's death, he's used that ability to escape the harsh realities of his life. While tucked away in his dreams, it only takes that one little difference, that blip on the screen for him to recognize, to bring him into control. Then, he's no longer the hopeless fat kid who suffers the same fate at each new school, that same tiring choreography of the first day--the seventh in four years. Here, he is the master, and can heal the sickness of those in need and bring pain to his tormentors. <BR/><BR/>Michael had hoped that Millways High School would be different, and it started promisingly enough, with his finding a friend in a girl named Leah on that very first day. However, he finds the same types of kids following him, promising the same problems he's tried to escape. What's more is that parts of his dreams seem to be leaving their mark on the real world. Is it possible that he might be able to influence the things that happen in real life through the power of his dreams? If that's the case, then it might be time for Michael to start fighting back, and not just in the ways his dad keeps telling him. <BR/><BR/>But one must wonder if Michael's perceptions are accurate. Even his allies may not be what they seem. How much of the dreamworld has crossed over? <BR/><BR/>This masterfully written book challenges the reader's preconceptions of reality--their own as well as that of those around them. Interesting and thought-provoking, it appeals to those who love seeking details, and finding where the puzzle pieces fit together. Some harsh language and violence, fitting for more mature readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)