4.9 23
by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

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A powerful, radiant story about a girl who wears her dreams on her sleeve . . .

Aislinn is a girl with a lot of dreams, but due to family issues (caused mostly by her hard-drinking father), there's a lot standing in her way. While she should be enjoying the summer with friends, Aislinn is kept under lock and key and put in charge of her younger siblings. The

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A powerful, radiant story about a girl who wears her dreams on her sleeve . . .

Aislinn is a girl with a lot of dreams, but due to family issues (caused mostly by her hard-drinking father), there's a lot standing in her way. While she should be enjoying the summer with friends, Aislinn is kept under lock and key and put in charge of her younger siblings. The average girl might give up, but not Aislinn. A person, she says, should write their dreams on their sleeve, putting them out there for the world to see, because there's a good chance that someone might come along and help you make your dream come true. What begins as a plea for help for her father to stop drinking, turns into a spark that has the whole community making their own dreamsleeves. At times heartbreaking, DREAMSLEEVES is also surprising, powerful, and luminously hopeful. Everyone will see a little of themselves in Aislinn, a girl with talent, ambition, and big dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The summer before eighth grade is proving difficult for 12-year-old Aislinn O’Neill. When her Nana leaves town for a few months, her father’s drinking and physical and emotional abuse escalate, and Aislinn fears he’ll never buy the family’s promised dream house (“the one with the stream and the apple trees”). Her mother is pregnant with a sixth child, her uncles are serving in Vietnam, and Aislinn worries both that a boy named Mike Mancinello will never ask her out and that she’s losing her best friend. Yet Aislinn’s optimism, her Peely-Stick Shop (a blissfully isolated fort in the woods), and her “wide-awake dreams” keep her afloat and offer escape while she cares for her younger siblings. Adding to an overall uplifting atmosphere, Paratore (the Wedding Planner’s Daughter series) begins each chapter with inspirational quotes from various writers, and she creates a believable home environment for her heroine. Aislinn is sympathetic, selfless, and strong, and her intimate narration carries this story about the difference between hoping for change and making it happen. Ages 10�14. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Apr.)
VOYA - Mark Flowers
It is the summer before eighth grade, and Aislann has to spend every day babysitting her four younger siblings (with another on the way). Her father, whose drinking is getting steadily worse, forbids her to talk to a boy, let alone date, and barely even lets her out of the house. Desperate for freedom, she invents dreamsleeves: instead of holding her dreams inside, she begins writing them down and wearing them on her sleeve. Incredibly, the idea begins to work and even spread through the community. But of course, some dreams cannot come true no matter how many people know about them. The late-1960s setting; the drunk, abusive father; and the almost miraculous turns of fortune recall Schmidt's Okay for Now (Clarion, 2011/VOYA June 2011), and readers of that novel will find much to like here. Unfortunately, Paratore has none of Schmidt's subtlety or mastery of tone. The novel's climax, a pool party Aislann attends against her father's wishes, is surely an important moment, but it leaves a number of critical events strangely squashed into what essentially amounts to an epilogue. Most critically, the dreamsleeves concept itself seems strangely half baked: it comes too late in the novel and with too little thought as to why and how it works. Reviewer: Mark Flowers
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
A (short for Aislinn) O'Neill has a dream and this is the story of how she makes her dream come true. It is also a story of how her friends and her Irish Catholic family find their dreams, too. At least, a few of their dreams come true. It's a simpler time—no Internet, no cell phones, just childhood in the late 1960s, when the highlight of the week was going for a drive in the country. A is the oldest of five children and instead of spending her summer vacation lounging poolside in the company of other eighth graders, she has to babysit her siblings while both parents work. During the summer, A's mother announces they are expecting baby number six, despite the financial constraints and a doctor's warning not to have more children. Gone is the hope of moving to a larger house in the country with a large grassy field. That's a family dream. A's dreams are many. She wants her father to stop drinking and to be nice all the time. She wants to go to a fancy pool party. She wants Mike to like her. She wants her best friend back. Taking a cue from her father's welcome stickers, she ingeniously writes her dream on the sticker and adheres it to her sleeve. Find out how and if the dreams come true, as she shares this practice with others. Even the local priest is part of the novelty. Well-developed characters make Paratore's novel seem real, and readers will find themselves caught up in the drama that is part of being a family in Vietnam War era America. Aislinn's innocence along with her dream for a better life resonates with us all, and leaves us with a desire to know the next chapter in her life. Are you listening Coleen Paratore? We are ready for the sequel, and of course, "Baby F." Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
Kirkus Reviews
This inspirational story set in the 1960s will resonate with a wide range of readers. Aislinn O'Neill is expecting big things in the summer before her eighth-grade year. She dreams that her father will quit drinking, that her family will finally own their own home and that a boy named Mike Mancinello will like her. Tall orders all. And it's not like she gets to devote all of her time to seeing them come true. Aislinn, or A for short, is in charge of her four younger siblings--B, C, D and E--while her parents are at work. Even when her parents are home, she is expected to help with household duties and is forbidden from socializing with her peers by her overprotective, controlling, alcoholic father. Aislinn never loses hope, however, and finally she hits upon an idea that just might work. Everyone needs help to make dreams come true, she reasons, and how can others help if people's dreams are tucked too deeply inside their hearts to ever be seen by anyone else? Aislinn grabs a label, prints a wish on it, sticks it right on her sleeve and starts a mini-revolution. While a few passages lean precariously toward the polemical and the resolutions are pretty quick and tidy, readers will be too squarely in A's court to care. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
School Library Journal
Gr 5�7—If the producers of The Secret teamed up with members of Al-Anon to create a didactic novel for preteens, Dreamsleeves might be the result. Set during the Vietnam War era, the story recounts 12-year-old Aislinn's frustration with her alcoholic father. There are blissful moments in her life—tea with her grandmother, perfect grilled-cheese sandwiches, and a kiss from her crush Mike Mancinello—but they are tempered by the ever-present rage that lurks within her father. As Aislinn attempts to avert his cruelty, she ponders her name (which means "dream" in old Irish). She decides to write her dreams on sticky name tags and attach them to her sleeve. In this way, she believes, everyone can help to make her dreams come true. The plan works several times. She gets a new bathing suit, her brother gets tickets to a ball game, and she bumps into Mike. The Law of Attraction seems to turn her life around. Desperately, she makes the wish for her dad to stop drinking and boldly wears this wish to church. What she finds is what every person involved with an alcoholic knows—dreams cannot stop a drinker. The period might not grab everyone (references to old songs, limbo, and purgatory) and some of the dialogue is stiff, but the emotions are universal. Aislinn is helpless while watching alcoholism destroy her family. The push for Al-Anon in the end is slightly heavy, but perhaps school psychologists or social workers might use Dreamsleeves successfully.—Pamela Schembri, Newburgh Enlarged City Schools, NY

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 14 Years

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