The Dream Slayer by Jill Cooper
Genre: Paranormal, YA
Length: Full (312 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rated: 4.5 Stars
Review by Poppy
In the young adult teen series Dream Slayer, Natalie Johnson has always dreamed she’s someone else; calm, beautiful, in control. A chosen warrior with a maniacal arch nemesis and a dreamy boyfriend, the type that can make your knees melt and your heart quiver.
Real life is much different. She’s tormented by a bully and endures the sharp tongue of her father, but finds solace in her dreams.
When her bully ends up dead, de ja vu from a dream hits her hard as everything around her begins to fall apart. Whatever killed Sarah in her dreams is now in reality, hunting her from the shadows. And it wants her dead.
Somehow as the lines between reality and nightmare blur, Natalie must discover hidden strength to pull her friends and family back from the brink of madness.
Natalie has a rotten life. An alcoholic, verbally abusive father, a school bully and more — who could blame her for dreaming a whole new life for herself?
I was fascinated by the idea of a dream world becoming real and am glad to say the story didn’t disappoint. With a nod to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in a few ways, The Dream Slayer is a book about a young girl with no self-confidence becoming empowered, first in her dreams and then in her life.
The author does a great job with her parallel universes, making the characters in each similar but just a bit different. This is awesome, but can occasionally make you wonder which Meadow’s Creek you’re in at any given time. Regardless, it’s exciting and interesting to see the story unfold.
Ms. Cooper has a way with words that is descriptive but not dull, and she completely creates her world. The place and the people are three dimensional and real. The writing is clean and well-edited, and never intrudes on the reader’s enjoyment of the story itself. I wasn’t fond of the romance with Damien in the “real” Natalie’s world, since it’s mentioned he’s “too old” for her and it made it felt a bit inappropriate (in the dream world, it hadn’t felt as though he was so much older so I never got that vibe until later), but thankfully he isn’t her only romantic interest — of course. Because, what kind of YA story would it be without a love triangle?
With some surprising twists and turns, with a heroine who becomes truly admirable despite her situation and with sidekicks who will make you smile and sigh, The Dream Slayer is a great book for paranormal loves of all ages.