- River of Dreams by Jan Nash
Nash, Jan River of Dreams. Roaring Brook, 2020 [272p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781250248848 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781250248855 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-10
Finn has more than your average sixteen-year-old's worries: her younger brother, Noah, has been in a coma for nine months. When Finn dreams of Noah begging for help, her grandmother reveals that Finn is part of a lineage of Dreamwalkers—people who pass through the dreams of others, helping them within the dreams and without—and that Noah is likely stuck in the dream world. With a little training, Finn tests the waters of the dream world, and if she and her best-friend-turnedfirst-love Jed can figure out what Noah's journals mean and how to rid dreams of an ancient evil, they may just be able to wake Noah up. Nash employs expert pacing in her sensitive novel, building up the concept of Dreamwalkers and then sweeping readers into a world of shifting dreams, from scary to sexy. Fantasy and reality are well balanced, with the pressures of applying for colleges and learning to drive on one hand and defeating a 15,000-year-old man wearing a buffalo head on the other; Finn also uses others' dreams to address problems in real life, as in the case where she helps a classmate escape an abusive situation. Additionally, Jed and Finn's budding romance is simple and sweet, with Jed being the perfect easygoing boyfriend to match Finn's antisocial tendencies. Teens into dream interpretation and mind-bending reality shifts will appreciate this one.