In the third book of the Riley Bloom Book series, Dreamland keeps us located in the Here and Now. Riley and her guide Bodhi are given a break from soul-catching after sending numerous souls across the bridge in the last book. But Riley is finding out that other than soul-catching, she’s not quite sure where she stands in the Here and Now. She does not want to interfere with her parents and grandparents lives because they all seem to be having such a great time with their special projects. She finds herself longing for friends, and to find the truth in how to achieve her biggest dream ever. All she has ever wanted to do is to turn thirteen, but having died at the age of twelve she felt as though that would never happen. Yet a brief conversation with Bodhi has left her hopeful that there is a way to achieve her goal after all. Her next step in her quest is to try to talk to her sister, Ever, through a dream. But she needs to find Dreamland in order to do it, and hope that it’s not banned as Bodhi suggested. Upon finding Dreamland, she meets Balthazar, the director of Dreamland who fills her in on the two ways to send dreams. You can either be a dream jumper, where you just jump into the person’s dream and participate, or you can be a dreamweaver, where you can create the entire dream in a studio and send it to the dreamer. Riley learns that the latter, years ago, had been outlawed, and no one practises it anymore. But Riley being the stubborn girl that she is, goes off in search for this studio only to come across another ghost boy who has continued dreamweaving by sending nightmares to people. Riley finds herself trapped in her own nightmares and must find a way to break free in order to save herself and attempt to save the ghost boy.
Once again, Riley is in over her head, and her stubborn attitude leads her to seek out what she wants, no matter what the consequences. She finds herself thrown into a dangerous situation in which she may not make it out of. But while dealing with her own nightmares she begins to grow as a person. In the end Riley learns a very important lesson, not only about herself, but about life in general.
Alyson Noel has such a way with words that keeps you hanging on. Even though these books I feel are geared towards young teens, I find myself continually turning pages to see what Riley is going to do next, or what is going to happen to her now that she has found herself in another unpredictable situation. Noel’s descriptions allow you to put yourself right in Riley’s shoes and see the world, or the Here and Now, just as she sees it and to feel and experience what she is going through. Thanks for writing books that keep us so entertained!