Dream Girl is the first in what will be a series of books by S.J. Lomas. As is the case with many inaugural books, much like TV show pilots, this narrative is very character focused, building the back stories of the characters who will reoccur in the following books, creating a strong foundation for future narratives.
While character-focused books often go a bit slower than action-oriented ones, Dream Girl doesn’t get bogged down by the scaffolding needed to create a series. Right away, readers connect with Christine, our good-girl protagonist who is drawn to Gabriel, the darker, mysterious boy who is worth a bit of extra time. Not long after Christine meets Gabriel, through their part-time jobs at the local library, she experiences a terrifying incident where she is drawn into a dream world that she doesn’t understand and can’t break free of on her own. These jumps to another realm continue the more she gets involved with Gabriel, and it doesn’t take long for her to see that there is more to him than just a troubled young man.
Written with teenage girls in mind, the love story plot of the book is immediately obvious and soon twisted into a bit of a triangle, as the young man meant to help Gabriel and Christine break free from the danger of the dream world becomes an additional possible love interest for Christine. Up until this point, I was pretty onboard with the narrative, but the turn towards a Twilight-esque love triangle left me a bit disappointed. I’d like to give teenage girls a bit more credit- having a strong female protagonist doesn’t require her to be attached at all times. Even though Gabriel is a major player in the book, I’m not sure many teenage boys would stick with this book to the end; the romance plays a little too heavily.
Love narrative aside, the book does a good job of creating a world in which the reader wants to continue. Sometimes at the end of a book that I know will be a series, I am happy to put it back on the shelf with no intention of ever picking up its counterparts. That can’t be said for this one. I’m hoping that the sequel to Dream Girl will see Christine move away from the need for a boyfriend and into a solid character on her own, but I’m also curious to see what happens to Gabriel, as the decision about what to do with his life was taken away from him and he is now forced into something that he can’t avoid. I’m hoping the characters continue to grow in their own rights and that the storyline is shored up in the next book, now that a strong foundation is in place. S.J. Lomas’ Dream Girl isn’t totally engrossing, but it is interesting enough to have kept my attention and make me curious about what happens next, earning it: