Dreams need time and freedom to grow and change.
Zoey’s family means everything to her. Together, they’ve bounced around the country, moving every few months, chasing her father’s fleeting dreams. A few years ago, her mother died suddenly leaving just Zoey, her brother José, and her dad. And now, even that is changing.
José is heading off to college soon to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an engineer. Her dad has decided to go off on his latest adventure alone, leaving her behind with her grandfather–Poppy, and Zoey feels as alone as she first did when her mother died.
As brothers go, José is quite cool. He seems to genuinely like his little sister. When her first period starts (at the mall!), He even gets her sanitary supplies. However, with no women in her life to show her what to do, Zoey is embarrassed and clueless when La Tia Rojita comes calling. Fortunately, she bumps into Isa in the women’s room, and Isa walks her through her awkward attempts to figure out how to affix her pad to her underwear. Despite the embarrassing first encounter, Zoey befriends Isa and her bowling team–the first real friends she has been in a place long enough to make. It is these new friends, and the confidence they give her, that allow Zoey to handle the stressors present in her homelife.
Sometimes she just longed for peace and harmony at home that didn’t require her to strategically manage her family’s moods.
The stressors are plenty. Poppy believes that Zoey’s (non Cuban) father was never good enough for his daughter. Poppy blames him (and his flighty nature) for making his daughter sick. Further fueling familial stress, is the tension between José and their father, typical of a son trying to individuate himself. In both cases, Zoey often gets caught in the middle, playing peacemaker and walking on eggshells. Additionally, despite the financial troubles with his bowling alley business, Poppy will not let Zoey help. Zoey’s dreams of a stable homelife, the time and space to make friends, and being taken seriously, take a backseat to the male-centered strife.
The Dream Weaver is beautifully written and emotionally believable. As it should be, Alegre pulls no punches on any of the hard topics. Dealing with the hard stuff is a huge part of growing past childhood. Familial stress and disappointment, financial struggles, the insecurities that come with growing up and difficult budding friendships are all addressed deftly and with no sugar-coating. This stellar cast of characters has a hard road to travel and many dreams to weave.
Is Zoey our Dream Weaver? Does she learn to resolve conflict instead of run from it? Can she weave her family’s dreams together and include her own? Well, that’s the book. Whatever the answers, you will be rooting for Zoey as she finds her voice–Alegre has seen to that!
Dreams need time and freedom to grow and change. What a delightful lesson to learn whether you’re 11 or 71. If you’re an adult who has forgotten this, or a kid who needs to learn this, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book.
The Dream Weaver
Reina Luz Alegre
Simon & Schuster
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
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Anjali (She, Her, Ms.) is the mother of twins, akin to being the mother of dragons. Hailing from Kenya, Anjali has made a career of graduating into recessions and pivoting her experiences to fit ever-shifting worlds. Currently residing in Columbia, MD, Anjali is an accidental homeschooler hoping to raise rebellious anarchists.
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