Dreamers Often Lie

368p. Dial. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803738638.
Gr 8 Up—This Shakespeare-influenced novel centers on an unreliable narrator meandering her way through high school, with concussion impairing her cognition. Jaye hit her head on a family skiing trip, and ever since waking up in the hospital she's been visited by Shakespeare himself, as well as some of his creations including Hamlet, Ophelia, and Romeo. Jaye tries to keep their presence in her life a secret as she processes the recent death of her father and rehearses for the school play, as Titania in Midsummer. She also has to navigate the romantic feelings of her former best friend, who was implicated in her father's car accident, and the attention of a handsome, rebellious boy with a checkered past who just transferred to her school. A healthy chunk of dialogue is directly quoted or paraphrased from Shakespearean plays, particularly Hamlet, and Jaye herself mirrors elements of the tragic Dane. She is melancholic and dramatic, and the story is peppered with her hallucinations. Readers are left wondering how trustworthy she is. Is she really seeing Shakespeare's spirit? What is the mystery behind her father's death? Which memories and thoughts are authentic, and which ones are symptoms of a concussion?
VERDICT This novel has many questions and few answers, which is true to the Shakespearean influence and makes for a unique reading experience.

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