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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In The Dream by Whitney Dineen, Ashley wished her love life would be straight out of a romance movie, where the girl always got the guy of her dreams in the end. Unfortunately, the boy she worshipped in high school didn't even know she existed. Davis Frothingham - every girl wanted to be with him and every boy wanted to be like him. Ashley knew she didn't stand a chance; he was wealthy and she lived with her single mother in a trailer park. Besides, he was with Jessica Holt. When Ashley leaves high school, her dreams of leaving Creek Water, Missouri gradually disappear. Davis comes back into her life when he visits his grandmother in the nursing home where Ashley works and he doesn't even remember her. Gradually, Ashley and Davis become friends and she hopes he will realize how wonderful she is. But first Ashley has to realize that herself. Her chances seem hopeless when her old nemesis Jessica glides elegantly into town. The situation gets even more complicated when Ashley's best friend from school arrives from London and seems to want to take their friendship to the next level.
The Dream by Whitney Dineen is certainly not a lightweight romance novel. The main plot around Ashley and Davis's relationship is multi-dimensional. I thought the development of their relationship was gradual and believable. Jessica and Buck added a very interesting angle. I thought the relationship between Jessica and her mother was relayed exceptionally well, their close bond and love for one another came through clearly. The use of Ashley's diary entries was a great way to give the reader some background into her relationship with the main characters, as well as the reason for her negative self-image. There are some very touching moments, especially between Davis and his grandmother. Just like Ashley is coping with the loss of her mother, Davis is grieving for the grandmother he once had but who is now lost to dementia. The friendship between Ashley and Buck was wonderful, the type of friendship everyone deserves to have. The references to the 1980s really took me back to my school days. The revelations at the end were a great plot twist that I wasn't expecting but were brilliantly executed.