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No spoilers in this rapid review of This Dreamer by Sara Watterson.

I am always looking for clean reads for my middle schooler, and this fantasy did not disappoint. I pre-read this novel, as I do most novels for my 12-year-old daughter, and I loved it! 

And she loved it, too! She finished it in three days.

We each loved discovering the parallels to the story of Joseph as we read. The character Adan loosely follows this storyline with a modern fantasy twist. Adan goes to school in the city but finds it increasingly difficult to deal with his strange dreams.

Evie is a guardian angel of sorts, a Watcher, who must deal with her flaws and the aftermath of an impulsive mistake. Her storyline is an overarching battle between good and evil. 

These two characters are thrown together when Adan goes missing, and Evie is wrongfully blamed. Adan and Evie both wrestle with the question, “Why am I here?” and I loved the answers this author provided. 

As a parent of an adopted child, I was pleasantly surprised to find a strong message of belonging and purpose for the adopted teen or tween. Adan the Dreamer is a foster kid who wonders why he is here if his birth mom didn’t want him. Through the story, he learns his purpose is in his Maker, and the Maker put him exactly where he intended and where Adan belongs. He also discovers that learning to forgive is a must, even toward his birth mom.

All this is subtly wrapped in a fun and exciting adventure story I think any teen or tween would enjoy!

I picked up This Dreamer because I sought clean reads for my middle schooler. I can happily report that this novel is appropriate for all ages, a clean book for young teens or older teens. And the messages of family and purpose were spot on. I highly recommend it. It’s a fun, clean read for middle school and up.

(If you’re a foster or adoptive parent, contact the author to ensure it’s the right fit for your child’s situation.)

Let us know what you think about This Dreamer in the comments!

Safe, clean read for middle school and up + an excellent message for adopted children

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Evie is ripped from her mundane immortal life and handed an unthinkable task. Can she summon the will to do what is necessary, or will she risk all to save a human boy?

Evie grows restless observing mortals from afar. When a friend offers to smuggle her by portal into the human world, she jumps at the opportunity. Secretly, though, she also hopes to observe Adan, the human Dreamer. Only a glimpse, she promises herself.

Adan curses the visions that plague his sleep. All he wants is to be normal: hang out with friends, care for his little brother, and, most of all, not wake from a nightmare in the middle of history class. Adan’s Guardian says his dreams reveal the future, but Adan refuses to believe he’ll die at the end of a golden blade. 

Adan’s life takes a curious turn when Evie, a beautiful stranger, sits next to him in the park. She doesn’t seem to want to talk to him, yet eventually, she does.

But trouble awaits after Evie’s captivating adventure and delayed return. Not only did she take an unsanctioned trip to the ground, but now the boy, the Dreamer, is missing. Worse still, her director believes she is to blame.

Evidence soon places Adan in another sector where Gifted humans are forbidden.

Donning a human body and wielding a golden blade, Evie’s orders are to travel to this uncharted territory, find Adan, and take care of the problem.

As she searches, she wrestles with unfamiliar human emotions and a sneaking suspicion that the Dreamer was smuggled here for a reason. And perhaps the culprit—the Deceiver—is a threat to them all.

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