Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: Dream Student, by J.J. DiBenedetto

(Note: Once again, this isn't a book review blog. Please don't send me requests to review your book. I review books on my own whim and discretion, mostly for my Goodreads group but also other books that happen to catch my interest.)

Dream Student, by J.J. DiBenedetto

(I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)

Dream Student is the story of a pre-med student who is an unwilling witness to other people's dreams. The novel is balanced between Sara's progess through her junior year of college as a pre-med student, a romance that is literally a dream come true, and a paranormal suspense novel where Sara finds herself inside a serial killer's dreams. The novel pulled me in from the beginning with the first few dream sequences. The prose is smooth and well-crafted with a sly sense of humor, and the author, a man, does an excellent job of getting inside the head of a female college student and telling her story in first-person voice. The dreams are written in third-person, an effective way to convey the kind of creepy, out-of-body experience that this feels like to Sara.

For my own preference, I would have liked it if the three plotlines were more focused so that the serial-killer plotline was the main plot, with the romance as a major subplot and the college-life parts as background or a supplementary subplot, in order to maintain the momentum and suspense. But Sara, her boyfriend Brian, and her best friend Beth are engaging enough characters that I still enjoyed reading about their romantic and academic escapades. And the ending, where Sara, Brian, and Beth race to stop the killer before he strikes again, kept me reading non-stop.

Dream Student is a well-written, engaging book, and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series, to find out what lies ahead for Sara, Brian - and her ability to see other people's dreams.

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