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The Dream Where the Losers Go

Iram Khan

beth Goobie has once again produced a book that successfully dives into teen culture and explores the hardships of "growing up". The Dream Where the Losers Go begins with Skey, who has been admitted into a treatment centre for self-destructive behavior, sharing with the reader a glimpse of her dream-world; a world of endless, dark tunnels with puzzling etchings on the walls. Throughout the book, Skey travels in and out these tunnels and comes closer and closer to solving the puzzles on the wall and understanding the boy that she meets in the tunnel. In the "real world" Skey goes through the daily routines of her life; telling a nurse what her favourite colour is today, going to school, meeting her tutor, and getting to know her old friends (the Dragons) again.

The Dream Where the Losers Go Through these routines, Goobie creatively introduces readers to some of the people in Skey's life. Goobie's attention to detail, can be seen in the following example:

Mrs. Mitchell was delicate air, hardly there at all. Skey looked her mother over. Still working out, keeping herself whiplash thin. All the colours of her face were carefully arranged, her clothing chosen to match the decor in Larry's office... Skey had caught on about a year ago when they were visiting her father'sboss. The wife had ordered new carpet and furniture for her living room,catching Mrs. Mitchell in mauve when the upholstery had become chocolate brown. Her mother had twitched and jabbered throughout the visit, as if sitting on pins and needles.

These kinds of details allow readers to truly understand Skey, because these stimulating descriptions flesh her out as a complex, troubled, but ultimately believable, character. Although there is a fantastical element to this novel with Skey's dreams, which eventually confront reality, The Dream Where the Losers Go does an excellent job to capture the realities of teen life: exposure to drugs, sex, threatened academics, and mental instability.

This book is rated 16+ for "mature situations", which I think is a bit high. Younger teens, say 14+, could read this book since it is something they could probably understand or even relate to (no matter how much adults want to deny this). I cannot say enough that, The Dream Where the Losers Go is an honest and accurate portrayal of teenage life.

Goobie has had a tradition of winning and being nominated for numerous major literary awards. She's been a nominee for the Governor General's award and a winner of the R. Ross Annett Award for teen novel. I hope that The Dream Where the Losers Go will soon join the list of her award winning/nominated books.

published by roussan
ISBN 1-896184-62-6

Iram Khan edits canadian content, and manages CanTeach, a resource for teachers.

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