Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling
Publication Date/Version: November 2009/Paperback
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Author (Thanks!)
Claire Voyante has been having strange visions ever since she can remember. But the similarity between her name and her talents is purely coincidental. The name is French, and unlike the psychics on TV, she can't solve crimes or talk to the dead. Whenever Claire follows her hunches, she comes up empty - or ends up in pretty awkward situations.
But that all changes on Claire's fifteenth birthday, when her grandmother Kiki - former socialite, fashion icon, and now permanent fixture at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel - gives her something a little more extraordinary than one of her old cocktail dresses: a strange cameo, made of onyx and ivory, on a gold chain. And it's not long before Claire's world becomes a whole lot clearer. And a whole lot more dangerous.
New friends, old grudges, strange jewelry, and some creepy black-and-white dreams - if Claire can just survive sophomore year in high school, she might be able to get through anything.
Claire Voyante is kind of psychic. She has some odd hunches, but they never turn into anything. Then, on her fifteenth birthday, her grandmother gives her a cameo and everything changes for the weirder. Her dreams are intensified, but Claire still doesn't know what to make of them. Will she be able to figure out what they mean before her or one of her new friends gets hurt?
Dream Girl was one of those odd novels that doesn't try to be anything other than what it is. It doesn't attempt to appeal to mass markets with cussing, drugs, and sex, but instead keeps it clean with some good psychic fun. It was rather quirky, but it wasn't one of those books that was trying to go mainstream by being extra odd. Do you understand what I'm saying? It often seems that nowadays, things have to be odd or out there in order to be cool. They have to be much too unique. Dream Girl is unique, but I never felt as though it were trying to be. -sigh- So hard to explain. The novel is best related to Kiki Strike, one of the best reads ever. They're both fun and feature odd elements, claiming to be absolutely nothing they aren't.
Claire was a fun character, as was the entire cast. I found every character to be interesting, each with their own fun traits. There was no lack of character development; I knew just enough about each primary and secondary character. I enjoyed them all.
The plot was rather cool, with Claire using her psychic powers to figure out how to do, well, she doesn't know what. That's the point really. Claire has to figure out what her visions are pointing her to. This isn't the paranormal kind of psychic powers that are often featured today, but more of an average teenager with an added bonus. I found, however, that in the middle of the book the plot fell flat. Just like Claire, we didn't know what her visions meant, so we were strung along just like her, not knowing where anything was going. For that reason, I often felt lost and a little disappointed. The ending was interesting - I need to find a new word to use! - and made me a bit happier with the overall storyline. I especially loved how the romantic connection turned out.
Dream Girl was not without flaws, but this first taste is definitely enough to get me to read the sequel.
Overall: Quirky. Kiki Strike-esque. Up and down plot. Good characters.
My Advice: Pick up a copy at your local library.
Cover: Cool cover! I think it shows off the book's odd side. The girl, however, isn't how I pictured Claire. That's my problem, though, I guess.