The Dreamway By Lisa Papademetriou

characters The Dreamway

But the point is that the Chimerath doesn't take your body. It takes your spirit -- the youness of you.[...]Your you energy is very powerful. And if you can trap that energy...The longer he stays down here, the dimmer his light in your world will become. Eventually, it will go out.

Middle-grade books are always refreshing for me -- like a palate-cleanser in a way. They're much more direct, and as much as I love a sweeping, Victorian-esque plot, I also appreciate a respite from that.

I saw The Dreamway on a Bookstagram account and (1) loved the color, but (2) was intrigued by the synopsis. 100 pages in, I'd say this book is a mash-up of A Wrinkle in Time (exceptionally bright female protagonist with literally absent father whose absence is starting to affect the family), Alice in Wonderland (curious female protagonist follows a talking animal into another world where things aren't the way they are in the real world) and Harry Potter (at least in terms of the Chimerath basically being a Dementor -- or that Papademetriou has personified and solidified Depression in a similar way). But here, the Dementors -- or, the Chimerath -- is the focus of the story, rather than a minor element of a series. Which means that depression and mental illness are at the forefront of the story and, in a middle-grade novel, that's pretty rare, but oh-so-important.

05/08: Aaaand the talking Mouse just dropped a “curiouser and curiouser.” Definitely an Alice influence.

After finishing the book, I can say that it wasn’t the best book I’ve read, but it was important. It was creative and fresh — but the plot dragged a bit in the second half. But having multiple characters with mental health issues as well as two main characters with disabilities — that’s the power of representation. This book could be a powerful factor in normalizing both disability and mental illness in young readers. Hardcover I recommend flipping to the back of the book to read the Author's (real life) Note before you start the book. It gives powerful context to this fantasy tale. Hardcover I received this book from Goodreads.

The Dreamway relies heavily on the reader's imagination while the MC, Stella Clay, travels through the Dreamway to save her brother Cole.
Imaginative, brave, and emotional as this book may be, I found myself acutely aware of a feeling of dissociation throughout the whole thing. Nothing held my attention and I had to force myself to stay interested. Hardcover Stella Clay’s life is pretty drab. Her school is even too boring for daydreaming, but Stella doesn’t seem to mind. Her brother Cole is really the creative one. One day on their way home from school, Cole is attacked by a shadowy creature and just isn’t the same person after that. When a creature from the Dreamway shows up Stella follows him and realizes her brother’s spirit is trapped in the dream world. He has been kidnapped because of his notebook full of his imaginative poetry. The Nightmare Line is expanding and Stella has to find a way to save her brother before it’s too late. This is a very fun read akin to Alice in Wonderland, but definitely not as kooky. It actually makes sense that the dream world might be like a series of train stations; there’s a ‘water’ line, a ‘forest’ line, etc. and they all intersect in different ways. In the real world, Stella struggles with walking due to her cerebral palsy. However, in the Dreamway her leg and arm work just fine. With help from some adorable creatures, Stella is able to track down her brother and save his life. Optional purchase. Hardcover Absolutely beautiful. The writing is gorgeous, I giggled out loud several times, but then you also have a beautiful but age-appropriate look at depression, which is so, so needed. <3 Hardcover

Middle grade mainstay Lisa Papademetriou delivers her most emotional and fantastical tale yet in The Dreamway.

Every night, your sleeping body stays in your bed, while the you of you travels deep beneath the earth to ride the complex rails of the Dreamway....

Stella Clay thought it was just another ordinary day at her drab gray school. But when her twin brother, Cole, is attacked by a shadowy creature on their way home, Stella’s world turns positively peculiar. Suddenly, her brother seems different, almost dimmer, like a candle that’s about to flicker out.

And then a talking mouse shows up in her bedroom.

Stella’s ordinary world is turned upside down as she discovers that the real Cole has been kidnapped and taken prisoner to the Nightmare Line. Determined to find him, she sets out to navigate the vast underground railway system. With the “help” of a stuck-up rodent, a nervous dragonfly, and a mysterious pirate, she must find her way across leagues of treacherous track to the darkest edge of the Dreamway in order to bring her brother home before he’s trapped forever. The Dreamway



This was so fun and cute!

I would recommend this for anyone who loved quirky and fun British fantasy! Howl's Moving Castle, Neverwhere and Harry Potter fans will like this children's novel! I would love to see this as a cartoon series. I loved this as an imaginative vacation story.

This touches on facing your fears in a nightmare world.

Hardcover I would have loved this as a 10 to 13-year-old. The story is cute, but not cutesy. There is enough fantasy to grab the fantasy reader, but enough reality to grab them, too. The sibling story is interesting. The narrators disability does not come into play a lot (and in fact could be considered ableism due to her being fine when entering the dream world) but the visibility is an interesting twist to the character, as is the girl in the wheelchair. I can see a sequel with another one of the characters (or this story told from the viewpoint of the brother). The authors afterwards talks about OCD, but I saw a lot of depression and anxiety. I am assuming that all three can go hand in hand, but it might have been interesting to explore that. My rating is a 3.5 for the kid likability, but there were bumps for me. However, I will be looking into other books by the author. Hardcover The Dreamway is a cute middle grade read that’s sure to enchant child readers. Stella has to save her brother, Cole’s, spirit from the Nightmare Line when he’s taken by a Chimerath through the world of dreams. She’s guided by a talking mouse, a cute little dragonfly, and a surprise Pirate along the way.
This book really is adorable and while reading I couldn’t help but imagine the whole story playing out animated. I think as a Disney or Dreamworks feature, it could be a splendidly colorful adventure full of heart and a lovely moral. The whole book is full of metaphors that help convey a message of hope and love.
The negative of the story is the author spends a lot of time over explaining the setting. More dialogue and less detailed explainations would’ve kept the story going at a better pace.
It’s a lovely novel and I think, if you have kids, they’ll love it. It doesn’t quite cross over to an older crowd the way some middle grade reads do, but it’s still an adorable read Hardcover I entered a giveaway for an ARE from the publisher after I heard the author describe the book. The back cover description doesn't do the story justice; I wouldn't have been interested based on that alone. Very beautiful writing and the story is excellent. Hardcover This book was good and solid. I enjoyed it. I liked the setting and the world. I liked the main character, Stella. The plot was similar to things I've read before but the world was unique and different than anything I've read before so the setting was probably my favourite part. The writing was also well-done and it kept me hooked throughout the whole book. I would love to see more books set in this world. This book reminded me of Train To Impossible Places because they're both intriguing juvenile fantasy books. Hardcover