Friday, March 12, 2010

Why DREAM GIRL Made Me Feel Good

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 15th birthday, when her grandmother, Kiki—former socialite, fashion icon, and permanent fixture at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel—gives her something a little more extraordinary than one of her old cocktail dresses: a strange black-and-white onyx cameo on a gold chain. It’s not long before Claire’s world becomes a whole lot clearer. And a whole lot more dangerous. 

When I started reading Dream Girl, all I knew was that it involved a girl ominously named Claire Voyante. When I finished this book, I took back with me some of the most unforgettable characters I've come across recently. Dream Girl scores with its motley crew of characters. They are lively, quirky and so unique, they jump right off the page. Mechling makes a conscious attempt at breaking down the high school stereotypes which is why we have a mean girl with a secret dorky side and a best friend far removed from the stereotype sidekick.
Claire reminded me of a Nancy Drew with oodles of charm. Girl detectives have been missing from the YA sphere and I'm really glad Lauren Mechling's brought them back. Coming from an off beat family consisting of a French dad who's a professor and a mom who writes horoscope columns in spite of not being an astrologer, Claire is well fleshed out in all her cheerful idiosyncrasies.
When I interviewed Lauren Mechling she said that Dream Girl started out as a love letter to New York. I have never been to New York, so I can't comment on its authenticity. What I can say for certain is that, Mechling's Manhattan stands out as a character in itself. The setting had an old world charm fused with modern mysticism, that lent it a sort of personality. I felt like I walking with Claire up the stairs of the Waldorf-Astoria or cycling alongside Seventh Avenue.
The plot, I thought, turned out to be predictable but I'm guessing this was because it's geared towards the young-er adult reader and I'm past that age. Having said that, the characters and their dynamics with each other, the abundance of their appeal and the charm radiating off every page more than made up for it.
In the end, I felt good. I felt really, really good.

I'll give Dream Girl a 3.5/5. Pick this up when you need some cheering up. You'll disappear into Claire's world.

2 comments:

Kirsten Lesko said...

Great review & the book looks good, too!

Bee said...

Thanks, Kirsten.
This was a fun book to read XD

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