Life isn’t always fair, and no one knows that better than fifteen-year-old Puck. When she’s unceremoniously booted from yet another foster home, this city kid lands at DreamRoads, a rehabilitation wilderness camp for juvies. Her fellow campers include a famous pop star with a diva attitude, a geeky, “fish out of water” math whiz, and a surly gang-banger with a chip on his shoulder.
The program’s steely director aims to break Puck, but she knows that every adult has a breaking point, too. Determined to defy this realm of agonizing nature hikes and soul-sucking psychobabble — even if that means manipulating four lovestruck camp counselors and the director’s dim-witted second-in-command — Puck ultimately gets much more than she bargains for in this “wondrous strange” outdoor odyssey inspired by The Bard’s most beguiling comedy.
*I received the copy of the book directly from the authors through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks!*
Before I give you my take on this novel I wanted to say that some of the reviews claim it to be loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Well, call me uneducated if you want but I never read this particular Shakespeare book thus am unable to draw parallels in between the two and quite frankly, I didn’t find the need… I went into this book quite blindly, I found it to be fresh and engaging and very therapeutic! On another note- hey! If this is a re-telling like some readers have shelved it as, then here’s popping champagne and cherries (hahaha) for my first ever retelling reading experience! Heh, not sure how much it counts if I haven’t actually read the original.. anyway, snoozefest, moving on!
First things first- this book tickled my funny bone big time. I found it hilarious. I don’t know if the sayings and phrases are totally cliché and overused as I am not familiar with every country’s slang and popular ‘soundbites’ but I don’t even care. Grumpy, naive, thinking-themselves-larger-than-life teenagers are just hilarious! The writing is punchy and entertaining- what else could you want from a novel? Oh! Yeah! The plot…
Well… as you’ve read from the blurb there’s this rehabilitation camp for troubled youngsters called DreamRoads headed by Mistress Barb. Barb rules the whole ‘operation’ with an iron fist…her husband Nick comes across a bit of a doormat but essentially he is a really nice, sound guy… There are 4 councellors in their early 20s who have their own relationship dramas… The camp rules and activities are quite text-book councelling, I guess, but it’s the characters that make it so much fun.. and engaging…a ‘literary trip through pain to better outcomes!’ Really, I can’t stress this enough- it was such an entertaining read and it cracked me up so many times…
You see when you have a rehab camp for teenagers then it’s natural they all come with their baggage, their heartbreak, their loneliness and their broken souls. Yeah, you can argue that the characters are stereotypical- yes, they are. How else will the reader truly connect with a story that resembles real life for some of our younger generations? So, we have the Latino ‘bad’ guy Ronnie, the Asian brainy geek Quin, the pop/rock star bimbo Tonya, the ‘popular’ girl from school, a strange boy that doesn’t speak and acts like a lunatic… and then we have Puck. A regular girl who is more broken inside in her short 15 years than some adults could handle in a year!
Throughout the book I got sucked into the relationship dynamics and how each single connection between each single character evolved.
The novel touches many a difficult subject and manages to break your heart, but it does so with a hope of healing… I mean, the LOL moments of the book continue throughout, even when stopping on difficult to deal with revelations but getting a clear glimpse into each and every one of the teenager’s heads in terms of what was holding them back, what they were afraid of and why they act they way they do created a quick instant connection for me. It’s just a mirror of real life isn’t it?!
Overall, my rating for this book as yet another easy 5 stars. The writing was perfect, the characters if stereotypical were well written with some extra super-sass. Story was easy to connect with and most importantly, it will give every teenager, young adult and adult who reads this book some food for thought. Human relationships no matter how difficult or easy, are always hard work. This novel reminded me again that sometimes no matter how hard things are, I should not give up. It can make or break a soul.