About the Book

Title: Dream Things True
Published: 2015
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Head in the Clouds
BFF Charm: Let Me Love You
Talky Talk: She Said, He Said
Bonus Factor: Diversity, Diversity In the South
Relationship Status: A Rose by Any Other Name

Cover Story: Head in the Clouds

This cover isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s eye catching and painterly – and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that it is not a giant photoshopped photo of a couple gazing longingly at each other. Plus, omg, did you notice that the E and the A in the title are highlighted – because our two lovebirds are named Evan and Alma?! (I like just noticed that).

The Deal

Evan is a high school soccer star who just happens to be the nephew of a wealthy Georgia state senator. Alma is a hard-working aspiring anthropologist, whose bright academic future is only marred by her undocumented status. When these two lovebirds fall for each other, they fall HARD – and not even Alma’s protective father or Evan’s deportation-championing uncle can stop them.

But everything changes when Alma’s family is arrested for living and working as undocumented immigrants, and suddenly a conservative dad or a disapproving uncle are the very least of their worries. Evan and Alma have each other all figured out, but when their two worlds collide, everything starts to fall apart. Can they stay together when everyone from their family and friends to the United States government is trying to pull them apart?

BFF Charm: Let Me Love You

BFF charm with teary eyes hugging a heart

Alma is great – she’s funny, she’s passionate about her future and her family, but MAN does she go through some stuff. Way, way more stuff than any 17 year old should ever have to go through. And while she’s a realistic gal, Alma is no saintly “model immigrant,” as she points out in the text – she’s pissed at how stupid the whole system is, and when things are unfair, she doesn’t just take it. I felt like she dealt with things well, but realistically – strong but angry, thoughtful but often overwhelmed. I just wanted to hug her all the time. Because holy cow, this book had nearly gave me an anxiety attack with ALL THE FEELS.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Evan and Alma have great chemistry. First of all, Evan is amazing – a fully fleshed out character (even if he is a little on the saintly side) who is, naturally, also super hot. They have some truly adorable moments together early on – Evan is addicted to Alma’s beauty, and Alma can’t stop swooning every time she sees Evan. But trigger warning alert: there is sexual assault in this book, and it is an integral aspect of this story. So while Evan and Alma totally deserve their 3 points, this other aspect of the book is also being taken into consideration.

Talky Talk: She Said, He Said

This is a contemporary romance, and I never felt like the author was reaching with too-heavily-relied-on slang or in-your-face tech. It keeps the story feeling fresh and pretty timeless, even though events are actually set in 2007. Both characters had heartfelt and emotionally intense perspectives, but I will say that sometimes, I had trouble telling when the chapter switched perspectives. A slightly more obvious vocal shift would have been nice.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Faces of all different races, ethnicities and genders.

I really, really love the setting and the premise of this book. If I can just get real for a minute, as a YA librarian working in the South, I worked hard to enrich my collection with books that reflected the lives, experiences and interests of the teens in my community. That meant finding awesome, well-written and fun books with strong, interesting Latino characters. That whole We Need Diverse Books thing exists because it is important AND because diverse books can be really, obnoxiously hard to find. So to find a book about a smart, strong, complicated, well-written Latino character – who’s not just part of an “issue book?” That’s a solid score.

Bonus Factor: Diversity…In the South!

Ok and if perfection were attainable on this earth, I would ask for books that reflect the lives, experiences and interests of my community…SET IN A SIMILAR COMMUNITY. The vast majority of books focusing on Latino characters take place in New York, California, or the South West. So I about lost my mind when I saw that this book takes place in Georgia. That’s about as close as you can get to my home state of Alabama (there are, like, 4 YA books ever written that take place in Alabama). I’m not just being a Regionalist – this is important to me, because this particular community is a HUGELY important part of my particular region, but it honestly doesn’t get a lot of air time. And region is such a factor in how communities function and flourish. So this book, taking place in a community that looks a lot like the ones my teen patrons live in? SOLD.

Relationship Status: A Rose By Any Other Name

Book, I’ll be honest: you’re not perfect – you’ve got some flaws. But you know what? That just makes you a little more real. I may not go out with you again, but I’m glad you exist.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from St. Martin’s Griffin. I received neither money nor chocolate for this review, sadly. Dream Things True is available now.

About the Contributor:

Savannah Kitchens is a children’s librarian living near Birmingham, Alabama. She loves discussing Harry Potter fan theories, making lists, and baking pies. When she’s not reading YA books and graphic novels, she’s beating her husband at Scrabble.


This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.