by Michael Wayne Hampton
I’m a sucker for gritty YA stories that show kids precariously straddling that fence between adolescence and adulthood; a time of life Michael Wayne Hampton conveys so clearly in Dream Kids.
It’s a wonder any of us survived that age!
Find my review below or on Goodreads.
The Dream Academy is anything but a dream for Bryce Hughes, who attends the experimental high school meant to challenge students and help them reach their potential. Instead, the wealth and spoiled upbringing of his fellow students push Bryce toward a nightmare of consequences as he tries to fit in where he never will.
Michael Wayne Hampton does a masterful job of portraying Bryce and the other characters as they walk that tightrope of adolescence where one move can bring glory, or cause a fatal fall. A time of life where kids are often their own worst enemies who overlook the best part of their lives, as Bryce does Jaycee, a girl who shows him love and loyalty, of which he’s clueless due to an obsession with his shallow former girlfriend, Paige.
The author’s realistic rendering of these students and the drugs and other dangers they blithely toss around clearly conveys he remembers those tender years of vulnerability and confusion dressed in robes of bravado.
As one stoned kid says at a party, “We’re all Dream Kids, right? That’s what they sell us as at least. But whose dream are we living? I mean, like, right now.”
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