13 March 2012

Review: Life is But a Dream by Brian James

Life is But a Dream by Brian James

Expected publication: 27 March 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 234 pages (hardcover)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher for review

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository


Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences. 

My Thoughts

From the opening pages I was completely immersed in the story of Sabrina and I had no trouble loosing myself in this book. Told in alternating past and present, with flashbacks to Sabrina’s childhood, I initially found myself questioning whether Sabrina was really ill or just a daydreamer of a girl with an over-active imagination.

Life is But a Dream is beautifully, intensely written. As I read the book I was more and more enamoured with Sabrina and couldn’t help but want the best possible outcome for her. Alec was sweet but it took me until almost the end of the book to completely appreciate his feelings and intent towards Sabrina, but this is an integral part of the story. Sabrina’s parents play a smaller role in the book but I felt incredibly sad for them as they also struggled to come to terms with their daughter’s illness.

This book ends with a tense climax, but my only criticism is that I found the ending to be a little bit too short and neat and tidy. Aside from this small issue, the story itself is incredibly convincing and heartbreaking.

Mental illness, particularly young adult mental illness would be a daunting task for any writer. Convincing the reader, and drawing them completely into the world of the main character is on a whole other level, and Mr. James does it exceedingly well.


  1. Loved your review and now I'm going to go back and finish reading this book. :)

  2. Sounds like an interesting book. I usually don't read books in which the main character has an illness and has to overcome it, but "Life is But a Dream" has a fantastic story and a dilemma and I so expect to read it!



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