Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto
Dream Student (Dream Series, Book 1)
What would you do if you could see other people’s dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets…without them ever knowing?
Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who’s got a crush on her.
But when she starts seeing dreams that aren’t hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.
“Dream Student” is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.
Dream Student started out with such potential, but it progressively just got worse and worse for me. I was really excited to start reading it at first, the first few chapters drew me in and made me want to find out what was going on. It quickly became tedious and kind of boring though. Unfortunate.
Sara is a pre-med college student and suddenly she starts being able to see other people's dreams. Not often, usually her roommate or boyfriend, but then they jump to a murderer. It is always the same thing until he kills the current girl and moves on to the next one. An interesting idea, and the dreams were the best part of the book, but it just didn't work for me. Maybe if they would have been a bigger part, and there would have been more dreams that weren't so normal, or just more people's dreams, it would have been more interesting. That and if Sara did something about the dreams, or used them for good, for the first 75% of the book.
So what was the first 75% of the book? Well it was a pretty boring, detailed description of Sara going to school. I swear you were told everything she ate, or didn't eat, or when she forgot to eat. It seemed like every single mealtime was in there. Why? I am not sure. I don't care. That is just one of the over detailed descriptions about her life in this book. There are also way too much detail about what classes she was going to and her study habits and just everything about her life. She is a college kid, finals are coming up, you don't have to detail every hour of her day. I will assume she is studying and going to class and eating sometimes. It was a bit too much.
The other issue with the book? It was almost all telling not showing. I like showing. If you just tell me I don't connect with the characters or what is happening. Sara meets Brian shortly after she sees his dream where he is dreaming of her. I actually liked that scene, liked how Sara described the love at first sight thing. I got it, but then it quickly just was not right for me. I don't know what it was. It was like someone who didn't know what this would be like writing what they think people would want to see or something. It was just off for me. Sara and Brian are both in love right away which was actually fine for me, but some of the thoughts she had about Brian...some of the ways she thought of him were just...I wouldn't want someone to think of me that way. It was almost like she didn't really like him that much at times, but for some reason she felt like she had to be with him. It was odd and I didn't like it. I didn't see the connection because once again we were told not shown. That and sometimes she spoke about herself in a strange way as well. She also got a different personality when all of this started, and she commented on it like why did I say that? I didn't know I wanted to do that until I said it? Odd. I've never spoken like that to anyone before, etc. It was just like she was being controlled by something or someone else, but nothing ever happened with that. It was just the way it was.
One last thing, this book is set in 1989/1990. I am not sure why. Really the only reason I know this is because the date was at the beginning of every chapter. It was just like if you are going to set the book at a certain time then set it in that time. There was only one or two scenes where I thought oh if this were now they would just use their cell phone or something. Basically there was no way to tell this was set in 1989/1990. It was just another thing I found odd.
So the last 25% of the book Sara finally decides to start trying to do something with her dreams. She finally figures out who the killer is (who unfortunately is the guy I figured it would be when you first see him at the beginning of the story) and then instead of going to the police they try and solve the crime themselves! I mean what if the police don't believe them? I get that, but really if it were me I would go to them first. If they did nothing then maybe I would try and stop it myself. But police first. Really when I saw the first girl who was killed and recognized her from my dreams I would have went to them to try and help with the next girl. Even if they didn't believe me I would have tried, and afterwards I would start trying to figure out if I can find a way to figure out who the killer is. I mean you have access to his dreams so maybe you can find something. I wouldn't just try not to think about it and hope it goes away and I don't have to continue seeing girls who are murdered every night. I guess that is just me.
Overall not a very good read. It had so much promise, but it just didn't work for me.