A young adult novel with pre-teen flavor (well, apart from “lean muscled” bodies and faded jeans “snug on the waist and thighs”), Christy Frazier’s Untamed Dreams starts with seventeen-year-old Kayli entering her senior year of high school while staying with great-aunt Tilly. Kayli is scared of thunder, misses her parents and little brother Alex, takes photos with a Nikon Coolpix, and wonders why Aunt Tilly’s old house feels so strange. But a good dinner might help, just as long as Aunt Tilly doesn’t tell her too many times that “You’ll have to get to know Colton; I think you’ll like him.”
Connie is Kayli’s car. Suzanne and James are Kayli’s parents, living elsewhere because of James’ job. Jill is Kayli’s friend. And Colton, who lives over the garage, is more than he seems. The world of teen girls and school comes to life when Kayli spends time with Jill, but a different world of mountain streams and beauty is introduced when she gets to know Colton at last. And more worlds wait in dreams.
Untamed Dreams is grounded in the reality and genuine conversation of loving family and friends and dented cars, while dreams soar into realms pleasantly reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean. The writing is awkward in places with some unlikely word-choices, but it’s a fun story for modern pre-teens, with a real depiction of high school and an ending that promises more.
Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.