Friday, 20 August 2010

Book review - Dreaming of Amelia by Jaclyn Moriarty

In their words:
The first time I saw her I knew that my Amelia was a ghost.
Amelia and Riley have transferred to Ashbury High for their final year, and the whole school is completely obsessed with them. Glamorous, gifted and totally devoted to one another, they seem to be perfect. But there’s more to them than beauty and talent. Riley and Amelia have secrets. And everyone at Ashbury is about to find out that the past has a very long shadow...’

In other words:
It’s a ghost story. It’s a story about love, illusions, black holes, and Irish convicts. It’s a story about endings and beginnings. It’s a story about the last school year of a group of clever, witty, over-dramatic, endearing teenagers.

To me, Jaclyn Moriarty’s writing is special. Really truly unusual, even next to other teenage books. Why? Because she creates characters that come across as effortlessly genuine. They face real problems with varying capabilities, they’re individual, and they’re likeable. Other authors manage to write about teens well enough to convince you that they’re real. Very few can make you feel as though for the entire story, you’re eavesdropping on a real group of teens that you might overhear on a bus or at a school or cafe.

So now you know. I adore her characters and in this book they’re no different. There are some new ones to the Ashbury-Brookfield series and there are some returning characters (Lydia, Seb and Tony to name a few!). Regardless, I think if you were new to the stories then you’d still be able to follow it all perfectly. It’s a standalone that links in to the others, but you don’t need to have read them.

I was a bit worried starting the book because I’d found her last one (The Spell Book of Listen Taylor) very hard-going. Thankfully I didn’t need to be at all. In fact, I thought it was up to the same standard as Finding Cassie Crazy (though I should mention it’s much longer weighing in at over 500 pages!). It’s cleverly written in the shape of exam essays, meeting minutes and online conversations, with themes and seemingly unconnected details and multiple point-of-views all blending to create a gem of a book. Put that way, it sounds kind of like high literature. And it could be. This should be read in schools and then maybe more people would read. But that’s by the by because what really matters is that it is a book that teens will love.

Pages: 578
Publication date: 2nd April 2010
AKA: Ghosts of Ashbury High (US)


  1. Sounds interesting. There's nothing worse in YA fiction than teens who don't sound like teens. It looks like that's not a problem here!

  2. I have two of her books, but I haven't read them yet. Really should!!!

  3. WOW! Great review - I've been meaning to get this for ... way too long. IT's just that when I get to the book shop I've always blown my money on something silly like comics. Grrr.

    I agree, she is an excelelnt writer!

  4. Thanks for the review! I am gonna get hold of this book soon!