Author: Ronald Kidd
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication date: March 1, 2016
Source/format: ARC from Publisher
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):
Everyone in the City is assigned a job by the choosers--keeper, catcher, computer. Callie Crawford is a computer. She works with numbers: putting them together, taking them apart. Her work is important, but sometimes she wants more. Jeremy Finn is a dreambender. His job is to adjust people's dreams. He and others like him quietly remove thoughts of music and art to keep the people in the City from becoming too focused on themselves and their own feelings rather than on the world. They need to keep the world safe from another Warming. But Jeremy thinks music is beautiful, and when he pops into a dream of Callie singing, he becomes fascinated with her. He begins to wonder if there is more to life than being safe. Defying his community and the role they have established for him, he sets off to find her in the real world. Together, they will challenge their world's expectations. But how far will they go to achieve their own dreams?
M Y T H O U G H T S
Callie Crawford is a thirteen-year-old girl who is a Computer. As a Computer, she works with numbers, putting them together and taking them apart. Everyone in the City has a place in society. The Warming is a time when people relied on machines. However, machines are taboo to talk about and same goes for war, violence, art and music. Callie has always wondered what is beyond the City. She is curious about what life is like without so many rules. What if people can choose their own jobs?
Jeremy Finn who is a Dreambender who meets Callie in a dream. His job is to adjust people's memories to rid of music and art. To prevent another Warming, people must not focus on themselves individually and must focus on the City collectively. Dreambenders are raised in the Meadow, away from the City. They also cannot visit the City in person but they can visit the City in dreams.
Ronald Kidd does an excellent job writing a dystopian novel for the Middle Grade level. Most dystopians I have read are usually Young Adult ones. Dreambender definitely reminded me of The Giver and it's a definitely a book that will keep you thinking! The plot is simple and explores what it means to be a kid. Children are often curious about the world and when they don't receive an answer to their question, they will seek the answer out.
Dreambender focuses on facts over feelings more than most Dystopians. Everyone must abide to statistics and laws. Feelings are personal and shouldn't be expressed in forms of art, music, dance, etc. It's interesting to see concepts of individualism and collectivism in this novel. These two different principles can be seen today in different societies of the world.
With individualism, the individual's life belongs to the person. With collectivism, the individual's life belongs to the group or society. Individualism supports a person making his or her own decisions as he or she sees fit. They have a sense of choice. Collectivism is when a person will sacrifice his or her values in order to do what is for the greater good of the people as a whole. A person serves the society.
In Dreambender, we can see how some of the societies are collectivists while some are more individualists. Some people in the collectivist societies end up rebelling against collectivist thoughts and are thinking more like individualists.
The sentence structure is very simple and sometimes I feel like the language conveyed in the novel could be more complex for the Middle Grade level. This is more for young readers bridging from chapter books to Middle Grade in terms of reading difficulty. I highly recommend picking up Dreambender if you're looking for a quick Middle Grade dystopian read.