Dream Student, by J.J. DiBenedetto
Kyra's Star Ratings:
Story: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Writing: * * * *
Suspense: * * *
(I was provided with a free copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)
Dream Student is the story of a pre-med student who is an unwilling witness to other people's dreams. The novel is balanced between Sara's progess through her junior year of college as a pre-med student, a romance that is literally a dream come true, and a paranormal suspense novel where Sara finds herself inside a serial killer's dreams. The novel pulled me in from the beginning with the first few dream sequences. The prose is smooth and well-crafted with a sly sense of humor, and the author, a man, does an excellent job of getting inside the head of a female college student and telling her story in first-person voice. The dreams are written in third-person, an effective way to convey the kind of creepy, out-of-body experience that this feels like to Sara.
For my own preference, I would have liked it if the three plotlines were more focused so that the serial-killer plotline was the main plot, with the romance as a major subplot and the college-life parts as background or a supplementary subplot, in order to maintain the momentum and suspense. But Sara, her boyfriend Brian, and her best friend Beth are engaging enough characters that I still enjoyed reading about their romantic and academic escapades. And the ending, where Sara, Brian, and Beth race to stop the killer before he strikes again, kept me reading non-stop.
Dream Student is a well-written, engaging book, and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series, to find out what lies ahead for Sara, Brian - and her ability to see other people's dreams.