Review: Life Is But a Dream by Brian James

Life Is But a DreamLife Is But a Dream by Brian James

Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Page Count: 234
Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences.

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Sabrina always saw the world differently. When she was younger she was encouraged to use her imagination and praised for her creativity. She spent her time daydreaming and creating art. But at 15 she is too old for such childish behavior and everyone around her wants her to grow up and stop playing pretend. The only problem is that it's not an act. Sabrina's parents finally realize that she needs help and admit her to a Wellness Center where she is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

While at the Wellness Center and under a doctor's care, Sabrina seems to be getting better. Then she meets a boy named Alec, a new patient at the Center. They start spending time together and Alec unknowingly feeds Sabrina's delusions and sets off complete paranoia in her. He convinces her that they are the normal ones and the doctors give them medicine to make them like robots. Sabrina can tell the difference that the medicine has made, she feels she is losing her true self. She wants to get back to seeing the world the way she used to. She is scared of facing reality and of being 'normal'. This sets off a long chain of events that eventually lead to Alec realizing that Sabrina really is different and needs help, and to Sabrina accepting that she has a mental disability.

The author does a really great job describing life through Sabrina's eyes. We are able to truly see just how disconnected she is from reality. The descriptions are vivid and colorful and almost painful to read about because of their beauty to Sabrina. It's very hard not to feel sympathy for Sabrina and her situation.

Seeing the world through Sabrina's eyes is both fascinating and terrifying. Her character was very well written, and her descriptions were so beautiful it was hard to separate her imagination from reality. I have never read a book where the protagonist has a mental illness, so this was an interesting read for me.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


  1. I adore the cover of this one- I think it would be my favourite part of the book though; I was interested in reading this a little before I read this review back in April- you've done an amazing job describing the book!
    It sounds a little... unsettling, maybe; I don't think it would suit me, but this review is great!

  2. This books sounds really interesting. I was just thinking that they're weren't many YA books that dive into mental illness, then I heard about this one. 3 stars seems to be the consensus though. I guess it might be hard to connect to or something. I'm still planning on reading it. Great review!

  3. This book sounds indeed interesting. I've never read a book either where the main character has a mental illness so it will definitely be something new for me if I choose to pick it up. Nice review! :)


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