Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah with Excerpt and Giveaway

Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my review of Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah, a new release for middle grade readers.  Please read on for the review, an excerpt and be sure to enter the giveaway where you could win one of two print copies of the title.

Book Review:

Amber is ‘almost twelve’, and about to leave her primary school to begin at middle school. Of course, that’s not her only worry, because at 11 going on 12 and into a new school with scary looking bigger kids is daunting.

See, Amber and her sister Bella are different: half-Japanese, half Italian, their mother is a bit of an eclectic soul and their father, well, Amber doesn’t quite know where he is, having left when she was 6 and Bella was just one.

Amber’s voice is solid and quite appropriate for her age. She’s got questions about her father and misses the idea of a father near constantly, but the wound is reopened when she and Bella, returning home, see a father and daughter playing in the park sandbox.  Now Amber has no desire to draw (her favorite pastime) and doesn’t feel that she can tell her mother just why Bella is so sad.

Clever, funny and occasionally clichéd, the story rings true and honest because life is all of those things, including a bit dark, worry filled and self-centered.  Because Amber is all of those things, but her perspective isn’t wearing despite the often negative focus. She does move on and forward, continuing to do what she loves (art) while still wondering if a new phone, different clothes, being more like everyone else will make things different and better. We’ve all done that – chased an idea or thing to fit in, and Amber is no different.  And, she is desperately missing the feedback and guidance from her father, so much so that she creates a “Dream Father” to answer her questions, provide guidance and comfort.  What Amber never quite realizes consciously is that she is spending more effort providing solutions for herself in her dream father’s perspective: those answers are there all along.

A book that is fun to read, with insets where Amber uses and explains British-isms, humor and situations familiar to most middle schoolers to move the story forward and present her life. While the mystery of her father’s disappearance is never explained, the emotions ring true for the situation, and the voice is wholly 12, full of important and not so worries and daily emotional roller coaster rides.

Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Dream On, Amber
Author: Emma Shevah
Published by: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 1492622508
Published on: 6 October, 2015
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 272
Audio Length: 4 Hours: 16 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon AllRomance iTunes Kobo Downpour Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

My name is Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto. I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job.

As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber’s not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

But the hardest thing about being Amber is that a part of her is missing. Her dad. He left when she was little and he isn't coming back. Not for her first day of middle school and not for her little sister’s birthday. So Amber will have to dream up a way for the Miyamoto sisters to make it on their own…

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

HEADER - Excerpt IAI

 

Bella came in wearing her matching pink nightdress, pink dressing gown, and pink slippers with Hello Kitty all over them. I just don’t get why people like Hello Kitty. I know it’s Japanese and supposed to be kawaii (cute) and everything, so maybe I should like it, but it’s just a picture of a cartoon cat’s head. I mean, seriously, what’s the big deal?

Bella’s hands were behind her back like she was hiding something. She looked much happier than she did when we got home from the party. She moved her arms to the front and handed me a sealed envelope.

“What’s this?” I asked, putting my sharpener down.

“Can you mail it for me tomorrow?”

I looked at the front of the envelope. There was nothing written on it.

“But it’s blank, Bella.”

“Yuuup.”

“Who’s it for?”

“None of your beeswax, Mrs. Nosy Pants.”

“Um…okay. So you…you want me to put it in the mailbox?”

“Yes, Amber. Duuuh. That’s what mailing means.”

“But how is the mailman going to know who to give it to if it has no name on it?”

“Oh,” she said, frowning.

She lay down on her belly on the floor and with her red crayon from the dollar store (well, she wasn’t borrowing any of mine), she wrote on the front of the envelope: “TO MY DAD.”

I looked at her.

“Bella—”

“Shush,” she said. “Just mail it for me.”

“But there’s no address on it—”

“The mailman will know where he lives. He knows where everyone lives.”

“He won’t know where Dad lives. Nobody knows where Dad lives. Not even Mum.”

“Didn’t I say ‘shush’? I’m sure I said ‘shush.’ Just mail it for me. Pleeease, Amber.”

I sighed. What was I supposed to tell her? She was too little. She didn’t get it. So I took it and put it on my desk, just to make her happy.

I know I shouldn’t have done it and it’s probably against the law and everything but when she went out of my room, I opened it.

It said:

 

Dier Dad,

My nam is Bella and Im your dorta. My bithday party is on Sunday 16 Speptmbr and I rely want you too come. And I neid you to play with me in the park and posh me on the swing. Please come home

love, Bella

P.S. Please buy me a perpel Swatch wach and Sparkle Girl Julerry Makar for my bithday.

I didn’t know what to do. Obviously, I wasn’t going to mail it without an address on it. So instead, I put it in my secret place. If you pull the bottom drawer of my dresser all the way out, there’s a space under it on the floor where I put my most sacred things. I had a coin that I found in Hyde Park that I’m sure is Roman or Viking and one day I’m going to sell it and get mega rich. I had a few other cool things in there too. Some of them are embarrassing, like key-rings I made out of lanyard strings when I was, like, seven and valentine cards my mum sent me. Stuff you can’t exactly throw out but really don’t want anyone to see. The letter wasn’t one of my sacred things but where else was I going to put it?

I also had a picture of my dad holding me when I was a baby that I sneaked out of Nonna’s album. Obviously, we have a whole bunch of photos of him in that album, but I wanted one for myself. One of him with me. Just to prove to myself that he did actually exist and hold me once, and he even looked proud. I don’t look at that photo much because it makes me angry. I know it doesn’t make sense to keep it, but there you go. Not everything makes sense. If it did, he would never have left in the first place.

There was another knock on my door, so I quickly closed the drawer.

“Hang on… Okay, you can come in now.”

Bella stuck her head in.

“When do you think he’ll get it?” she asked.

“Well, they have to find him first. It’s not easy, you know. It takes teams of detectives months to find missing people.”

She walked in to my room and said, “Oh,” and did that thing where she points her toes inward and puts one foot over the other, like her toes are hugging.

“Do you think he’ll get it before my birthday?”

“I don’t know, Bella. I don’t think so. But if by some weird miracle he did get it before then, I’m sure he’d come to your party.”

Bella unhugged her toes and put her hands on her hips. “Amber?”

“Mmm?”

“How do you know I want Dad to come to my party?”

Oops.

“Well, it’s kind of obvious, Bella. You did ask if he’d get it before your birthday.”

“Oh,” she said, frowning. “Hmm. Well, okay.” And she skipped back to her room.

The letter wasn’t my biggest problem at that point. I was so worried about starting my new school in the morning that I couldn’t get to sleep for ages. When you can’t sleep, your mind starts going a bit doolally. Well, mine does anyway. I start thinking all kinds of crazy things. And eventually the problem with Bella and her letter worked its way into my churning brain.

It was kind of mean and everything but there were times I really wished Bella wasn’t my sister. But knowing there was a huge hole where our dad was supposed to be wasn’t much fun either. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could do something about it. I could save Bella from years of torture with one quick solution.

It seemed straightforward enough.

I decided to pretend to be my dad and write back to her, you know, to make her feel better.

And that was it.

Paff!

The most ingenious idea I’ve ever had lit up my mind like a firework.

 

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About Emma Shevah

Emma Shevah is half-Irish and half-Thai born and raised in London. She has lived in Australia, Japan, India (her first child was born in the Himalayas) and Jerusalem before moving back to the UK. Emma has busked as a fire-juggler, been a restaurant manager, a copy writer, an English teacher, and is now a blogger and author.

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