My Summary: Jean and Brad have a wonderful life with wonderful kids. But through several awful things that happen to them, like the car accident that put Pete in a wheelchair for his life and the depression that Brad experienced from it, the family has slipped apart. Jason, the oldest son, goes up into his hideout in the Lighthouse to try to escape the stress of his family falling apart. While up there, a stroke of lightning hits the lighthouse and creates a magical Gateway from the real world to Dreamworld, a place that only the pure of heart can access in their dreams. Jason has to decide whether or not he wants to stay in Dreamworld for the rest of his life, where everything is perfect and nobody gets sick or dies, or whether he wants to stay in the real world with his family. When Jason finds out that his mom is pregnant and ill, he is sure she is going to die. Then Jason finds out that he can save his mom and heal his brother by taking his family to Dreamworld—but he has to do it before the Gateway closes up forever…
My thoughts: Gateway to Dreamworld is an interesting yet odd read. It’s fast paced, covering a whole beginning of a relationship, two births, a death and a few other major events in the first few chapters and moving through important story lines very quickly—almost too quickly. I wished the author had slowed down and taken more time developing the story line in the first 100 pages, rather than just telling it all so fast—the first ten chapters or so felt rushed, as if she was in a hurry to get it over with and explain it so she could move on to what she wanted to write about. The pdf that I read from was 358 pages, and it got really interesting on chapter 13, page 118. That being said, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the first 100 pages, they were very interesting and showed the life of a realistic family.
The only thing about this book that I didn’t like was that it had what I call “happy-land” syndrome—everything is working out perfectly, or is resolved too quickly. The father slipped into depression, and it was totally expected and realistic, however he was jerked out of it too fast (Maybe only people who have experienced depression can testify, but it doesn’t go away that quickly—it takes months of talking, treatment, and sometimes medication, not one talk with a pastor and a few tears.). When the grandma died, the character’s reactions were realistic—but family members “got over it” so fast that it left me frowning. This was all in the earliest part of the book, again I felt that the author just wanted to be done with the explaining part so she could move onto the interesting part.
Plot: this was a science fiction book, and it’s been a long time since I’ve read a sci fi. I loved getting lost in the idea of Dreamworld and The Gateway and the fear of the Unknown was horrific. During one of the crucial moments at the end of the book I could feel my blood speed up as I read it. The end of this book was a bit of a shock, not at all what I expected. I’m not sure if I was disappointed or satisfied, but it was certainly intriguing.
Characters: I personally didn’t connect with the characters very well because they were two adults and two young children, however my favorite character would have to be Pete, the little brother who gets paralyzed. He’s such a brave kid, trusting of his brother, and loving to his parents.
The Writing: The writing seemed very formal—I don’t think there was a single contraction in the whole book, and the character’s lines were detailed, specific, honest, and humble— they almost felt like robots the way they were never greedy, never mean. The word that came to mind as I read it was “quaint,” because it was told from third person omniscient perspective, and there wasn’t a lot of dialogue.
Recommendation: I think ages 9-14 would enjoy this book a lot more than I did (not to say I didn’t) because of the young characters and the science fiction aspect. However, there were a few scenes of husband and wife relationship that were not detailed, but were not suitable for an eleven or twelve-year-old either. It’s hard to place a specific age on this book, but I will say that anyone who read and enjoyed Madeleine L'Engle’s Many Waters (A Wrinkle In Time series) will enjoy this book as well.
All in all, I immensely enjoyed this book and found myself needing to finish it, I couldn’t stop in the middle. It was highly addicting and exciting, and I look forward to more from this author.