Jake, Lucid Dreamer is a heartwarming coming-of-age story about a boy learning to deal with the loss of his mother. One of the best middle-grade novels I've read this year.
Book Title: Jake, Lucid Dreamer by David J. Naiman
Category: Middle Grade Fiction, 188 pages
Genre: Magical Realism, Coming-of-age
Publisher: Kwill Books
Release date: May 4, 2018
Content Rating: G
- 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Award First Place winner for Middle Grade fiction
- 2018 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards Gold Medal Winner for Pre-teen fiction - Mature Issues
- 2018 International Book Award Silver Medal Winner Readers' Favorite for Coming of Age
Using his wits to dodge bullies by day and a nefarious kangaroo hopping ever closer by night, Jake learns about loss, bravery, the power of love, and how you cannot fully heal until you face your greatest fear. This uncompromising novel is a magical yet honest exploration of emotional healing after a devastating loss.
Described as a “poignant coming-of-age novel (that) offers a sensitive and honest examination of a child’s spiritual and emotional battles” by The BookLife Prize.
Tackling the subject of the loss of a parent from a 12-year-old's perspective is not an easy feat. Author David J. Naiman not only succeeds in doing that but he easily immerses the reader into the world of Jake, a pre-teen who is just starting middle school and is dealing with his anger at losing his mother to cancer, dealing with school bullies, new and old friendships, budding feelings for a girl and his ability to lucid dream.
Although there is a lot going on, and the fantastical element of lucid dreaming adds a whimsical touch to this story, I found the various themes (death, friendship, school life, sibling rivalry) interrelated smoothly and the situations to be realistically portrayed. As a mother of two teens, one being a boy, I was touched and quickly related to the family scenes and could see my own boy in Jake. I also liked that this was an interracial family.
Jake is a great character. He is bright, observant, imaginative and hurting. The story is written from his first person point-of-view and seeing the world through his eyes was insightful, funny, sad, creative and absorbing. As a parent, it reminded me of how children see the world. I loved this book. It was well-written, full of learning moments within the struggles of daily life of a grieving family. The ending brought tears to my eyes.
Highly recommended to readers who love children's literature with universal themes and magical realism. I sincerely hope that the author keeps writing this genre. This book will be on my Best Reads of 2018 list.
Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
From there, David turned to children’s literature to pursue the themes of family, friendship and the magic of childhood and published the multiple award-winning #1 Amazon bestselling novel Jake, Lucid Dreamer.
When he’s not writing, David toils in the front lines of primary care internal medicine, battling scourges like diabetes, heart disease, and insurance companies, although probably not in that order. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two sons.