Goodreads Teaser: "Everyone in the City is assigned a job by the choosers--keeper, catcher, computer. Callie Crawford is a computer. She works with numbers: putting them together, taking them apart. Her work is important, but sometimes she wants more. Jeremy Finn is a dreambender. His job is to adjust people's dreams. He and others like him quietly remove thoughts of music and art to keep the people in the City from becoming too focused on themselves and their own feelings rather than on the world. They need to keep the world safe from another Warming. But Jeremy thinks music is beautiful, and when he pops into a dream of Callie singing, he becomes fascinated with her. He begins to wonder if there is more to life than being safe. Defying his community and the role they have established for him, he sets off to find her in the real world. Together, they will challenge their world's expectations. But how far will they go to achieve their own dreams?"
Albert Whitman & Company
Middle Grade, Sci Fi & Fantasy
Publication Date is
I would like to thank Albert Whitman & Company + NetGalley for a copy of this e-ARC to review. Though I received this ebook for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review.
Beautiful ideas that tempt the imagination while teaching meaningful lessons at the same time. The lessons aren't traditional per se, but rather built into the story and crafted to sink into the reader's conscious and subconscious as they read.
Jeremy is a character most kids will relate to on one level or another. Between his incessant questions and his clear promise of great talent he appeals to younger readers and adults alike. Callie is more of an adult character, though she is a major player in this story, and one of the main instruments through which the life lessons are shared. But her sensation of being trapped in a job she doesn't have any passion for speaks to most adults I'd expect. Her journey is her lesson for readers of all ages.
Though couched in a futuristic story, the ideas shared in this book are valid for readers of any generation. Mr. Kidd does an excellent job of crafting a tale to engage readers, young and old, and building important life lessons into the very bones of the story. The world he created is a beautifully woven mix of reality and fantasy, but not so far out that it becomes difficult to imagine. If anything he's made it to easy to imagine, and that simply makes the messages instilled within that much more powerful. Without a doubt this book should become a core requirement for all middle school reading lists. Indeed every library, both school and public, should have at least one copy; they should plan for multiple copies given how popular it is bound to become!
Looking back on my career as a writer, I realize that I’ve actually had three careers. As a young man, I wrote juvenile and young adult novels that were light, entertaining, and fun. I wrote seven of them—comedies, mysteries, sports stories, science fiction—and enjoyed every one. I especially liked dreaming up unusual, eccentric characters, such as Splat, a wisecracking tuba player who loves Mahler and solves mysteries in a youth orchestra; and Sammy Carducci, an eleven-year-old kid who wears a suit, tie, and sneakers and thinks he’s an authority on women.
After writing books for a while, I found myself growing restless. I wanted to try something different, and I found it in the theater. For years I wrote plays, most of them for adults. In the process I learned that humor could be serious and that I had important things I wanted to say. I wrote about major league umpires and integrity; about a child actor, childlike parents, and home; about Shakers, artists, and trumpet players. I collaborated on a musical theater piece and two children’s operas, including How the Trumpet Got Its Toot, premiered by the Utah Opera.
More recently, I rediscovered books and a love of history, resulting in Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial, followed by On Beale Street, about music, race, and Elvis Presley in 1954 Memphis; The Year of the Bomb, about horror movies, spies, and paranoia in a little California town in 1955; Night on Fire, about the Freedom Riders in 1960s Alabama; and Dreambender, a novel about fear and freedom in a world nearly destroyed in an ecological disaster. I like to think that in my new career as an author, I’ve combined the best elements of my previous two careers, writing about serious themes such as love, trust, and honesty in stories that are both compelling and enjoyable—stories that I would like to read.
In addition to writing, I edit books and produce audio and video programs. I started out in educational publishing, joined Walt Disney Records as director of product development, and ended up in my current position, senior editor at the United Methodist Publishing House.
After spending most of my life in Los Angeles, I moved to Nashville, where I live happily with my wife Yvonne Martin Kidd and my daughter Maggie.