Since her mother died four years ago, Carrie Schmidt has been like a sleepwalker. When she moves in with her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, she wakes up--and then she meets Mona Brockner. Mona knows about "lucid dreaming", being awake inside your dreams. Mona's friendship, and her "dream lesson", lead Carrie back to her mother--and her own future.
Thoughtful readers and their parents will find this multilayered story of mother-daughter tensions hauntingly real, and a great discussion book. Ever since her beautiful red-haired mother died of cancer four years ago, Carrie, 13, has been a "missing girl," veritably sleepwalking through each day. And she has a recurring dream: her mother sits at the kitchen table, alive but unsmiling and remote. When her new friend Mona offers to teach her about lucid dreaming--"being awake while being asleep"--she is powerfully attracted to the idea. Could she possibly talk to her mother in her dreams?
But Carrie can't bear to face her confused feelings about her mother's death, especially with her friends, who are loud about their dislike of their own mothers. So where can she find a dream she is willing to share? She has always resisted hearing her grandmother's stories of the Holocaust, but now she begins to listen avidly, and passes off as her own the images of rats and terror from her grandmother's recollections, which she describes to Mona.
As Carrie hears these horror stories with fresh ears, her contempt for her immigrant grandmother turns to compassion, and she comes to a fuller understanding of her mother's childhood. When Carrie at last has a lucid dream, the dream figure turns away with an apologetic smile from her daughter's attempts to communicate, making it possible for Carrie to accept that her mother no longer exists--and to wake up to her own life. --Patty Campbell