Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto. As if her name made up for being tiny, half Japanese and half Italian, and starting a new school with a caveman phone. Dream on! But the hardest bit about being Amber is that a part of her is missing. Her dad. He left when she was little and if he isn’t coming back, she’ll have to sort things out another way. And Amber has a big imagination …
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Let me start by saying Dream On Amber isn’t a bad book, it just completely missed the mark for me. I like to read a Middle Grade book now and then as the plot and characters focus on very different things than other age categories. I usually read MG with some sort of fantasy or paranormal plot, lots of action etc. Dream on Amber is a more contemporary Middle Grade book. I am not sure if it’s the genre or just book, but this book didn’t work for me.
Dream On Amber is about a half Italian, half Japanese girl called Amber who hates her name, hates how she looks and how short she is, wants a new phone, can’t stand anything that’s gross, misses her dad, is an artist and has trouble starting her new school. It was kinda cute, but annoying at the same time. It was hard to relate to Amber as it’s been a long time ago since I was eleven. Amber was a bit whiny at times, with how she wanted new things and she ran into some problems and made up an imaginary dad to cope with things. I thought it was realistic, but even so it just didn’t work for me. Towards the end she does a few things that did make me like her a bit more, she showed love and appreciation for her other family members and does something nice.
As Dream on Amber was fairly short I did decide to finish the book and I really wanted to know how it would end and find out why her dad had gone away. Sadly we never get the answer to that question. I can understand why the mother didn’t tell her kids at that time, the famous “I’ll tell you when you’re older and you’ll understand” sentence was used, but as a reader I wanted to know where their dad was. I wanted to know whether he had died, they got divorced or if he really was out there saving the world. I felt a bit sad for the characters, things aren’t easy for them, but maybe I felt most sorry for their mom. Handling two young kids all alone can be hard and it makes me appreciate my own mom a bit more, knowing she went through that as well.
I think my main problem with Dream On Amber was that I felt too old for it. I couldn’t relate to Amber her problems, about her dad and school and not having a phone. I know I’ve been that age and worried about things like that as well, well beside for the phone, we only had old phones back then and as soon as I started high school I got a phone. I just didn’t connect with the characters and the story meanders through their normal live, Amber her problems get solved eventually and they was a sweet scene with her sister at the end, but overall I think this just wasn’t a book for me.
To summarize: Dream On Amber follows the normal life of Amber who grew up without a dad, struggles with not belonging, fitting in and more. I felt like the book adequately represented kids of that age, but I had a hard time relating to Amber as it’s been a long time ago I was her age. Overal I just felt too old for this book. And I didn’t like how we never learned what happened to their dad. if you are looking for a cute diverse middle grade book about daily school and family life this is the book for you. I think it’s a great book for kids, it just wasn’t for me.