Review: Dream on Amber by Emma Shevah

Posted October 12, 2015 by Lola in Contemporary, Review / 10 Comments


Dream On AmberDream on Amber
by Emma Shevah

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 …

My Review:
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.



Have you ever felt too old for a book?


10 responses to “Review: Dream on Amber by Emma Shevah

  1. Braine

    I feel you, the missing dad is sort of a plot driver so to leave that hanging is irritating. Give me closure!!

    • The missing dad was one of the main plot lines and it really bugged me we never got resolution. I just wanted closure and to know why he wasn’t there.

  2. I read some middle grade with my friends kids, but we went for the fantasy, too. It would be tough for me to read a contemporary MG unless I had a kid around that age. Good on you for giving it a go. That would annoy me not to get the explanation about the dad and the whining would really get to me. Sounds like it had some strengths with her growing to appreciate her family.
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    • I am glad I gave it a go and now I know to stay to the fantasy MG’s. I can imagine if you have a kid with whom to read it or when you are yougner yourself, it might be a fun book, but it didn’t work for me. It was just so weird we never get to know what happened to her dad, it’s susch an important plot point and I thought it woudl be revealed towards the end, but nope. The book definitely had some strenghts and there were some sweet scenes towards the end.

    • Exactly, I didnt care what happened to him, but I just wanted some closure. It was a major plot point and they just left it hanging. I guess the book wasn’t really about what happened to the father, but more how they deal with life without him, but it still felt weird not learning what happened to him.

    • It sounded like a fun one, but it just didn’t work for me. I can see how when you have a kid or are a kdi yourself these books can be fun. Now I know to avoid this type of books in the future.

  3. I’m honestly not one for middle grade reads. I don’t think I’ve read middle grade since actual middle school (and even then I was reading adult fiction) but my blogging friends this year have me itching to pick some up! I can totally understand that this one didn’t work for you because you couldn’t relate – it’s hard to enjoy a book when you can’t relate to the main characters at all.
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    • I do enjoy a good Middle Grade book now and then, but I think I prefer the fantasy and adventure type of books over contemporary ones. I’ve read some good MG books this year, but this one was hard to get into. Maybe because unlike with fantasy MG this one didn’t had any other problems to focus on beside their personal life.

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