Michael Terny is at his seventh school in four years and he knows that whatever he does, he will be ridiculed and pushed around. Michael is the fat kid. But Michael is also a lucid dreamer–he can recognize when he is dreaming and make the dream unfold exactly as he wants. Here he is safe and completely in control. Safe that is, until he finds the dream world and real world colliding . . . and a passage between the two promises more power than he has ever imagined. With the help of an unexpected friend at his new school, Michael plans how to use his power–to reward the good and wreak vengeance on the wicked. . . . But is Michael really in control? Nothing is quite as it seems in this book, and the shocking ending will have readers furiously flipping back to begin reading again with opened eyes.
The opening of this absorbing drama may startle with its graphic violence. Jonsberg (The Crimes and Punishments of Miss Payne), an Australian high school teacher, does not shy away from darkness, whether considering his beleaguered and bullied protagonist, the grotesquely overweight Michael Terny, or the supporting characters-the kind-faced classmate, the well-meaning stepmother, the cruelly intelligent tormenter-who orbit Michael's pain-filled world as he enters a new school, his eighth in four years. Michael is a "lucid dreamer" who learns to "ride" or control what happens in his sleep with a confidence that eludes him in his waking life, even as his actions during sleep begin to spill into reality. Don't mistake this novel for fantasy, however. It has fantastic elements, yes, but it switches genres at a climactic moment. Readers will be chilled by the author's unflinching and innovative treatment of the horrors and hopelessness engulfing the victim of bullying. Jonsberg's prose is spare, his pacing excellent, his plotting memorable. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information