Book review: Reverie

One of my favorite books of 2020, Ryan La Sala’s Reverie is an effervescent YA fantasy that explores identity, responsibility, and friendship with humor and supernatural butt-kicking.

Main character Kane can’t remember anything from before his car accident a few months ago, but his family, his therapist, and the police have questions: Why did he drive into the old mill? What caused the explosion? Who pulled him from the river? As Kane seeks answers, he’s haunted by shadowy monsters and a group of kids who seem to be watching, and avoiding, him. When Dr. Posey gives him a journal, Kane writes down his frustrations, with unexpected results. Soon Kane is ensnared in a mind-bending plot to transform reality through reveries, other people’s dreams that threaten to swallow the real world. Worst of all, the plot might be his.

Assumptions within the novel quickly become suspect. Kane can’t understand what happened to him until he accepts all parts of himself, from his newfound ability to shoot iridescent-rainbow beams from his hands, to his attraction to beautiful, and dangerous, Dean. As a group, Kane and his friends learn that assuming they know what lies within someone else’s secret heart can unleash terrible things. Like giant insect-monsters. Or a drag-queen sorceress whose quips are as deadly as her power to alter reality. Only once the kids accept responsibility for their actions and demonstrate faith and acceptance of one another can they build a reality in which everyone thrives.

Thoroughly engaging and heartfelt, this book is a delightful read with humor, action, and real emotional depth. I highly recommend Reverie for all readers who enjoy a little complexity–and hot-pink sparkle–in their fantasy YA novels.