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The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre – Book Review

  • Title: The Dream Weaver
  • Author: Reina Luz Alegre
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s
  • Release Date: June 23, 2020

RATING: 3.5 Stars

After moving from place to place, year after year, Zoey finally has a chance to find a home at the Jersey Shore with her grandfather, Poppy. While Zoey’s father chases yet another half-baked dream and her brother José prepares to leave for college, she is left to help Poppy run Gonzo’s, the family-owned bowling alley. However, Zoey quickly learns that Gonzo’s is on the brink of closing. As Zoey makes new friends, tries to help save Poppy’s business, and ponders her own future, she experiences an unforgettable summer. In the end, her transformation over its course gives her the courage she needs to chase her own dreams on into the future.  

The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre is an uplifting story about finding your voice and fighting for your dreams. The novel’s greatest strength is the author’s ability to capture imperfection. There is no such thing as perfect, after all. The characters’ faults and flaws, the complexity of their conflicts, and an ending messy but realistic makes for a heartwarming, endearing portrayal of life. On the other hand, the plot’s pacing is slow at times with many conversations about fashion crowding out opportunities to add depth to the characters and their experiences. At times, the author’s descriptive language also feels forced, and the stilted narration breaks the story’s natural flow. While these issues are not so significant as to detract from what can be learned in reading Zoey’s story overall, they do render its telling less compelling. 

The Dream Weaver is the perfect summer read for middle grades readers. Reina Luz Alegre incorporates classic tween and teen themes in a unique and refreshing way. For teachers searching for a summer assignment, The Dream Weaver is it. Not only does the novel have opportunities for analysis, it also includes the potential for a cross-curricular study on the science of bowling. A fun field trip to close out a fun read! 

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and publisher, Simon & Schuster, for an eARC of this book!

Classroom Applications

  • STEM Study – Teach the novel in conjunction with a nonfiction study of the science of bowling.
  • Book Club or Book Exchange – Share the novel with students that enjoy reading about themes of loss, friendship, and family.

Nonfiction Connections: The list below outlines topics that will enrich your students’ understanding of the novel.

  • Bowling
  • Fashion

Book Companions: The following are great books to pair with The Dream Weaver. In parenthesis are the specific aspects students could explore when synthesizing across the texts.

  • In Your Shoes by Donna Gephart (Character Connections, Nonfiction Connections, Themes)
  • Shouting at the Rain by Linda Mullaly Hunt (Character Connections, Themes)
  • The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart (Character Connections, Themes)
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly (Character Connections, Themes)

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