Dreaming the Bear

Mimi Thebo. Random/Lamb, $17.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-399-55750-7
Originally published in the U.K., Thebo’s U.S. debut awkwardly juxtaposes a teen’s adjustment to a new environment with a supernatural, out-of-body connection to a bear. A move from England to Yellowstone National Park not only disrupts narrator Darcy’s social life but also lands her with a case of pneumonia, as well as persistent “seeing-myself-from-a-distance” moments. While snowshoeing, the perilously exhausted Darcy lies down with a wounded bear who has lost her cubs, beginning a series of episodes with the bear in which Darcy enters a faraway state and observes herself from the outside. Darcy and the bear’s connection strengthens with their every interaction, and their ill health becomes increasingly intertwined, but the jumbled narrative structure can be tricky to parse as it rotates among Darcy’s first-person narration, italicized out-of-body observations, and third-person sections that anthropomorphize the bear’s perceptions (“She ran. She left her cubs and ran. Can a bear feel shame?”). It’s an unusual twist on an against-the-odds wilderness adventure but doesn’t quite come together cohesively. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sophie Sorell-Barnes, MBA Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2017
Release date: 04/11/2017
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 176 pages - 978-0-399-55751-4
Paperback - 978-0-399-55753-8
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