cover image I'll See You in My Dreams

I'll See You in My Dreams

Ilene Cooper. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-670-86322-8

Shortly before her father's death, Karen has detailed nightmares predicting his fatal automobile accident. Now, years later, she has another sequence of disturbing dreams, this time about Mark, a new boy at school (her dreams about him start even before she sees him), and his little brother, Brian. The pacing starts off suspensefully, but the stretch between a past and future tragedy grows labored, especially as Karen encounters surprisingly few obstacles in convincing others (her family, her best friend and Mark himself) that danger lies just around the corner. Her problem instead lies in figuring out when, where and how history will repeat itself with Brian (a reincarnation of Karen's father?) as victim. The heroine's aloof grandmother, Vivian, arrives in time to decode the rather strained symbolism of her granddaughter's nocturnal visions. Characters are nearly as transparent as the story's plot. Karen is typecast as a plain Jane, predictably transformed by the glamorous makeover her best friend gives her, while Mark is planted in the center of the school's most popular crowd. There are also self-centered parents, a pot-smoking nanny and a cheerleader determined to extinguish any flame of passion burning between Karen and Mark. Readers anticipating eerie renditions of psychic experiences may be disappointed with Cooper's (the Holiday Five series) overly neat treatment. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)