Book Review: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published March 5th 2019
336 Pages

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live.

To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.

Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?– Goodreads

I needed a day to think on this book. My overall conclusion is that it is a solid read but it has a very big issue.

Nalah is an interesting character because she takes her role as Chief Rocka seriously; as she should. Her gang Las Mal Criadas (LMC) is one of the toughest gangs in Mega City. Its her life and fighting is everything she has always known.

However, because the Mega Towers is where she and her crew want to be, Chief Rocka takes deal with from the founder to get there. Here is where things get interesting. Rivera sets you up for the fight and a possible betrayal of the lifetime. Chief Rocka isn’t as bright as she makes it seems. She is driven by anger and the constant need to fight. Yes, she can talk down the worst of them but she can’t seem to get things right exactly.

From beginning to about the last 4 chapters of the book, I am sucked into this world. All girl gang group and men for the most part out of the picture (except for at boydegas for the most part). This book is dystopia through and through. However, from the beginning you can see clearing that something is off. Rivera doesn’t get into too much detail about the wrong but focuses on Chief Rocka and LMC. It is as if the mess around them are background information that drive the girls but doesn’t exactly define them, at least at this point in their lives.

There was an expectation that the “battle” or at least the wake up moment was going to be huge but it was disappointing to say the least. Nothing changed and when the change happened, it was so smooth it was as if they were just taking a casual stroll.

I hated the ending. I hated how easy things became for Chief Rocka and how things just flowed. All of that build up, all that anger just to be let go as if nothing happened. The book just ended with nothing. I had to re-read the last few pages to make sure I was not bugging but nope I was not.

I wanted something so much more for LMC and Chief Rocka. I was highly disappointed with how things went.

Overall, worth the read but not exactly worth it emotionally. Characters were great, the build up, the world building was both on point. But the climax needed work as well as the ending.

3 Pickles

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