Dream, Annie, Dream. Waka T. Brown. 2022. 352 pages. [Source: Library]
First sentence: You can be anything you want to be. My sixth grade teacher's parting words to the graduating class of Iron Hills Elementary rang in my ears, even over the deafening roar of the rocket motors.
Premise/plot: Aoi Inoue (aka "Annie") stars in Waka T. Brown's middle grade novel. The novel spans from summer of 1987 to summer of 1988. Our heroine is a seventh grader who is dreaming big, but, not without facing challenges from her family, friends, teachers, etc. Can she, an Japanese American, really be ANYTHING she wants to be? At the moment, her interests include acting, writing, and basketball. But her parents, well, they don't want her to be an actor, writer, or professional ball player. No, they are dreaming, of well, her becoming a professor or doctor. They definitely see her hobbies--which are time-consuming--to be a "waste" of time that she could be using to study or do "extra" academic work. Her parents don't seem as supportive as her friends' parents...but perhaps her friends' lives aren't all that perfect either???
She participates in a summer theatre program (1987 and 1988) and a school theatre program. The shows are Annie, The King and I, and Alice in Wonderland.
There's family tension, friend drama, and CRUSH drama.
My thoughts: I really LOVED that this was set in 1987/1988. Though the author never once mentions BARBIE. I couldn't help but be reminded of the 🎵 We girls can do anything, right, Barbie 🎵jingle. I loved that Aoi loves musicals. I could 100% relate to her struggles with allergies. And I think I bonded a bit with the fact that she was sick over the Christmas of 1987 too.
I loved the narrative. I loved the story. I loved the fact that this spans a full year. I felt the characterization was excellent. The setting felt very realistic. It was like stepping into a time machine.
© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews