Scribbler of Dreams, by Mary E. Pearson
Reading Level: Young Adult
Enjoyment Level: High
I really enjoyed this book! It's a modern-day Romeo & Juliet story that I think fans of Sarah Dessen and the Perfect Chemistry series will really enjoy. It's not too long, but it is deep and touching, and the prose is very beautiful and easy to read. With so much paranormal and fantasy on the YA shelf at bookstores and libraries, I think readers who prefer realistic fiction will really like this one.
In the story, Kaitlin Malone has been raised to hate the Crutchfield family, who has a dangerous past with the Malone family involving friendship, betrayal, lies, and even death. To escape the stigma of her family name, Kaitlin enrolls in a new school using her mother's maiden name and begins falling for a boy at her new school, who is popular and handsome, but sensitive and kind... and a Crutchfield. In order to kepe their relationship alive, Kaitlin continues to lie about who she is and in the process learns even more secrets about their families histories.
I loved that this story wasn't melodramatic. It was emotional and the characters were well-developed, but it never felt like a soap opera. There wasn't any obvious stereotyping or clichéd characters, so it felt like a very realistic situation and I could really "get into" it. It wasn't "oversexed" either. Many YA books today rely on heavy sexual tension and promiscuity to keep the plot exciting, but Pearson's writing and story is interesting enough to keep readers engaged, so I think even younger readers can appreciate this love story. (There is also no profanity.)
Also, the "warring families" was a very interesting obstacle for Kaitlin and Bram to overcome. Most modern-day stories like these deal with race or class issues that keep the lovers from being together, but I really liked that this was a different story and more similar to Romeo & Juliet. I also really liked the pace of how Bram and Kaitlin got together. It wasn't strangers to madly in love in the span of two days. There was growth and development, and I really respected that.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend. The writing is really poetic and the story very sweet and interesting.