Drawn In, by Sioux Trett

CoverThis may very well be the most challenging review I’ve yet to write for this blog. Granted, I’ve only written a handful or so of them, but this one is difficult.

What makes it so difficult? I enjoyed this story so much, and it has several plot twists, that I’m afraid to do a disservice to a potential reader’s enjoyment by talking too much about them here. I aim to be spoiler free in my reviews—perhaps because I’m an author myself and don’t want too much of my plots revealed—so I’ll start by gushing. I LOVED THIS BOOK!

First the setup: Serenity “Rennie” Winters is spending two months living with her best friend Maia and her parents—Maia had moved to California, and the time away in the sun of SoCal may do her good. Rennie has had tragedy in her family, and she’s still grieving the loss of her sister Claire (given name Clarity).

But Rennie is lacking in both serenity and clarity because she’s having bizarre dreams. Really vivid, lucid dreams of another place, another time. And then she starts having these dreams when she’s awake. But they’re not always dreams because Rennie is a Traveler, and she’s actually going to that another time. There are other Travelers there to help her accept her destiny, and there are others that want to stop her, because she may or may not be the one to take down an oppressive regime and bring peace.

There’s a theory out there that when you break them down to their basics, there are only a handful of story ideas. The idea that Rennie may or may not be “The One” goes as far back as Arthurian legends. Or is Luke the one to bring order to The Force? Harry’s the Boy Who Lived, the kid unaware of a destiny to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Neo enters The Matrix and he’s so much the one that his name is an anagram for it! Add Rennie to this list, and with her vast knowledge and love of books, sci-fi, and fantasy, she knows the list. Author Sioux Trett pays homage to many fantasy (and secret agent) stories by putting them into a blender and whipping up a smoothie of pure AWESOMENESS!

Am I gushing yet? Because I’m going to continue.

So if there are only a handful of basic story ideas, why are there literally millions of books available? The difference is in the details, and Trett imbues this book with lush details through Rennie’s narration. She is such a distinct, likeable character from the first page. The details of her life are clear and familiar. Her relationships with every other character are so well-defined, I felt like I was picturing an actual person’s life.

The relationships: Can’t mention them all, but I’ll start with the boys. Rennie does some swooning and gets tongue-tied as believably as any teen girl who has never been kissed. Even though I’m a guy, it brought back memories of my own awkward pre-dating youth. At first, she’s fixed up by her friend Maia with one guy—the safe guy—but she’s drawn to a different guy—a (perhaps misunderstood) “bad” guy that Maia would prefer she not be with. And there’s also a hot but jerky guy who practically hits on her. And then, oh yeah, there’s the comforting guy in her vivid, lucid dreams—the guy she feels safest with—but he may or may not even be real. Romantic entanglements abound, and I would do a disservice to the author to talk more about them because you need to experience them.

Getting the hint? I recommend this book. I’m gushing about it.

But the standout relationship is between Rennie and Maia. They’re clearly BFFs who have known each other forever. They get in fights, yes, but very little diminishes the strength of their relationship. Their shared interests and communication with one another are real, and their love for one another is a pleasure to read about rather than the frenemy relationships that plague YA literature.

This is supposed to be a critical review, and I’ve gushed a lot, but I have two (really minor) nit-picky things. First, there are many pop culture references throughout the book that really date it. Some will be around forever, like mention of Star Wars and Hogwarts. But some may not—who knows how well the TV show Alias will be remembered in twenty years or even make sense to younger readers? I’m torn on their inclusion because I want this book to become a classic. However, their mention is used not only to show Rennie and Maia’s character connections, but also as useful plot points. In the end, since I read this book in the present and I understood the references (and loved many of the things being referenced—I’m a Whovian too, Rennie), I can’t knock it because it so enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

The other issue I have is that…I have to wait for Book Two in this series—the aptly titled Paper Dreams Chronicles! There’s clearly a much larger story planned, and Rennie (and author Trett) scratch the surface of it. However, there is one very clear story/character arc of this story, and the moment Rennie finally makes a breakthrough in that arc forced me to put down my Kindle and wipe my tears. It was unexpected and poignant and so completely disarming that I wish I could tell you more.

In fact, I wish all my followers would read this book so I can talk with you about it—like, really, really talk. Rennie deserves that, and Drawn In deserves nothing other than FIVE STARS. Pick up a copy of this book, and let it draw you in.

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Drawn In is available at Amazon.

Read the spotlight of author Sioux Trett HERE.

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