Book Thoughts: Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes

(**Received from publisher in exchange for a thoughtful review.)

She fell for him in a nighttime world. But the time for dreaming is past—and the here-and-now can be just as fragile their love… 

When Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she made could have lasting repercussions. 

Now Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own. 

And still the nightmare realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may have been doomed from the start…

Falling Under introduced me to Theia’s intricate life; Dreaming Under continues her story with a plot I did not see coming. If you enjoyed Hayes’ first novel, I promise that the sequel is just as good.

Dreaming Under picks up directly where the last book leaves off, which I was very happy about. Since no time has passed, there are no random details of what happens in the time between the two books. Hayes’ writing style doesn’t change, keeping the characters in character. One thing I got annoyed with though is the summarizing of the events from the first novel. I understand that important details from the first book are supposed to be added to help readers remember the storyline, but I think it is a little overdone.

Even though Haden stole my heart in the beginning, I was happy to see his character develop more in the sequel. He has the qualities of a dangerous heart-throb but Theia still manages to point out the awkward teen boy in him. I love that he isn’t the ‘perfect’ hero that almost every YA books make the guy seem. Thank you Gwen Hayes for making Haden even more lovable by adding a realistic quality to him!

The theme from the first novel is ‘up is down and down is up.’ I was very happy to find out that it continues. The idea becomes more important, making the story a lot more intense than the first novel. The author continues the theme in an original way that makes this book stand out from the others.  

As much as I enjoyed this book, the one thing that really bothered me is its over-sexualization. Yes, it makes sense that lust plays a part in the novel, but I found the topic repeats too much. I just got bored with the idea. There are plenty of other things the characters could have focused on. To me, focusing on one topic just didn’t make sense.

Dreaming Under goes in a direction I should have predicted, but didn’t. A lot of the events/actions/decisions are predictable. The book isn’t really set into motion until two-thirds of the way in. After that point, I never wanted to put the novel down. At the end, I also saw a lot of details come full circle and I’m always amazed that authors are able to do that.

Dreaming Under is an enjoyable read. I recommend this series to anyone who loves supernatural romance. Fans of Twilight will definitely enjoy Hayes’ books. If you’ve read Falling Under, I suggest you read the sequel. I hope there will be a third book!

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