Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: Don't Wake Me Up by M.E. Rhines

Book: Don't Wake Me Up
Author: M.E. Rhines
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA paranormal, contemporary
Source: ebook, author (thank you, M.E.!)
Publisher: Clean Reads
Pages: 169
Release: November 3rd 2016

He’s charming, funny, and incredibly hot. The only problem is, he’s a ghost.
When the chaos of school, her over-reactive mother, and her abusive boyfriend gets to be too much, sixteen-year-old Colleen turns to astral projection to escape it all. In the sanctuary of the astral plane, she mingles with the lost souls of the departed. They all need help to move on to the Summerland, and Colleen never turns down a spirit in need. 

Until she meets Daemon.

With just a glance, Daemon makes her forget all the turmoil back home. The calm is welcome and addictive, but Colleen knows the peace he offers will leave with him once he crosses over, forcing her to make a desperate decision: sever her ties to her physical body, or sabotage his salvation.

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.***

What do you if you had the ability to escape reality through astral projection?

Fresh out of the first incident her boyfriend acts abusive towards her, Colleen finds herself trapped in the overwhelming reality of dealing with her over-protective mother, the sudden chaos of school and her reputation, and the hard decision whether or not to give her boyfriend a second chance. Needing to find relief of some sort, Colleen uses her abilities to astral project to escape, where she helps wayward souls pass properly onto the next life. But as her life begins to get more complicated, Colleen needs to find a way to juggle the growing seriousness of her life circumstances and finding ways to help other souls cross.

You could literally feel how overwhelmed Colleen was right from the beginning of the book. We've all felt completely helpless in situations, with too many things happening at the same time, each threatening to spiral south all too quickly; this book portrayed that trapped mindset very realistically. Luckily for Colleen, she had a means of escaping by astral projecting. Astral projecting for Colleen allowed her to interact with souls who hadn't been able to move on yet. By figuring out what each ghost needed from the physical world before gaining closure, Colleen could return to the physical world to carry their last wishes out. Some of the things Colleen needed to do required extreme actions, like breaking into cars to retrieve ad deliver things to specific people, but her willingness to take on the dangerous task regardless of the various legal rules she was breaking demonstrated her determination to help as many souls reach peace as possible.

I was very interested in Colleen's friends, Lilly and Eva. They both play essential roles to Colleen's story, but it was always why that got me. I'd definitely be interested in learning more about those two, learning their motives behind their actions and everything.

Colleen and Daemon's relationship was cute and simple, though there wasn't very much to fully grasp onto due to the short length of the novel. I definitely would have preferred the book to be longer, just to be able to get to know Daemon more. But I liked how they both came together through the support of each other's own issues. It by far outranked Colleen's relationship with Jimmy, and provided an interesting contrast.

There wasn't as much romance as I would have liked, but it greatly made up for it by touching on the topic of abusive relationships. As "black and white" society tries to make abusive relationships out to be, it's never always that simple. Colleen's story proves it right from the beginning, reluctant to call off her relationship with her boyfriend because she feels she may have incited it and doesn't want to believe he's that kind of person after they've been together for so long. And the more you think about it, they more realistic and common these scenarios actually are. You have tons of people in real, abusive relationships that won't admit they're in an abusive relationship, hoping that initial incidents are one-time occurrences. Or when admitting that it's an abusive relationship can serious affect the other person, and just because you're scared and angry doesn't mean you want to ruin their life by pressing charges. This novel really does force readers to ask the uncomfortable, but heavily glossed over, question: at what point do "accidents" and "slips of temper" in a normal relationship transform to become labeled as an abusive relationships, and at what point should you let the other person go? I think conversations like these need to happen more, and I applaud the author for being brave enough to address this issue and get people talking about it!

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