“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
– Oscar Wilde
An unforgettable story of friendship, self-belief and love. Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose are not like everyone else and they don’t want to be. Becoming friends gives them the courage to be themselves.
An inspirational, heart-warming book about four girls trying to find their place in the world. Siobhan Curham celebrates very different but like-minded friends in this captivating novel. Amber craves excitement and adventure. Instead, she’s being bullied at school for having two dads, and life at home isn’t much better. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, Amber realizes that among the millions of people in London, there must be others who feel the same as she does; other dreamers – moonlight dreamers. After chance encounters with Maali, Sky and Rose, Amber soon recruits the three girls to the Moonlight Dreamers. It’s high time they started pursuing their dreams, and how better than with the support of friends?
The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham is the sweetest book I have read this year. It is an ode to friendship, sisterhood and finding an environment where inspiration, creativity and dreams are a possibility. It is a story filled with positive messages encouraging self-expression and resisting the pressures to conform. It reminds me a lot of one of my favourite childhood reads The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares where female characters are empowered, respected, challenged and celebrated!
It all begins with Amber, lover of all things vintage and Oscar Wilde. She lives on Brick Lane with her two dads and cannot tolerate the small-minded bullying of the ‘OMG Girls’ at school. Unafraid to be different, Amber is sure that there are other girls out there like her, and decides to seek them out. Inspired by the quote above, Amber slips potential girls a card with her details and her idea for a secret club, The Moonlight Dreamers. Two girls reply, and a third by default. After an awkward start, the four girls find a safe place to dream, nurture and celebrate their differences. Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose come from a diverse social and cultural background yet they each bring something to the club that is treasured and enjoyed. Each of the girls share their dream: Amber is desperate to visit Paris and find Oscar Wilde’s grave; Maali is a budding photographer who wishes she had the confidence to talk to boys; Sky is a poet who seeks the confidence to perform at a Poetry Slam and Rose wants to bake cakes, something her model-mother is strictly against. They must each confront the issues in their lives, issues that leave them vulnerable to ridicule and embarrassment.
I absolutely adore this book. As I started reading, I feared that Curham had written a story that would become preachy and too in your face. Instead, she appears to have perfected the balance between empowering her characters without becoming over the top. She is sensitive to the issues facing women and girls today: body image, bullying, friendship, safety and social media. Curham encourages her characters to be self-empowering and emphasises the importance of finding the confidence to make your dreams come true, and not on the end result. Despite its young appearance, this book isn’t necessarily for the younger readers. Some of the issues faced by the characters could be quite confronting for certain readers, and the language used as well. Curham warns of the dangers of acting on impulse, particularly as an act of rebellion and the potential price of internet fame and online bullying. She highlights the permanence and publicness of social media and the horrifying impact it can have when it all goes wrong. The warning is clear but not once does it say to avoid these things, just be smart about the choices you make.
Overall, this is a stunning read. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when I finished it although I was quite sad when it came to an end. It is a really clever story that celebrates the awesomeness of women and girls. Any story that encourages dreaming, no matter how big or small, is a winner to me!
AUTHOR: Siobhan Curham
PUBLISHER: Walker Books Australia
PUB DATE: July 2016
Thank you to Walker Books for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!