Title: We Awaken
Author: Calista Lynne
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Description: Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.
But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
A very beautiful and important book to read. Asexuality is not as visible on the LGBTQ+ spectrum as it should be, but Lynne takes this information gracefully and creates a fantastical dream world that even gets you sucked in. The world was very normal and yet so undeniably whimsical that I was reading so much into the world and the plot, that I forget entirely where I am. Although, it took me a while to warm up to our MC, Victoria, I thought her journey through asexuality and understanding what it means for herself, was very powerful. I loved reading about Ashlinn and Victoria's relationship as it was unbelievably endearing and charming!!! <3
Even though I did enjoy parts of the book, I just wish everything wasn't so rushed. I loved the girls' relationship and I loved the world but the way everything panned out in the last 20 pages felt so fast. I didn't have time to even think about the ending, because, albeit it was a happy one (yay!!), the consequences leading up to it didn't feel as real as it should have been.The pacing was done very well at the start but was completely deconstructed at the end. I was really hoping for a more drawn out conclusion that left me as breathless as the beginning did.
Nonetheless, I did like this and I really loved the portrayal of the relationship and the dream world.
Calista Lynne is a perpetual runaway who grew up on the American East Coast and is currently studying theater in London. She is oftentimes seen screeching at Big Ben and pointing out the same landmarks on a daily basis, and is having difficulty adjusting to the lack of Oxford commas across the pond. She writes because it always seemed to make more sense than mathematics, and has superb parents who support more than just her latte addiction. If Calista Lynne could change one thing about her life, it’d probably be her lack of ability to play both of the ukuleles adorning her rainbow bookshelves.