Review: ‘Life Is But a Dream’ by Brian James

Review: ‘Life Is But a Dream’ by Brian JamesLife Is But a Dream by Brian James
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 27th, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: gift
Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences.

Brian James calls Life is But a Dream "the most intense book I've written. Bringing this unique character to life and seeing the world through her eyes, with all its beauty and confusion, was an immense challenge that I hope is just as rewarding to read as it was to write." Intense--yes. Unforgettable--definitely.

About Brian James

I've written numerous children's books, including the Pirate School series and the Catkid series. I'm also the author of several novels: Pure Sunshine; Tomorrow, Maybe; Perfect World; Dirty Liar; Thief; Zombie Blondes; The Heights.

The Book DepositoryChapters/IndigoGood Reads


Sabrina has always had an active imagination, and as an artist she would constantly draw pictures of everything she could dream of. Her parents concerned with her well-being place her in a wellness center where she meets Alec. He’s not sick like Sabrina, but has more psychological problems. Sabrina on the other hand suffers from Schizophrenia and has paranoid delusions of everyone and everything. Her dreams mesh into reality making her even more unstable because she can’t distinguish dreams from reality.

One might be a little wary to read a novel that emphasizes on a mental illness like Schizophrenia, but I felt the story was rather sweet and undeniably sad at the same time. Sabrina’s mind was such a mix of frenzied activity that it was even hard to read what was going on. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is how the mental illness feels like. You could feel the emotions leap from the page.

Alec being her only friend and confidante was the only one who made her feel truly alive. And I love his character. The way he was there for her, and really listened made all the difference in the world. Even in her state, she falls in love, and that made her cling to her life even more.

At first, the back and forth of reality and memories confused me a little, because I had to think about which state Sabrina was in, but other than that I loved the beautiful written story. Brian James sure knows how to evoke a tear jerker of a novel!


All that matters is that we’re here and we found each other and understand each other as well as two fish forever swimming as one in a circle. That’s how perfect we fit together and that’s all that matters. (77)
I don’t know why, but something about it seems wrong—feels like the computer is trying to read my mind. I start to wonder if the more information I feed into it, the more real the fake me becomes. (124)




1 Comment

  1. Maggie

    August 13, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    This sounds like a pretty good book.

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