It’s been three summers since Madelyn’s brother Aiden fell to his death, swallowed by the cold waves of Lake Superior. They say it was an accident. She knows that's a lie.
Having mastered the art of lucid dreaming, the teen scours her own dreams for her lost memory of what happened that day. The truth hides somewhere in her mind's version of Shy Harbor—where the tragedy took place. But the mirror town is cold and desolate. Her only light is Luke, the mysterious boy her dreams created. Madelyn feels closer than ever to unlocking her unconscious. Until she ventures too deep, and her worst fear is realized.
She can't wake up.
To return to the waking world, Madelyn must now solve her brother’s death within the eerie constructs of her own mind— before her consciousness slips away forever. As the mystery deepens and the bone-chilling Intruders begin hunting her down, Madelyn discovers that some secrets are best left under the surface.
>De Lira’s uneven novel draws upon the concepts of lucid dreaming and repressed memory as pink-haired “Native American” teen Madelyn Clarke delves deep into her own mind to solve a mystery. Three summers ago in Shy Harbor, Wis., Aiden died in an alleged bouldering accident near the Clarkes’ vacation home. Madelyn, the only witness, suspects homicide, though she cannot remember the truth. At a therapist’s suggestion, Madelyn learns to lucid dream, recreating Shy Harbor to find the Key to her unconscious. But after recovering the Key, Madelyn finds she can’t awaken. Her consciousness, embodied as a Native woman named C, reveals that she’s stuck (“I’m afraid the only way to wake up now is to find your unconscious”). If Madelyn doesn’t recall Aiden’s death soon, C will disappear, stranding Madelyn in her mind forever. Though stereotypical characterizations and a muddled conclusion may well prove problematic for readers, De Lira’s dream world, replete with telekinesis and eerie Intruders, proves engaging. Those seeking an energetically paced adventure about grief, loss, and self-acceptance will likely enjoy joining Madelyn, her new friend Luke, and her anthropomorphic mental constructs on their journey. Ages 14–up. (Self-published.)