Review of: “MoonDreams” by Dean Johnson
Reviewer: Daniel Neff
Who is sitting under the same moon across the sea dreaming of you?
Moondreams would technically be classified as youth/young adult fiction, but don’t let that mislead you. The characters, who grow from middle schoolers to college-age young adults, experience struggles and triumphs that we all can identify with. I am pushing 50, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Early in the book, the reader gets a lot of background on the characters, with jumps in time keeping him on his toes. During this opening section, the characters are well developed: we get to know them and grow fond of them, which makes their experiences later in the book all the more meaningful to us.
Kirah, the main female character and her friends Marti, Sarah, and Jill form a close click of friends whose lives are followed throughout the story. Ramon, a very interesting character, is a male friend of this group. He seems to meander in and out of their lives, complicating them as he does.
Bryan, the male lead to Kirah, is a young man we can all identify with. Through a well-presented background, we come to understand his hopes and dreams, as well as his fears. Bryan’s past escapades with his friends, Shane, Dan, and Joe, provide us a window into his soul through his experiences, as well as laying the groundwork for his personality as it develops later in the story.
Many of the anecdotes presented in the story are real, riveting, and entertaining. I would go into detail, but I’m afraid I would give away too much and rob you of the joy of discovering them for yourselves. There are so many things like that about this book: beautiful lines, artfully painted scenes, poignant moments – but you’ll have to get a copy and find them yourself.
Anyone who is going through their teens/early twenties, or anyone who has lived through that period of their life and would enjoy a trip down memory lane, will enjoy this book. The scary, but exciting adventure that is youthful romance is presented in a way that makes you want to experience it all over again. I was excited and anxious at the same time, as Dean masterfully evoked, not just the memories, but the emotional anxiety I experienced during romantic relationships at that age. Does she like me, too? Will she say yes if I ask her out, or will she stomp on my heart? We’re dating and I really like her, but does she feel the same way? I experienced those gut-wrenching feelings in vivid detail all over again. It was great! Thanks a lot, Dean.
The title, Moondreams, is a perfect title for this book. I won’t say why, that is for you to figure out.
I honestly have only one negative thing to say. I am sad that I finished this book, because I was enjoying reading it immensely. I can read it again, but you never again get to experience the wonder and revelation from the first time through.
I would buy this ebook if it were $9.99 or $14.99, but at $2.99, are you kidding me? Come on, you pay more than that for a latte`.
What one thing about this book stood out the most for you?
The feel of the book was a constant tension between reality and dreams. I was unsure whether I was reading a dream or a real life story. I really liked that aura about the book. The characters are all well developed and I felt a real connection and empathy with them.
Daniel also publishes under the pen name “Van Morgan.” His latest work is “The Mystery of Lake Clandestine.”
Daniel was born in 1963 on the banks of the Ohio River, the third of four children born to Maurice and Sarah Neff. After spending the first eleven years of his life in Northern Kentucky, Daniel began a nomadic journey that would continue for decades.
Oklahoma, the land of tornadoes and endless horizons, was the first stop, where his family stayed for four years. New Jersey was next. The Neff family moved into their charming ranch style home in the woods the same year gambling was approved in the Garden State, but not before spending a month living in a hotel on the beach in Ventnor (in the dead of winter). The kids enjoyed the uncrowded beach and boardwalk until it was time to move into their house that was located farther inland. After high school and some college and a couple of odd jobs, Daniel enlisted in the Air Force as an air traffic controller. His training and assignments took him to San Antonio, TX; Biloxi, MS; and Altus AFB, Altus, OK (of course you’ve never heard of Altus). Upon completion of his enlistment, a one year employment with the FAA took him to Longmont, CO (just outside of Denver). Daniel enjoyed the soaring peaks and champagne powder of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Daniel moved on to Georgia, where he experienced several more diverse career fields designed to color his experience to develop his writing style.
Daniel has written a memoir about his personal battle with “terminal” cancer,
“God Said Not Yet;”
a nonfiction book about God’s grace titled,
“I Am Perfect (in God’s Eyes);”
a fiction novel titled,
and a novella titled
“When You Die in Your Dreams.”
He has several other book projects in production.
Daniel currently lives in western North Carolina with his wife Linda, their son Daniel, and their Golden Retriever Johnny Bud.