Cover Image: A Little Like Waking

A Little Like Waking

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Member Reviews

A Little Like Waking is the perfect blend of sci-fi, mystery, and humor, and while it was written for a YA audience, it gave me strong Adult crossover vibes (which I loved!). If you're looking for an unconventional and mind-bending read, this is the one!
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interesting story about a dream world and the people caught in it

thank you netgalley and to the publisher for the review copy
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⭐️=3? | 😘=2 | 🤬=2.5 | ⚔️=1 | 13+

summary: this girl is, like, literally living inside a dream, meets a boy, has to figure out how to get out of it. it was like a weird mix of The Good Place, Meet Me in Another Life , and You've Reached Sam

thoughts: this was… weird. i thought I knew where it was going but then the climax was confusing and I'm not sure about the ending?? and overall the world building was really weird and, like, difficult to establish?? but like at the end of the day it's still clever and genuinely funny so there’s that. (there's an incredible "duck ex machina" pun that made me chortle like an old man for like four minutes straight.)
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great book and I enjoyed the characters growth. Loved the friends and how this all worked out. I enjoyed the characters journey to finding oneself and others. I hope to read more by this author again.
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A Little Like Waking by Adam Rex, 400 pages. Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan Publishing), 2023. $21.
Language: R (32 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG
Each day is as perfect as the last and the next—Zelda (18yo) even manages to somehow easily avoid a collision between her bike and a car. The weird part is when a boy she has never seen before shows up during the not-accident. Seeing him shifts Zelda’s view of her reality, as if everything is too realistic—or not realistic enough?
Rex’s narration style is unique because his setting is unique, and I can’t decide whether I like it or absolutely hate it. It works for the story, despite being random and unexplainable in ways that would normally annoy me as a reader. But the random elements as well as the occasional shifts from text to graphic novel pages tell the story well—and I even laughed a couple of times. Don’t let the unconventionality of it scare you away.
Zelda is depicted as White on the cover, and Langston is depicted as Black. The mature content rating is for partial nudity and kissing. The violence rating is for mild fantasy violence.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen
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Zelda's story was a pretty cute adventure!

The target audience seemed to be a bit younger than me, so the journey got a bit repetitive after a while. Still an interesting read that I think middle grade readers will enjoy.
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I was skeptical at first, but am so happy I continued reading. I loved this dream world and the characters, especially Patches! I was constantly changing my mind about who was dreaming. I was constantly changing my theories about where this story was going. I never got it quite right, so kudos for that! My biggest critique is that it read a little bit like a middle grade, instead of a young adult book, but it was still a wonderful read!
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I adore Adam Rex with my whole heart so I had a feeling I was gonna love this one, and my feeling was right!! From page one reading this was like curling up in a warm bed, a relief to be in the hands of a wordsmith and a delight to just be sucked in for a while. It's a perfect combo of hilarity and fresh, surprising prose with a surreal storyline that brought me back to beloved media of my childhood like The Phantom Tollbooth and Labyrinth and The Point! and The NeverEnding Story--plus the kind of very sweet, soft, tender romance that can only happen between two people having the weirdest adventure possible. You know that feeling when you're waking up from a dream and realizing that nothing happening in it makes any sense, but in the dream it was completely ordinary? This whole book feels like that, as it should, because it's about two teens realizing they're in a dream, or maybe in a story, and trying to find the way out.

Zelda is so incredibly charming! Patches the talking cat is the ideal animal companion! Langston is the sweetest boy to ever boy! And i adored every wacky side character, from Clara the postal worker and Erx the wizard to the laundromat clown and the giant duck. All of this is made infinitely more wonderful by Rex's illustrations, which have always delighted me and continue to do so, giving visual life to the comedic weirdness of the dreamscape. 

And as with every book that lives in my heart, I wept with my whole crinkled up face at the end.
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As a lover of both The Good Place and You've Reached Sam... I felt this book did not live up to those expectations. It just fell flat and made me so confused and lost.
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Prepare to be whisked away on a mesmerizing adventure that will captivate your imagination and leave you yearning for more. "Little Like Waking" by Adam Rex is a literary gem that not only dazzles with its enchanting storytelling but also conjures vivid images that could easily translate into a breathtaking cinematic experience. Brace yourself for a narrative that seamlessly blends fantasy and reality, leaving you immersed in a world that feels both familiar and delightfully otherworldly.

From the very first page, it becomes abundantly clear that "Little Like Waking" is a work of pure imagination. Adam Rex's rich prose and masterful storytelling transport readers to a realm where dreams and reality intertwine, blurring the boundaries between what is possible and what lies beyond our wildest fantasies. The book's pages come alive with vibrant characters, magical landscapes, and heart-pounding adventures that leave you hanging on to every word.

The book has the extraordinary ability to paint vivid visuals in the reader's mind. With every turn of the page, Rex's evocative descriptions create a cinematic experience, where scenes unfold like carefully crafted frames from a movie reel. It's impossible not to picture the breathtaking landscapes, intricate creatures, and heart-stopping action that leap off the page, enticing your imagination and making you yearn for this epic tale to be brought to life on the big screen.

The characters in "Little Like Waking" are as unforgettable as they are diverse. From the charismatic protagonist with unwavering determination to the enigmatic companions encountered along the way, each character possesses a depth that sparks emotions and resonates long after the book is finished. It is no stretch of the imagination to envision these complex personalities stepping out of the pages and onto the silver screen, captivating audiences with their quirks, strengths, and vulnerabilities.

The story itself is a sweeping adventure, mystery, and self-discovery. As the protagonist navigates the intricacies of a world that defies logic and challenges beliefs, readers are taken on a journey of personal growth and profound revelations. The narrative is crafted with such finesse that it feels as if you're watching a thrilling blockbuster unfold, complete with breathtaking set pieces, spine-tingling suspense, and jaw-dropping plot twists.

It is no surprise that "Little Like Waking" has the potential to become a captivating movie. The rich world-building, imaginative visuals, and compelling storyline lend themselves perfectly to the silver screen treatment. From the dazzling special effects to the spellbinding cinematography, the cinematic adaptation of this book has the power to transport audiences on an unforgettable voyage, inviting them to explore the depths of their own dreams and aspirations.

"Little Like Waking" is a remarkable literary feat that beckons for its story to be translated into a visually stunning cinematic masterpiece. Rex's exquisite prose, combined with his vivid imagination, creates a world so vivid and extraordinary that it practically begs for its story to be brought to life on the big screen. Prepare to be whisked away on an unforgettable journey, where dreams and reality collide in a symphony of wonder and adventure.
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I don't see this book it doing well in our libraries, but it's a really neat play on format and I hope it is successful.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for the ARC.
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- thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc to review! 

- the story was a little disjointed for me, considering a lot of the plot was in the dream space both Zelda and Langston are stuck in together. the dreams were wacky and fantastical, and though i don’t mind that kind of thing, a lot of the randomness drew me out of the story and had me questioning a lot of what was going on. 

- a decent debut otherwise, but the randomness of the dreams really impacted my reading experience, as i felt myself drawing back more than being engaged.
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The concept of this book was so interesting and reminded me of "Elsewhere" by Gabrielle Zevin, which has always been one of my favorite books. However, the book started right in the middle of nonsensical action and after about 100 pages with no real plot, I just couldn't get into it. The author did a very good job of capturing the bizarre feelings that dreams can give you, there was just not enough to ground the book for me in understanding what the point was, so I couldn't get myself to finish it.
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I adored the story, the world building was amazing. I love meeting the different characters. I felt completely immersed in the story and couldn't stop reading it.  The writing was also really nice.  I couldn't put the book down and I can't wait for others to read and enjoy this story as well.
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'A Little Like Waking' is such a lovely book. If I had a quarter for all the times I've thought this, I would have enough for a down payment. And my thoughts ring very true. This novel oozes life from its pages. I feel like I was reading a graphic novel from how well every person, thing, and scene was described. The world-building is fantastic! Every character and thing written in this book is so relatable that they feel real. I want them to be real.

The main gang: Zelda, Langston, Erx, and Patches are charismatic and fun that they make any situation funnier/ridiculous the more you think of it. I didn't expect these characters to have such depth that all their actions seem unique to who they are, which is wonderful. For example, I especially didn't like Zelda because she seemed like the self-centered type. However, her character fits the narrative, so I came to like what she was supposed to be for the story! Patches the cat is my favorite because he adds so much prestige and snark to the writing and story; I adore him. 

From the title and beautiful cover, all the way to the acknowledgments, I was completely intrigued by this story and the themes it offered. Even when I put it down to take a beak, I still thought about it! (I'm thinking about it as you read this very sentence.) The beginning and the ending of this book are especially my favorites. The writing in these places is especially strong and well-organized!

There are a few things I didn't quite like in this novel, though: I found it odd that the book started in middle grade and seemed to suddenly switch to YA. I even assumed that Zelda was an 8th/9th grader initially! The book should consistently keep the YA themes and language throughout because it fits so well! The poetic and lyrical quality of the writing is so beautiful and fitting. Still, it becomes confusing when this is paired with a heavy imagery scene, as it became hard for me to understand what was happening. I had to reread some of these areas. 

And lastly, my favorite sections are the beginning and end. The middle of this book feels a bit random because the pacing feels like a push and pull. I also feel this with the development of Zelda and Langston's romance. Some ideas are rushed in some areas, and certain scenes are super slow and drags on. It makes sense because of the type of setting (A super wacky dream). Still, the middle could use better plot organization and pacing. The romance can feel less like a jump with more tension building because it feels like Zelda basically rushed everything (Which makes perfect sense in context, though!)

Overall, 'A Little Like Waking' is awesome. It's so relatable, and the writing is so fresh that it is such a satisfying read. Thank you to NetGallery and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers of this book for accepting my request on this read.

This book is definitely something I would’ve devoured as a young middle grade individual. It gives so many dimensions and creative thinking that I would’ve loved. As an adult it didn’t really connect with me how I wanted it to, but that’s not to say this isn’t a great book because it is. It’s something I’d  definitely recommend to the younger people in my life. I give it a solid 3.5/5
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This was a super fun, quick read that was a mix of dreamscape and fantasy. It was more of a middle grade novel to me, but it was fun going through the world!
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This story was not what I wasn't expected in a good way. This story blew my mind. I couldn't wait to pick it up when I had to put it down. This story kept me on the edge of my seat
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This book was a fun experience. It is a cute kids book about Zelda, a girl who realizes she is in a dream world when she runs into a new person for the first time in her life. Langston introduces her to the rest of the dream scape which he has been studying. Together they realize that whoever the dreamer is needs to wake up, and they go on an adventure to find the edge of the dream world to do so. With Patches the cat, Zelda, and Langston all convinced they’re the dreamer, they each have control over some of the dream world. But who is the dreamer? And what dreams and nightmares exist in the dreamscape?

This book feels like a fun mix of Alice in wonderland, The Good Place, and Inception. It feels whimsical and interesting, and the character development from everyone in the book (including the obviously dream created characters) is really fun. This is a lovely adventure about finding your strength and facing your fears.

Parents guide:
Sex & Nudity: mild 
Violence & Gore: mild 
Profanity: mild
Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking: mild
Frightening & Intense Scenes: mild ( death of a character on screen, death of a family member in the past, nightmares, someone in a coma)
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Thank you NetGalley and publishers for the opportunity to read and review. This book is definitely for a younger audience, I would put it in the middle grade category. Going in with that knowledge, the book was pretty good. The characters were alright, but there really was no like-likeness to them, the characterization fell flat and didn't find any connection to them. I found it quite hard to care about anything happening in the book unfortunately.
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