Brilliant Nightmare (Book #1) by Edita Birschbach
Blurb from an email the author sent me:
"Except for the occasional make-out session with her best friend Troy, Ruby doesn't expect much from her senior year of high school. The predictable, quiet days don't bother her because in her intense nightmares she's Lucie, a Czech teenager living under Nazi occupation. Ruby's pretty ticked off by the dreams and even more by her knowledge of Czech and German. Since her family has never made a peep in a foreign language, the only explanation of her linguistic super powers is that the nightmares are the memories of her past life. When a new girl and then a handsome exchange student arrive at school, the dreams become entangled with reality, shaking up Ruby and Troy's idyllic lives.
Romantic, suspenseful and mildly sarcastic, "Brilliant Nightmare" is a love story with a past."
This book has a very interesting and unique concept, which I enjoyed. Ruby lives in today's times and is a normal girl in high school, except that she keeps having these realistic and awful nightmares. She doesn't dare tell her parents, or anyone else, except her boyfriend Troy. She speaks perfect Czech, and the only explanation is that her nightmares are actually memories of a past life. She was reincarnated to where she is now. Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, Ms. Birschbach does a good job of making it seem like a reality in this story. The characters are well developed and interesting. It is written in high-school vernacular, which is perfect for high schoolers, and not so great for everyone else, but it is well done for what it is. I really enjoyed the story of Lucie and her family in Czechoslovakia. It was sad, yes, but it was also very touching and well written. I felt drawn to the characters there. Unfortunately, I did not feel the same way about Ruby and her current family. Ruby is not the kind of girl I would want my daughters hanging out with, and the things she and her friends do are not what I want my daughters to be doing at that age. I was not at all that way, and so I do not relate to Ruby at all. She really irritated me. She was very Bella Swan-esque in pining and whining for Troy while she was dating Adam, who was far superior to Troy. Ahhhhh!!!! She drove me crazy! She and her friends get drunk, are "intimate" with boys, swear, and do everything their mothers do not want them to do. Some of her so-called friends are big bullies as well. So there you have it. Although the concept is interesting and unique, and had a lot of potential, it just fell flat for me. I didn't like the language, the under-age drinking, the "intimacy" scenes and pregnancy scares (twice with two different guys), or the main character. I really did not like that Ruby and Adam were "intimate" a lot, in her bed, in her house with her parents home, and that it was all she could talk or think about. I know I'm conservative when it comes to this topic, but I just do not think it's appropriate in books. I know that kids do it. It happens. But is that the standard we want to set for our children? I say no.
I also read Part I of book #2 Brilliant Pain, and it was not what I had expected. I thought it was a little strange, but I didn't get to see what happened in Part II, so it could have come together.
I am not sure who this book would be for. Adults will not be interested in the high school vernacular, and it isn't appropriate for teenagers. Maybe college kids?
Rating: R (Not appropriate for younger readers. Profanity, bullying, talk of "virginity" and losing it, and lots of "intimacy." There are many scenes, talk of it and about it. There is also a character that twice thinks she is pregnant and brings Planned Parenthood and pregnancy tests into the story.)
Recommendation: Adult (College?)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.