Monday, May 1, 2023

REVIEW: The Daydreams by Laura Hankin


Honestly, I don't really know what drew me to this book on NetGalley but I'm glad it did. It was part flashback to behind the scenes of what I imagine to be the makings of a teen sitcom/dramady on what I imagine to be on something like the Disney channel and part present day-13 years later. We come to learn how they came to be and how they came to cease to exist and somehow end up doing a reunion show. 

The characters: Summer, Noah, Liana, and Kat are all given at least a 'soliloquy' to allow us into their heads, but really, this story is told through the eyes of Kat (Katherine) who is now a lawyer and was the most resistant to doing any reunion show at all; it's only her enormous guilt that obligates her to do it. We learn through the weaving of past and present how all of them contributed to their ultimate failure and it's what makes the behind the scenes so interesting. You get to know them and see them form fast friendships and then as the attention and fame gets unevenly spread, you get to see how jealousy and hurt feelings and things that never get said seem to grow and grow until their big moment gets ruined. It was that friendship and tension and then the aftermath, years later, that I think many will find interesting. I suspect many of us have that one thing we did (or didn't do) that still haunts us all these years later and to have a chance to try to rectify it the best way that you can seems pretty appealing (and daunting). 

The Daydreams gives us that chance to live through characters who attempt to 'make things right' and shows us how even when our guilt doesn't really change, we do, and that can make our fantasies of forgiveness or repentance that much harder to achieve. While the exploration of their youth was entertaining, it was the examination of them now that was so relatable and interesting. 


A deliciously entertaining novel about the stars of a popular teen show from the early 2000s—and the reunion special, thirteen years after their scandalous flameout, that will either be their last chance at redemption, or destroy them all for good.

Back in 2004, The Daydreams had it all: a cast of innocent-seeming teenagers acting and singing their hearts out, amazing ratings, and a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that steamed up fan fiction forums. Then, during the live season two finale, it all imploded, leaving everyone scrambling to understand why.

Afterward, the four stars went down very different paths. Kat is now a lawyer in Washington, DC. Liana is the bored wife of a famous athlete. Noah, the show’s golden boy, emerged unscathed and is poised to become a household name. And Summer, the object of Noah’s fictional (and maybe real-life) affections, is the cautionary tale.

But now the fans are demanding a reunion special. The stars all have private reasons to come back: forgiveness, revenge, a second chance with a first love. But as they tentatively rediscover the magic of the original show, old secrets threaten to resurface—including the real reason behind their downfall.

Will this reunion be a chance to make things right? Or will it be the biggest mess the world has ever seen? No matter what, the ratings will be wild.

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