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Awake and Dreaming

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,241 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
Theo and her young, irresponsible mother seem trapped in their miserable, poverty-stricken life. Theo dreams of belonging to a “real” family, and her dream seems to come true when she is mysteriously adopted by the large, warm Kaldor family. But as time passes, the magic of Theo’s new life begins to fade, and soon she finds herself back with her mother. Were the Kaldors re ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published May 25th 1999 by Puffin (first published April 1st 1996)
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When I first read this book three or four years ago, I was struck by it's depth and feeling, as the emotion had been coming from an eleven year old. It was a beautiful story, focused completely on the love a young girl needs from her family, and I was so touched that when I dug it up again a year ago, I couldn't believe I'd forgotten it's amazingness. Today, having forgotten about it, I suddenly imagine a life where a person can have a dream about something else, but still love what they're doin ...more
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow.. I had such a deep, emotional attachment to this book. I still do. It's a big part of my childhood. Some say a good book is determined by a writer's ability to write. I partially disagree. I believe that every book will strike a reader differently. I found this book to resonate with my emotions at the time of reading so deeply that this book will always rank up there with Austen and Shakespeare. I wish more people knew about Kit Pearson. There's a lot of talented authors who go unknown and ...more
Nathan Triangle
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: term-3-reading
This was a very good book about a young girl named Theo who lives a tough life. She and her young mother are very poor and they keep moving from school to school across Vancouver because they can't afford rent in there apartments. When her mom meets a boy and they fall in love, Theo has to go live with her aunt for awhile in Victoria because the boy who her mom falls in love with doesn‘t like kids. On the ferry, she meets a nice family. The kind of family that she dreams of. Then she‘s running o ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE IN THE UNIVERSE!~
Recommended to Lily by: Terry Costantini
Oh my.... This book was absolutly amazing!
Theo such a young girl who wants to be in a "real" family.
I love this book so much! The pation in the writing was
Theo,I love her character! She is so sweet but sad at the same time!
I felt so bad for her since she had to pan handle and live the way that she did!
But I was so happy when she made friends and pretty much gotten
what she needed the most, LOVE!
I hope to read MORE SOON!
I love all t
One of my favourite books of all time. I could happily read this book over, and over, and over, and over....

I read this book the first time, shortly after it was published in 1998. It probably would have been right at the end of Grade 10, or the summer after. I laughed, I cried, and the book landed on my all-time favourites list.

I read the book the second time, 10 years later, while rereading some of my favourites books of all time. I wanted to soak up the style and inspire myself for my own nov
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Maybe it's just that I hate books that talk about writers and usually dislike ones about kids who love reading. I'm a reader, I'm a writer, it's a part of myself I know intimately, you never give me any insights on it that I couldn't have figured out myself ("reading is good! Reading is an escape from a cruel world!"), move on. I read to live vicariously through your characters, don't give me that copout bs.
Hannah G.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
this book has stuck with me throughout the years and its one that i've never been able to forget due to the amount of feelings it invoked in me while i was reading it. theo's loneliness, her desperate longing for a family to belong to and her use of books to escape her life hit very close to home the first time i read it. it still does.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps one of the most heart-wrenching and heart-warming childrens novels I've ever read. Having read it long ago in grade school, it is the book I look back on most fondly of. The story is beautiful.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A childhood favourite. I haven't read it recently, but it has always stuck with me.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story! Theo is 9 and has seen some of the seedier side of life. Her mom only cares about herself and doesn't have enough money to take proper care of Theo. School is hard also -the kids tease her and she learns to ignore them. She doesn't have the look of a well cared for and loved child. So she lives in her books, daydreaming and being with her book 'friends'.

One day, on a ferry ride her wish to belong to a family comes true...Is it too good to be true? Theo hopes not, but real life does
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, kid-lit
One of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors, set in one of my favourite places. I've reread it dozens of times; this is the book that made me want to be a writer.

"'I can give you some hope. I think you have it in you to survive all this. I think you're special. You could be what I was - a writer.... And if your life gets really difficult, Theo, there are two things you can do. You can force yourself to see people at a distance, like someone in a story. Then they'll lose their power
Wow, such a good book! Real and sad but it has a dreamy quality to it. Contemporary (90s) but I didn't even feel like I was reading a more contemporary book. I love how Theo loved books and daydreamed. I did not expect a ghost to be in it, but it ended up being an interesting layer to the story. I loved their conversations.
This book made me remember and feel like being a kid again. Longing for friends, playing outside. It made me feel like being a writer could be important. It's a children's boo
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great book, but a heartbreaking story. A child with a selfish and terrible mother learns what a loving family should be. This is eye opening for those of us who come from loving families. It makes someone realize that there are children out there who are suffering, because of their family situation. The scenes with the mother are truly hard to read. You want to knock some sense into her. That said, this book is great. I highly recommend for teachers who may be working with underprivile ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book really transported me into the characters situation, completely forgetting about my own personal obstacles I was tackling. It was filled with love, longing, emotion and mystery. I recall this book giving me hope in tough personal situations within my own family dynamics at the time. This story not only made me appreciate my loved ones, but it also showed me my inner strength in overcoming tough situations in stead of running from them, which is an important lesson at any age let alone ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've started reading more young adult fiction lately because in a lot of ways I find them less constrained by genre as adult fiction seems to be.

This was my first Kit Pearson book. I found it powerful and sad. She has an expert grasp of seeing the world the way a kid would see things. Some of it was so visceral to me, that I found myself crying. It's a young adult book that respects the innocence and childhood of that age, which I think is really important in YA fiction. It has a honesty to it
Christa Brunt
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a kid, and it's been sitting on my bookshelf awaiting a reread for 15+ years. It was fun to experience the story again, but from the perspective of actually living in Victoria (I'd only visited it as a child), it was fun to follow along with clear images of the setting in my mind. I also think that it's a neat story, something is relatable (directly on indirectly) to a lot of kids.
Dayanira Reyes
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read it 16 years ago while staying in Victoria, BC for an ESL Program. Such a beautiful, sweet book. A tender experience while reading it, innocent, and yet magical about the power of books and the delights of reading.

I enjoyed reading it again, after all these years.
Alex Drysdale
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quick read that keeps you turning the pages.

The story is really fun and keeps you guessing the whole way :)
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Good but a bit boring and predictable at some parts
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pretty neat to watch my son appreciate the parallels between the life of the ideal family in the book and his own ... but also between the titles Theo read and those we've already read together!
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Navjeet Badyal
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great novel for us to reflect on what other people may be going through and to be happy with the things we have in life. The novel is a must read!!
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book somewhere around the age of 8 or 9 , before I was ever really into reading. My neighbor's son was moving out and he gave my brother and I all of his books from his childhood. I was bored one afternoon and picked this book up from my shelf and read the first few pages and before I knew it, it was bedtime and I had finished the whole thing. I can honestly say that this book sparked my love of reading and to this day it is my absolute favorite book. Something about it just re ...more
2.5, if GR would let you do fractional ratings.
Pearson is an excellent writer in that her descriptions of everyday settings and events are vivid and very realistic. The book reminds me a bit of the Wizard of Oz movie that way: we meet Theo in her dark, rainy, miserable world of poverty and neglect, but when she is inexplicably transported to the home of the Kaldor family, where she wants for nothing and is finally happy, we're treated to a world of bright color and scent. Pearson even accurately
Pippin Andrews
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kit Pearson sets the tone as she describes the poverty stricken life of Theo, a nine year old girl, living in an impoverished neighbourhood of Vancouver, with her young inexperienced mother Rae. Theo spends the nights alone, whilst her mum does two-bit night jobs to make ends meet, Theo’s only comforts being the company of a ratty old doll, Sabrina, a stray cat that sneaks in at night and a book. Through books Theo is able to escape the hardship and imagine life, being part of a happy family. Th ...more
Terry Costantini
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
On the suggestion of a friend and colleague, I read this book to my Grade 6/7 classroom. I am so glad I did. Kit Pearson writes with elegance, and her words often moved me while painting pictures in my mind. The story acts as a window into the difficult life of a depressed and often "grey" young girl named Theo. I do not want to spoil the message of this book, because part of the magic of reading for me, is deciphering a book’s significance as you go. I can only say that the message will affect ...more
Joshua Blanc
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Awake and Dreaming is part ghost-story, part fairytale, and overall a compelling study of the harsh nature of reality. It unfolds in three acts, following the trials of a nine year-old girl named Theo, whose mother, Rae, gave birth to her when only a teen. She is dragged from school to school in the city of Vancouver. Her clothes are rarely washed, her shoes worn through. What little money Rae makes goes towards cigarettes and new clothes for herself, and when work is scarce Theo is forced to da ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Kit Pearson spent her childhood between Edmonton Alberta and Vancouver, British Columbia. As a high-school student, she returned to Vancouver to be educated at Crofton House School. She obtained a degree in English Literature at the University of Alberta, and spent several years following the degree doing odd jobs or travelling in Europe.
In 1975, she began her Library degree at the University of B
More about Kit Pearson

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