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The Place Beyond Her Dreams

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2021 National Indie Excellence Awards Winner for Young Adult Fiction!
2021 Indies Book of the Year Awards Finalist for Young Adult Fiction!
2021 Best Book Awards Finalist for Young Adult Fiction!

“We are most courageous at our weakest; when we believe we have faced what we fear the most and have nothing more to lose.”

Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, Oby Aligwekwe’s Young Adult debut—told from the viewpoint of her main character—is inspired by her West African heritage, fables, and spiritual beliefs. Ona’s journey reveals the power of choice, the true source of happiness, and, most importantly, the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose.

At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain transports her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities, free of turf wars and other ills that plague the earthly dimension she lives in. In Luenah, where her grandfather awaits her, Ona learns she is an Eri, one bestowed with unique intuitive and spiritual gifts passed down from generation-to-generation.

On her eighteenth birthday, she returns to Luenah and is handed a box to deposit her ‘exchange’ for love and happiness—her greatest desires. Burdened by her quest, Ona crosses paths with danger and heartbreak as the two men that love her dearly are viciously pitted against each other. As evil looms, she learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. Now, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.

“Young adults and older readers will be enchanted by this fantasy's magic, romance, and life lessons.” —Booklife by Publishers Weekly

“Young adults ages 13 and up will find The Place Beyond Her Dreams an inviting, thought-provoking adventure that surveys family, communities, and the power and consequences of personal decisions.” —D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

242 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 12, 2021

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About the author

Oby Aligwekwe

3 books174 followers
Oby Aligwekwe is the author of Nfudu and Hazel House. Her Young Adult debut, The Place Beyond Her Dreams, takes readers on a magical journey to discover what matters most. A talented writer, Oby is also an inspirational speaker and a chartered accountant. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her family and supports her community through her charity Éclat Beginnings.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Amanda at Bookish Brews.
317 reviews205 followers
June 8, 2023
4 dreamy, magical, reminiscent stars!

The Place Beyond Her Dreams is a promising book about a young girl who's family takes in a young house boy and raise him as their own. Along the way, her grandfather dies unexpectedly, they fall in love, and a love triangle surfaces, and amidst it all, she realizes she has powers to travel to a magical realm while she sleeps.

It has all the makings of a book that I like: magical realism, love triangles, fast paced, dream-like story telling. A fantasy set in Africa? Fantastic! Amazing! Beautiful! STUNNING! The writing was written with a fun prose that felt like a reminiscent memory, so it appealed to older readers too. I loved that tactic! Honestly, I really enjoyed reading it.

The author seemed to have put a lot of care into each character, and by keeping the dreamy prose it separated you a touch from some of the harsh moments, while still keeping close just enough to like the characters. I didn't realize there was going to be some intense moments, as it starts out with the MC a young girl. But overall I enjoyed it quite a bit!

Big Takeaway
The prose was dreamy, the story absolutely matched in a great way. The story was a bit rougher than I expected, but I did still really enjoy the story and the prose. I especially loved Luenah, and wish we dove into it more, but I was satisfied with it regardless.

*I received an ARC for free and am leaving this review voluntarily*

Content warning: Domestic abuse!!!!

**Big plus, I've spoken to the author of this book, and she is absolutely wonderful and, to me, that is HUGE encouragement to support her. :)
Profile Image for Dead Sirius.
156 reviews
January 9, 2021
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Trigger warning: this book contains some scenes of domestic violence.

The Place Beyond Her Dreams starts with Ona who quickly experiences a great loss in her life. She soon discovers her ability to travel to a dream like world. She knows she will have to sacrifice something to achieve her purpose in life, but her journey to that discovery comes at many ups and downs.

This book is light on the fantasy aspect. I was expecting more fantasy, specifically more time in Luenah, the dream-like world. However, the story was far more grounded in reality. Not just in plot, but in themes. I cannot say I have much experience in royalty or magic, but the struggles Ona goes through resonated with me. Her loss, love, inability to choose one thing or another, and constant fighting what she knows is technically the "right" thing for things she knows matter more, are all things we've experienced.

What stood out to me the most was the love Oby Aligwekwe has for each one of her characters, both he good and the bad. The way she wrote each character, you could feel how much attention to detail and character development Oby Aligwekwe poured into them. The language also felt magical at times. Her use of imagery and description really sold the "fairy tale" aspect more than the plot. I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to future YA releases from this author.
Profile Image for Alex Nonymous.
Author 24 books427 followers
January 17, 2021
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Place Beyond Her Dreams in exchange for an honest review.

In theory this book isn't my type, but Aligwekwe's handles it so well that I was surprised to find myself thoroughly invested from beginning to end.

The Place Beyond her Dreams is a high-society romance with fantasy overtones set in Africa with some heavy religious overtones and considering I tend to stay away from high-society dramas and am not religious, I figured I'd picked up a bad book for my personal tastes and would slug through it, but I was pleasantly surprised by how wrapped up I got in this story. The ending is a tad rushed but other than that, this is a really immersive, unique story. If I liked it even though this is the exact type of story I normally flee from, then that means that if this is normally your genre, you've definitely got to give this one a shot.
Profile Image for Booksndbeyond.
26 reviews
June 7, 2021
First of all I want to thank NetGalley for th ARC and the opportunity to review this great book.

The Place Beyond Her Dreams tells us the story of Ona, a whimsical, sweet, yet a little innocent child. At the start of the story she suffers a great loss, the death of her grandfather who was very dear to her and from that moment on, she finds herself able to travel to a dream world where she reunites with her grandfather who instructs her on her life's mission. Soon Ona will start on a journey of ups and downs to fullfill such mission.

My first impression of the book was that it was going to be a story full of magic and that it somehow tended to the supernatural or fantastic but as I read i discovere that i was magicla in a whole other sense of the world. If I had to summarize it I would say this is "A Story About Life". Ona is the perfect picture of the young adult who is embarking on adult life And the sotyr reflects upon some of humanities most important issues such as civil and domestic violence, love, the purpose of one's life and the hardships of audlthood.

Personally I was expecting the book to take place entirely in the dream world "Luenah". At first when I discovered what it really was about I was upset and maybe a little disappointed but as I continued to read I discovered that I really enjoyed how real the story was and how much I could relate to it and learn from its teachings.

I totally recommend "A Place Beyond Her Dreams" for readers who don't know what new book to start and are looking for a light fantasy open minded book and also for those who enjoy reflecting on what they read.
Profile Image for Marilu .
84 reviews79 followers
March 4, 2021
"The Place Beyond Her Dreams" by Oby Aligwekwe follows Ona, who quickly experiences a great loss in her life, her grandfather. Shortly, She discovers her ability to travel to a dream-like world, the mystical Luena, a place of infinite possibilities and the promise of no earthly troubles. Ona learns she is an Eri, one bestowed with unique intuitive and spiritual gifts passed down from generation-to-generation. However, things come with a price and many downs.

This book is inspired by West African heritage, fables, and spiritual beliefs that are deeply immersed that I could gush! I am so in love with this book and looking forward to obtaining my physical copy. I love magical realism and I rooted for Ona the entire way.

TW: Domestic abuse / violence

Thank you, NetGalley and Eclat Books for the ARC for my honest review.

I just reviewed The Place Beyond Her Dreams by Oby Aligwekwe. #ThePlaceBeyondHerDreams #NetGalley
Profile Image for Natasha.
257 reviews3 followers
March 10, 2021
I received an e-arc of this from Netgalley for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I didn't expect to fall in love with this as much as I did.
The writing was absolutely incredible and I found myself entranced with each word. The world of Luenah was so beautifully written and described that I had no issues with seeing and feeling as though I was there.
The story of Ona was heartbreaking, I thought this would be an easy read but it definitely had a deeper message of choices made, love, betrayal, and loyalty to one's self. I felt everything that Ona felt and cried when she cried, hurt when she hurt. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I am glad she found her purpose. I loved Ona and Omek and at first, liked Albert too. by Aligwekwe made her characters come to life with her writing.

The story was so complex, moved beautifully, and was tied up so well. The ending left me feeling hopeful to overcoming personal fears, barriers, and life in general. Definitely a positive ending with amazing themes and emotions.
Profile Image for Kelly Van Moer.
52 reviews4 followers
January 12, 2021
A little book full of life lessons. I would have loved a more in dept connection with the characters. A little book with a lot of story.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,425 reviews215 followers
February 28, 2021
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so it took me a while to get into The Place Beyond Her Dreams. I'm just going to be honest here. The writing was really great but I just couldn't connect to the characters that well. I'm most definitely putting the entire blame on me because it's basically my fault. I did try.. but I'm not sure I tried hard enough (ya know?).

Don't get me wrong, the story telling was beyond magical. It really was. Even the whole adventure of going into another world was pretty interesting and entertaining at points. I just couldn't get past not being able to connect with anyone. I liked the characters enough to keep reading but that's about it.

In the end, I'm not going to give up on Oby or her books. I definitely look forward to the next adventure of hers.

Profile Image for Devika.
442 reviews15 followers
March 16, 2021
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for a voluntarily and honest review.
Original review and more on my blog Boekensteeg

The Place Beyond Her Dreams is Oby Aligwekwe's third book and her debut in the Young Adult genre. Previously the books Hazel House and NFUDU - Skirts, Ties & Taboos were released. This is the first book I have read by Oby Aligwekwe.

At the age of seven, Ona already knows that she is different, but when her grandfather suddenly dies and she ends up in Lueneh during an unconsciousness, she discovers what it is that makes her different. She is an Eri, destined to perform a special task on Earth. In order to do this, she must exchange her greatest desire for a box that will preserve her most important memories of self-development. Ona agrees, but as she gets older Ona learns that everything has a price. As the chief's daughter, she is the one who must marry the prince of a rival village. But is this where her heart feels at home? What price should she pay in exchange for the box? How will this affect her dreams?

The story has a slow start in which the reader is introduced to Ona and Luenah. Although Oby Aligwekwe maintains a relatively slow pace throughout the story, the twists and turns in the story ensure that the tension remains present in the story. What I really liked is that The Place Beyond Her Dreams is set in Africa, a continent not yet really known in Young Adult fantasy books.

Trigger warnings that Oby Aligwekwe warns about are physical and emotional abuse, violence and religious undertones in the story. Although religion is not mainly present in the story, violence and abuse are clearly present in the story. In addition to these trigger warnings, there is also a love triangle that emerges throughout the story and although Ona's final choice will not come as a surprise, in this book the love triangle was a real addition.

Choosing for you would tip the balance in the universe

Partly due to the synopsis of The Place Beyond Her Dreams, I expected that the story would mainly focus in Luenah, but the story has a completely different unexpected turn that will surprise many readers. However, this twist makes the story less fantasy than you might expect.

Nothing is ever as it seems

Ona is growing rapidly in the story, and with the help of her grandfather and Luenah, she gets the tools she needs to grow further. This book really shows what a person must go through to achieve their greatest dream. The Place Beyond Her Dreams is a book full of self-development, dreams and the misfortune you may come across. Oby Aligwekwe certainly knows how to write a story. The story feels realistic while reading, and I am very curious what else this author will have in store.
February 15, 2021
Netgalley Review #3
- The Place Beyond Her Dreams
"Release Date: March 16th 2021"

When I first read this book I was interested but also at the same time elements had me confused so after giving it some weeks I re-read it and started to understand more.

The story alone is beautiful and very emotional at times but the element of travelling to another time and place gave me goosebumps because of how much I have always wondered if it was possible to do. Makes you think if your dreams are a portal to another world would it be like the world that was pictured in this book.

The characters are all well written and this was the first time in a book I didn't find myself hating any even if some deserved to be hated .witch was a nice change.

I dont want to give anything away but with that being said this book had be hooked after the first chapter and was engaging right though however about halfway in I had a moment where one line made me think of how the book was gonna give me the big shock. All I can say is I was right but not 100%.

If you want to read something that will have you cry at some moments and then laugh and be happy plus exited at other times with the added love triangle for good measure then this is a great book to read.

PS This book has a very Nadia type of feel to it and I wouldn't be surprised if the author was inspired by that story.

"I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review"
Profile Image for Ashley.
8 reviews
January 16, 2021
4 mysterious and ethereal stars

This book is a coming-of-age novel that features a love triangle and a touch of mystery. This book follows Ona, a girl who finds out she is an Eri and can travel to another world. She must learn to find her balance and her place in the world. Torn between choosing a houseboy who she has grown up with and a prince from a neighboring town, Ona must choose wisely who will help her find her purpose and who will cause her to lose herself.

What initially drew me to this book was the intriguing cover art. The next thing that drew me in was that it was a fantasy set in Africa. I went for the book on those two things alone and I can say that I am not disappointed. I loved the ending and the coming-of-age theme with a mysterious twist. Once the book picked up, I found myself having a hard time putting it down. The writing style was lovely and very detailed. I liked the two main male characters and the way they developed throughout the book.

The beginning of the book was a bit slow and the ending seemed a little rushed to me. I would have liked to see story after the climax so that all my questions were answered. The main character left me exasperated at times as she seemed to claim exhaustion and put off her feelings and problems using the excuse
*I received an ARC for free in exchange for my honest review
2 reviews
February 2, 2021
This is a book that shouldn't be judged on the opinion of others.

Dear reader, read it yourself and allow your mind transport YOU to a place beyond your dreams.

O.A. is clearly a versatile author, from Nfudu, Hazel House and now this lovely read.
Profile Image for harms.
218 reviews25 followers
February 25, 2021
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!!

TW: this book includes scenes of domestic abuse
The Place Beyond Her Dreams starts with the main character Ona experiencing a tragic loss in her life. Soon after, she discovers her ability to travel to a dream like world, and sets out on a journey to achieve her purpose in life.

I loved the writing style, I found it super enjoyable and easy to read. I especially loved the writing when we visited Luenah (the dream world). I thought more time would’ve been spent in Luenah, but I’m actually glad most of the story took place in the real world. I found Ona’s story super inspiring, and was always rooting for her happiness.

I could tell that lots of effort went into developing the characters, but unfortunately I didn’t feel very connected to a few of them. I adored Ona and her grandparents though! I didn’t really care for the love triangle, but I’m not a fan of romance in general, so that’s more to do with my preferences than the book itself.

The domestic abuse was handled very well. I’m used to reading about abuse being romanticised, so at first I was a bit worried. But thankfully that wasn’t the case in this story at all. I was very impressed.

Overall, I would definitely recommend you read The Place Beyond Her Dreams!! It gets released on the 16th of March

Bonus: there was an orangutan mentioned in this book!!!! That made me very happy, 5 stars for the orangutan lol
42 reviews17 followers
March 2, 2021
The Place Beyond Her Dreams is a fairytale based on aspects of West African culture. The story opens with the main character, Ona, being introduced to a boy named Okem. Ona lives with her grandparents and her grandfather agrees to raise Okem at the request of his relatives. After her grandfather passes away, Ona falls into a deep sleep from grief and enters an alternate dimension called Luenah where she meets her grandfather again. Her grandfather tells her that in exchange for being an Eri, one who can enter Luenah, she must give a gift back to Luenah by finding her purpose in life. As Ona strives to find her purpose in life, she must also choose who she wants to marry. There is abuse in the story.

I would recommend this book to young adult readers who enjoy fairytales and stories with female protagonists. I enjoyed the level of detail that the author put into explaining how Luenah relates to the real world. I also related with the main character's lack of experience in love and it was interesting to see how she grappled with defining love in her relationships with Albert and Okem.

Profile Image for Alecia Hefner.
332 reviews3 followers
March 1, 2021
I cannot say enough how much I loved this book! I loved the thought of a place called Luenah that only some can travel too. Some of it was hard for me to read as it brought back memories that aren't all that pleasant but even in doing so it was comforting because knowing that someone else like Ona experienced those things and felt the same way that I did created a bond between the character and myself. The descriptions of the so called villians and the way they were made out to be was interesting a few of them you didn't see coming. The twist with Albert was interesting I didn't expect things to turn the way they did. I love the character of Okem he is such a strong stalwart person who still is able to be vulnerable. Beware though that there are some triggers in this book for those that have been through abuse.
January 17, 2021
Amazing work by this author. I hardly read fantasy, but when I heard about a fantasy set in Africa, I went for it. Though it was light on the fantasy and gave more romance, I still enjoyed it and would recommend to my network. The book has lots of religious undertones and reminded me of the Alchemist by Paul Coelho in the way it provides life lessons through a fairy tale. Really liked it but I think it may not be for everybody.
Profile Image for Dolly.
5 reviews
February 3, 2021
This author wrote a guide for finding your purpose. Very good read. The fantasy merged well with the real world elements to create something I'd never seen before.
Profile Image for m aaags.
304 reviews13 followers
July 20, 2021
Arc provided by netgalley for an honest review.

The Place Beyond Her Dreams begins with Ona, a young girl whose family takes in Okem and they both end up growing close despite her initial hesitations. But early on, Ona who loses her grandfather, someone whom she loved and was very close to. She quickly begins to learn that she has the ability to travel through a dream world.

The writing was beautiful and it was written in a way that made it easy to appeal to an older audience and the frequent memories included in the story made you feel vey connected into the story itself.

It was very clear from the beginning how much love Oby Aligwekwe had for her characters, it was very easy to become connected and attached to them. And while there were darker aspects of the book, the dreamy prose softened that edge which was very mesmerizing. I really enjoyed this book and the writing and I will most definitely be looking forward to reading more of Oby’s writing.

TW: domestic abuse

Date(s) read: 02/25/2021
Profile Image for Sal.
84 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2021
Kindly provided to me for free by netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Well I don't really want to say too much on this one because it definitely needs to be experienced for yourself.

The story was incredibly refreshing and unique with a dreamlike quality that persisted throughout that perfectly suited the story being told.

This is a story where coming of age meets fantasy and I thought both aspects were beautifully handled. I really enjoyed the characters and relationships in this as well.

I think the pacing could have perhaps been a little better. The beginning felt slow and the ending felt fast and there were some darker themes that took me by surprise.

That said highly recommend.
Profile Image for Khimaera.
15 reviews
February 5, 2021
If you are looking for a traditional parable with a strong moral center look no further than Oby Aligwekwe’s The Place Beyond Her Dreams. Set in Africa between two warring towns, this tale of Ona’s coming of age is sure to inspire young adult readers with messages about the consequences of our choices, the difficult journey to find our own power and purpose, and how to find our way back when we go astray. There are plenty of twists and turns along Ona’s journey that will likely surprise and enthrall young adult readers. Be aware there is a darker thematic element dealing with physical abuse and overcoming its repercussions that is not graphic in nature.

Ona’s grandfather is a dignified and respected chief of Ntebe which has been at odds with its neighboring town of Ide for many years. When the household takes in Ona from Ntebe and an older boy named Okem from Ide, the two children bond quickly and become steadfast companions as they grow up together. Enter the most eligible bachelor in the region, the Crown Prince Albert who has taken a fancy to Ona and begins courting her.

Choosing between the men she loves is no easy thing. Their contrasting personalities and perspectives offer Ona the possibility of happiness in different ways. Okem is a kind-hearted, wise, and gentle protector while Albert believes in more traditional ways that may have outgrown their purpose in the modern world. While riots continue to escalate in the towns, Ona’s relationship with both men is at the center of her conflict as she struggles to find strength from the trials placed before her by her own actions.

Integral to Ona’s story is the paradise of Luenah, a fantastical place only some chosen people can access. It serves as a place of wisdom where her grandfather’s spirit gives her a special box as a rite of passage. To stay in Luenah, Ona must place something of great value in the box. Finding the answer to what that is surrounds the central conflict of the tale. By the end of the story, Ona and the readers may come to understand that our journey is often the destination itself even if we wander or fall from our path from time to time. It is in those places that we are tested and have the potential to become stronger than we ever thought possible.

** Thank you to Eclat Books and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased review **
Profile Image for Kathy.
576 reviews13 followers
July 14, 2023
This seemed to me more like a fairy tale than any fantasy. That didn’t make it a bad read by any means.
While it may be set in the ancient times of a fantasy world, it is still a sweet story of a boy from the wrong side of the tracks falling in love with the girl from a wealthy family. Ona loses her dearly loved grandfather and goes into a trance upon being told. Her grandfather appears to her, and she finds she is in a magical world called Luenah. This magical world that she can sometimes access helps her get through some very bad times in her life in the real world.

This is a really nice book for young adults. It does involve some domestic violence. I don’t think the violence is as brutally vivid as it is implied. I also don’t think there is any young adult that shouldn’t be aware such things can happen and that it can be stopped.

In summary, a nice read. Well-written and enjoyable.
March 16, 2021
“You’re in Luenah,” my grandfather said.
It had felt natural when I arrived at this place. It was a place of infinite possibilities. A place I could never have realized had I remained standing on the other side – in the dream. I had been close to accessing this portal in the past, but something had always held me back. I had been afraid of what I would find if I went all the way in. This time, though I was summoned by an indescribable force, I had entered with ease. Something about the grief from losing my grandfather gave me the courage I needed to enter the narrow passage to Luenah. The second I stepped in, I knew I had made the right decision. I immediately felt at peace; all fear was gone.

What if you could travel and see a completely new place just dreaming? Well, this is what the main character of The Place beyond her Dreams is capable of. This is a novel in between romance and fantasy, written by Oby Aligwekwe, and the story is focused on Ona, girl with the peculiar ability of travelling with her own dreams to Luenah, a dreamland city. Ona is only ten when she firstly meets a boy in her home, called Okem, who is there to become a sort of servant for Ona’s grandparents. Ona lives with her grandparents, left there by her parents, who are constantly busy with their jobs, and she has a beautiful relationship with the two old relatives. Soon, also Okem develops a good relationship with his new guardians, particularly with Ona’s grandfather, who sees the boy like another grandchild, and he also become a lot closer with Ona, starting a strong friendship. This friendship become even more strong when Ona’s grandfather dies, if possible, and, after this event, Ona understands that she can keep on seeing her beloved grandpa in Luenah, in her dreams, and that she can reveal her ability to Okem only, the only person on who she can trust without looking crazy. While years are passing by, the two children grow up and their feelings stars to shift into something else, but there are also more and more obstacles between them, first of all the difference in their social class, that makes Ona’s family divide them and forces Ona to soften her relationship with Okem. Ona is destined to a well-off life, to attend the best school of the country and she is betrothed to Albert, the Crown Prince of Ide, the place near the one in which Ona lives, while Okem, in the eyes of everyone, is not the right man for Ona, he can’t give her the life she is designed to. The distance between Ona and Okem becomes heavy, and they take different paths in their lives. Ona can still trust in Luenah, where she can find her wise grandpa, and she has not forgotten her feelings for Okem. Moreover, in all of this, the destiny has its own plan for Ona and Okem and soon, dangerous plots come knocking at their door. The line between dream and reality fades and it’s up to Ona to figure out what to do in order to follow her path.
Note for whoever wants to read this book: there are scenes of domestic violence.

I have to say that, when I first start to read this novel, I was a little skeptical about it. I was thinking “Yeah, it’s the typical story between two kids who meet under certain circumstances, they start to feel something for each other and then there is their tormented story”. Everything accompanied with a little bit of fantasy, in this case. Well, I had to change my mind. The base of the story is this, for sure, but it’s just the base. The author was able to create a wonderful world, both real and fantastic, on which take place intriguing events and vibrant characters.
Starting with the setting and the wold-building of the novel, they are wonderfully done and unusual for me, at least, that I’ve never found such things in a book. The events take place in Africa, mainly between the cities of Ntebe and Ide, as for the facts that are real, and another part of the story, that is that about Ona’s dreamland, is set in Luenah. This scenario and its description are the perfect background for the creation of the sociopolitical context of the story, that blends together with the events of the book. Since the beginning of the novel, it’s said that Ntebe and Ide are fighting with each other and the atmosphere is tensed. This spirit of conflict isn’t limited only to the public issues, but it interferes also with the private lives of the characters, first of all with Ona’s. The setting is, indeed, strongly related with the portrays of the characters given in the story.
As far as the characters go, the protagonists are clearly Ona and Okem. We can follow them from their childhood, we can see their development, both in terms of their relationship and of their personalities. Ona is a strong young woman, kind and selfless, strongly determined in bringing some good into the world, helping the people who mostly need aid. She wants to remove the differences in the society and this feature of hers can be seen both in her private life, when she openly says she’s not interested in Okem’s social state and she just wants him for who he is, and in a more general sphere of her character, when she is betrothed to Albert, the Crown Prince of Ide, and she can be the future queen and try to change the society with her influence. This is also the point on which the sociopolitical facts blend with the private events of the characters and where the line amid reality and dream become thin. Ona is willing to give up Okem and her happiness in order to achieve an important role in the society and do great things. And this is the moment in which Ona goes to Luenah, where she finds her grandfather who guides her towards her path, to let Ona realize her destiny. The events in Luenah are connected to and influenced by everything that happens in the real world e vice versa. Ona slowly learns how to use her ability in her favour, how to use the wisdom of Luenah to make some good in the world out of the dreams. Okem, on this aspect, is similar to Ona, but he has some characteristics that the young girl doesn’t have and that are complementary to hers. Where Ona is contemplative and calm, Okem is impulsive, he lets himself get carried away by his emotions and his passions. Okem is against the restrictions of the society, like Ona, and he doesn’t let them define him; when someone makes fun of him for his social state, he doesn’t think twice on showing his teeth and defend himself. His relationship with Ona is pure, grown through time, starting with a friendship and evolving into love. Both of them know each other better that themselves, probably, and they keep on finding themselves, like they are coming back home when they are together.
Talking about the other character and the antagonists of the story, I think they are well designed and some of them hide some unexpected sides. I loved the grandparents, who are the typical wise figures, always ready to give some good advice and to solve difficult situations. Ona’s helper, Ifedi, on the other hand, got on my nerves; too meddler and fatalistic, for some aspects. Albert is a well done character, ambivalent and not so easy to understand. I found these to be characteristics present in other characters of the story, actually, that make them difficult to frame in the story and keep the suspense of the book.
Moving, in the end, with the plot and the style of the novel, I can say that the events are fluid and fascinating. There are unexpected plot twists, not ordinary, that make the plot interesting and engaging. I didn’t know where the plot was going to till the end, but not in a bad way. Every time it is revealed the right amount of information in order to keep the attention of the reader, without telling too much. The combination between sociopolitical context and personal events of the characters is done properly and I loved the atmosphere of the book, that is perfect for the plot, and it’s full of details and gives a good description of the traditions and the society of the places in which the characters move: it felt real as a world-building. The story is told in first-person narration, with Ona’s point of view or Okem’s (but there is only one chapter about him), it takes place amid reality and dreams in Luenah and it covers the events of the characters’ lives from their childhood to their adulthood, that represent the major part of the book.

So, what do I think about The Place beyond her Dreams? Well, it was a surprise. I really liked it, and I found it quite interesting and unusual, at least for me. I enjoyed the characters a lot and I think that the world-building is amazing. I would definitely recommend this book, it’s a good union of romance, fantasy and the right amount of action and suspense. If you like this genre, you should give this novel a try, you won’t regret it!
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
2,192 reviews342 followers
June 28, 2021
The Place Beyond Her Dreams by Oby Aligwekwe is a young adult fantasy adventure I really enjoyed. She also authored two other books, Nfudu and Hazel House, and this book is her YA debut. She is only a gifted and talented author but she is also a fantastic inspirational speaker and supports her community through her charity, Eclat Beginnings.

The Place Beyond Her Dreams is told from the point of view of our protagonist Ona - who discovers that she is an Eri with special gifts and finds herself at the crossroads between two men who are after her heart. Inspired by Oligwekwe's West African heritage and myths, this adventure story with a formidable heroine is a great story that transports the readers to far away lands but with relatable and timely themes of love, family and dealing with loss and grief.

I found this book to be amazing and
Profile Image for Erica Nicole.
88 reviews16 followers
March 23, 2021
“We’re most courageous at our weakest; when we believe we have faced what we fear the most and have nothing more to lose.”

This book is evidently well planned, woven intricately for both the reader's and author's pleasure. I am amazed at the world-building, at the introduction of new concepts and development of the hows of Luenah. I still haven't figured out how to pronounce that...or the numerous new names in the book. Which is always a fun part of fantasies! I love the feeling of wonder such books give me, including The Place Beyon Her Dreams.

The writing style is immaculate! Oby Aligwekwe satisfied me with wonderful #wordporn. Really amazing descriptions that help one visualize the better...I honestly woundn't stop raving about this if I could.

On that note, it is also rife with lessons. Step-by-step morals which we can inculcate in our daily lives and in achieving various long-term goals. Ona's Papa gives solid advice which break even with those of counsellors.

We, humans, are flawed and most of the people I've met I'd rather not have done so. That along with myself. Real personas are all prone to being insufferable. And yet the author managed to create REAL AND LIKEABLE characters. A huge rarity.

I am excited for The Place Beyond Her Dreams, I anticipate the moment when its beauty is unveiled for the reading community (and beyond) to witness! A definite masterpiece!
Profile Image for Liliyana Shadowlyn.
2,505 reviews75 followers
April 2, 2021
I was drawn in by the uniqueness of this book - the setting, the storyline, the characters. If you like fantasy with a touch of romance, and are looking for something unique, you’re going to want to pick up this book. The beginning started a little slow for me, but I quickly found myself lost in the pages as the pacing hit its stride. Ona’s journey is a powerful one filled with loss, love, and self discovery. A great read for adults young and old.
1 review
April 5, 2021
This book was such a treat and I enjoyed the journey it took be through.
April 3, 2021
This book has everything, love, suspense, action, fantasy: all cleverly and seamlessly woven together into a complete work of art. Luenah presented a twist that elevated the whole book above the ordinary. I consider this the best book I have read in a while. A perfect piece of creative writing!
Profile Image for Ana-Maria Derzsi.
279 reviews20 followers
August 18, 2021
◦ I've received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ◦

Set on the African lands, “The Place Beyond Her Dreams” tells the story of Ona. A girl born into a pretty stable and rich family, who at the age of ten receives a “gift” from her grandparents – they accept a boy that comes from not so fortunate family, to stay with them, raise him, and help around the house. That’s the moment when Ona’s life changes forever. While she at the beginning didn’t quite enjoy the new change, over the years she’s developed some sort of admiration towards Okem, they became best friends and as they grew older, their feelings have changed, and eventually fell in love.

After the sudden passing of her grandfather, Ona realizes she can transport herself into another place called Luenah. There the world is totally different, she can meet her grandfather whenever she’s allowed to, which relieves her pain after his sudden passing, and also gain a lot of wisdom to help her in her everyday life.

This book for me personally has been a roller coaster of emotions. What affected me the most, was the social differences that everyone pointed out between her and Okem. Okem was the poor guy and he was so often called in the book the house boy around the house, when in fact he has been raised by Ona’s grandparents as her brother, her grandfather loved him as his own son – but people didn’t think the same, so more than often he was made to feel like the last person in the world. The book indeed has triggers, loss of a family, abuse, and depression. While the triggers didn’t affect me per se, it left me to feel very sad from the things Ona had gone through.

While the book is a magical realism I felt the focus was way too much on Ona’s life and very little on Luenah’s world. I felt Luenah was a way of escape for Ona whenever things were bad or she went through a rough patch, Luenah was her safe place to retreat and deal with whatever was going on in her life. That’s not a very bad thing in my opinion, but I wanted to know more about Efi and Luenah and the people that inhabited her, especially since many people from there on her normal world have already passed, she was one of the few people that were granted passing there while being alive – this difference I wanted it more explored.

While I am a religious person, I can’t say I am overly religious, however, this book has touched on some religious things that really made me feel very at peace. The lessons, the wise words her grandfather always had for Ona touched me in ways that I haven’t felt in a long while. I loved the religious lessons behind his stories, the quotes along with the book.

For me, this book has been an interesting journey, and it made me think about a lot of things. For me, this book has been an interesting story, with amazing lessons to re-read and follow when things don’t go as planned. And fill that “box” with horrible things that we go through in order to find the goals we want to achieve, be it happiness or love or just peace.

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Profile Image for luc.
316 reviews
January 20, 2021
This is the story of a woman and how she finally fulfills her purpose using advice and guidance from a certain family member who passed to the next plane of life.
A story about finding what we're all here for mixed with a Hamlet like treason plot to the local royal family, a heavy love triangle and a dash of spirituality and a lot of drama.
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