Thursday, May 13, 2021

#BookReview: The Place Beyond Her Dreams by Oby Aligwekwe

Synopsis: At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain drives her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities. There, she discovers she is an Eri, chosen to accomplish a special purpose on earth, and is handed a box in exchange for what she desires the most.

Burdened by her quest, Ona learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. As evil looms, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.

Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, The Place Beyond Her Dreams delivers life lessons using a powerful fable. This coming-of-age fantasy takes the reader on the path to self-discovery and demonstrates the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose.


Rating: 💫
My Review: This one wasn't as good as I was hoping for.  The fantasy elements were ok but the characters were just kind of meh.  I didn't get grabbed by the story so unfortunately this one was put down. 


Oby Aligwekwe (Hazel House) transports readers in her debut YA novel, part fairy tale romance and part realistic fiction rooted in West African traditions and folk tales. Protagonist Ona has had the gift of "intuition," or seeing into the future, since the age of seven; when her beloved grandfather dies, she realizes she can travel between her hometown of Ntebe and an idyllic dreamland called Luenah. In Luenah, she learns the power of manifestation- manifesting her thoughts in physical reality-and is sent back to Ntebe on a quest to find her purpose and "give something back to humanity."

Aligwekwe shines in her development of characters, each offering an avenue to reflect on the ways social class unfairly dictates daily lives and relationships. Ona's ultimate goal is to find "love and happiness," but she's not sure if that love will be with Albert-the handsome crown prince of Ide, a town involved in border clashes with Ntebe-or Okem, her childhood best friend and household servant. Will she find happiness with her one true love despite their differing social statuses, or become a Queen and bring peace to Ide and Ntebe? "I don't know how people will feel about me marrying someone of a lower status than me," Ona says. "They will castigate me and wonder why I gave up comfort."

Although branded as fantasy, the majority of the narrative takes place in the real world rather than Luenah, a choice that might disappoint readers desiring the fantastic. Despite this, Aligwekwe deftly weaves commentary on colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism into an appealing and suspenseful story of love and whimsy. She presents many nuggets of wisdom as Ona seeks her life's purpose while emphasizing that "Two things must occur for love to be manifested. The first is to believe you're worthy of love. The second is to love yourself." Young adults and older readers will be enchanted by this fantasy's magic, romance, and life lessons. ―Booklife by Publishers Weekly

About the Author

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. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

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