Review: Dream On – Angie Hockman
by Angie Hockman
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
What would you do if your dream man turned out to be real?
When law student Cass Walker wakes up after surviving a car accident, she is flooded with memories of her boyfriend, Devin. The only problem? Devin doesn’t exist. But everything she remembers about him feels so real, like the precise shade of his coffee-brown eyes; the texture of his favorite hand-me-down scarf; even the slightly crooked angle of his pinkie, broken after falling off a trampoline in third grade. She knows he’s a figment of her imagination—friends, family, and doctors confirm it—but she still can’t seem to get him out of her head.
So when she runs into the real Devin a year later in a Cleveland flower shop, she’s completely shocked. Even more surprising is that Devin actually believes her story, and soon they embark on a real-life romance. With her dream man by her side and an upcoming summer job at a prestigious law firm, Cass’s future seems perfect. But fate might have other plans...
I’ll be honest: it was the adorable and colorful cover that caught my eye, and then the absolutely bonkers description pulled me in. While I had some quibbles with the plot, it’s very entertaining and I could easily imagine this being a blockbuster rom-com movie.
“So I’m the man of your dreams?”
A breathy laugh escapes me. “Kind of.”
Cass has it all. She has a loving boyfriend, she just passed the bar, and she already has a job offer at one of the most prestigious law firms in Cleveland. Until she’s in a car accident and ends up in a coma for nearly a week. Luckily, she’s set to make a full, if difficult, recovery, but there’s something terribly wrong. The problem? She doesn’t actually have a boyfriend. As far as she can tell, Devin Bloom never existed. After months of recovery, Cass is set to start a summer internship at the law firm in hopes of landing the full-time position in the fall, when she wanders into a flower shop and meets Devin – who has no idea who she is.
The book is told from Cass’s first person POV. At the beginning of the book, there’s no question that she’s struggling but trying to keep herself together. Even months after the accident, she still has some trouble with her memory and her mother seems determined to coddle her forever. She’s stressed about the new job and whether she can handle it, but the worst of all are the lingering memories of all her dates with someone who doesn’t exist. And then she meets Devin. For his part, Devin takes it pretty well once Cass (almost immediately) explains the whole coma/imaginary boyfriend thing. Plus it’s clear she really does know things about him that a stranger – or even a decent stalker – wouldn’t. But she and Devin’s brother Perry, the owner of the florist shop, get off on completely the wrong foot. He’s very suspicious about the whole thing, though he does eventually come around, even apologizing with a lovely bouquet. I liked the rest of the side characters, especially Cass’s best friend and roommate Brie (and their landlord, Marcus).
“After a week—or two, if the flowers are ours—the blooms fade, and what was once a beautiful bouquet shrivels up and dies. But the act of giving someone even a small slice of beauty, and the thoughtfulness behind the gesture . . . that’s permanent. That’s what I love about my job. Being a florist means celebrating the interconnectedness between people and the brief bouts of beauty in a world with too much ugliness.”
The premise is absolutely fascinating and the author’s handling of it was superb. The plot never went in the direction I expected. There’s some chit chat about fate and kismet and the like. Brie believes there’s a scientific reason for it: Cass must have met Devin at some point before, she just doesn’t remember it. Marcus, their landlord, is more inclined to believe it’s fate, with all the obligatory jokes about Devin being the man of her dreams. For my part, I had a lot of fun coming up with theories, none of which ended up being right!
As for cons, I’m not a fan of love triangles, even ones where it’s glaringly obvious which one the person will end up with. I think it was handled very well, but it still dimmed my enjoyment of the book. My second quibble was that Cass’s main competition for the full time lawyer position was, well, a very unfriendly woman. She was deliberately shown as cut-throat and manipulative, in contrast to Cass’s repeated friendly interactions with her, and honestly? That whole plotline left a sour feeling in my stomach.
As far as steam, there’s not much except some kissing until the epilogue. It’s not that I’m complaining about it being a mostly low heat book – frankly given all of Cass’s turmoil, it’s very understandable – but I found it really odd to have a sole sex scene in the epilogue. It’s honestly a complaint that could be made about the last 10% or so of the book. There’s a lot of “coincidences” and things are wrapped up much too neatly and quickly. Sure, it’s sweet, but it definitely challenged my suspension of disbelief.
Overall, an entertaining book, and I’ll probably try something by the author again, though hopefully without my least favorite trope!
Content notes: View Spoiler »car accident, toxic family, miscarriage « Hide Spoiler