“Dream to Me:” A Long-Haul, Relatable Mystery


Jack Horton, Staff Writer


With the increasing drive towards focusing on individual mental health, “Dream to Me,” a book by Megan Paasch, continues the trend of highlighting mental health by making the world itself beholden to the character’s psyche. This concept renders an often marginalized topic of mental health as being the foreground for a mystery and is a unique twist on normal conflicts. The main character’s lack of understanding in regards to their family’s hidden secret as well as their grief manifest as the opposing forces rather than it being an external villain.

Eva the protagonist of this story suffers from various family trauma, including her mother leaving,  and her grandmother as well as her father dying. She and her sister also have to deal with the stress of managing a decaying family estate. Her family is feared by locals due to their surname being associated with Eva’s mysterious grandmother who is often called a witch by the locals. Additionally, various townsfolk start to experience comas which seem to correlate with experiences Eva has within nightmares. Things start to take a turn for the worse as Eva loses her support network when her sister falls into a coma as well.

The normal format of this book follows a series of micro mysteries all connected to a larger macro mystery. Each chapter presents a problem with an unknown source or solution and clues of which to solve that problem. The reader always gets a sense of progression through various mysteries and gets to view the logic behind the main character’s consideration of various conflicts. Overall, for a paranormal mystery, this book remains pretty close to reality and has the characters living through mundane life dealing with issues such as house foreclosure, a lack of money, power outages, house repairs, and facing local hostility with being an outsider. This novel presents both paranormal and mundane problems to both feed upon each other as well as making the characters more relatable and amplifying the dangers of the paranormal issues through the devastating, but ultimately more knowable mundane problems.

In terms of messaging, this novel does an excellent job of highlighting the challenges those with traumas face, as well as illustrating that life does not just stop when a loved one dies. The unknown mystery serves as an allegory for tackling mental health which for many can feel beyond their control. Despite being a paranormal mystery the book still manages to be relatable to the reader through daily life and mental health. I personally found the novel a bit long winded as I am conditioned to want mysteries answered immediately. However I do understand that others would enjoy and probably benefit from the more drawn out reveals and the ability to interact with the mystery more, as they would have more time to think through the various possibilities.

Overall I think that “Dream to Me” is a book worth checking out if you find the premise of the novel interesting and are willing to explore through the story to uncover the various mysteries as well as learning how characters cope with their problems. Of course if you need to get right into action packed adventures then this novel isn’t for you.