Ryan la Sala's debut novel, 'Reverie,' reads like a dream. Not simply due to the fact large portions of the story take place in the walking fantasies of East Amity's citizens.. born into alternate realities with all the fervor of New Year's Eve fireworks, but because he writes as Van Gogh painted.. in rich strokes and vivid colors, textures you can feel even without being able to touch them.
A love story to the stargazer.. an encouragement to throw off all bonds.. and live boldly and brightly in all things, the novel feels as if its full to bursting with hope. Settle for nothing, fight for what you want.. for what you believe in.. and make sure above all else, that you believe in yourself.
Honestly, I can't say enough good things about 'Reverie.' It's wildly imaginative, the prose is melodious, the characters are each deeply layered. Though it centers around a group of teens, they often feel ageless, as the focus is really on doing what's right.. on persisting.. and learning to see others beyond the surface. The development of the new worlds that periodically just materialize is elegantly scripted. No matter how outrageous the manifested story may seem, there's reason to it. Rhythm.
It's a wonderful story. The comraderie between the main character, Kane, and his friends.. is reminiscent of the greatest coming of age stories of literature and film -- The Goonies, The Outsiders, Stand By Me.. you name it. They fight, they lash out, run or push each other away, yet when all is said and done, they continue to show up for one another. Much of the time is devoted to Kane trying to regain his memory, lost during a horrific accident that leaves him brutally scarred at some point before the opening of the story, as he tries to understand what happened and who he can trust. And this too is fascinating. The mystery is woven almost delicately throughout the daily goings-on of the characters. At times, it almost feels secondary to the sheer experience, but it is not.
Of course, there are pairings within the group, but really only one romance throughout the pages. And it's beautiful. It's tender.. fragile at times.. then warming.. and swelling like a symphony at others. Even more that the resolution of the reveries, this is what I found myself cheering for.. hoping for, invested in. This glimmer of connection that appears, constantly threatening to wink out.
Numerous times I found myself worriedly leaning into the pages or caught off guard when I'd allowed myself to relax, only for some potentially disastrous incident to occur. Sometimes my worst fears seemed to be realized and others, I didn't know enough to worry about the right things.
I didn't want to put this book down once I started it.. and though I was delayed by other deadlines, I was constantly desperate to return to 'Reverie' and see where everything was going to end up. Ryan is a truly gifted writer and I expect great things are ahead yet for him.