After finishing Dealing in Dreams I immediately want more. Rivera has created such a vivid and fascinating world and it’s one you want to dive into.
Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live. To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.
Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Dealing in Dreams is one of those books where you immediately want to begin the story all over again. Whether it to see where things started dissolving, to spend more time with your favorite characters, or to bask in the world a little while longer, Dealing in Dreams is it. It is a story about revenge and ambition. In a world where the masses drug themselves away from reality, Nalah is searching for a different future – a place above it all.
I just want to say that the world building in this book is superb. I’ve had my share of dystopia rodeos, but Rivera manages to present this totally unique world that is full of relatability – the idea that people would get addicted to these pills meant to help you sleep and alleviate pain, or the choke hold of power one could have. All the while it presents a world where women are at the top of the food chain, but power in absolutes don’t help anyone. We start to see how it’s not only the men who are now being commodified, but the women churned into a cycle of violence.
Nalah & Sacrifice
Dealing in Dreams has one of those main characters that pulled at my heart strings. Nalah is trying her very best and she’s aware that to be a leader comes with costs, consequences, and sacrifice. She’s fiercely determined and has created a family born out of violence, but also loyalty. And if you’ve been reading dystopias, then you can probably predict that not everything is how Nalah thinks.
And Nalah has to decide if the dream is more important and what she is willing to sacrifice to get there. You can only lose so many people in the pursuit of the dream for it to not be worth it anymore. What kind of leader will Nalah be? Honor is one thing, but our goals and dreams demand payment. In many ways, Dealing in Dreams is about Nalah, and this world of unrest and cyclical violence, but also about expectations and leadership.
In many ways, this book is about expectations. About investigating the history that you’ve been taught, the struggle to see what’s been hidden from you. Dealing in Dreams is one of those books where I can’t get enough of it – I can’t talk enough about this book. Do we want to be stuck in a cycle of hatred, violence, and fear or can we break free in pursuit of a different dream? Whether it be the themes of family and leadership – which are my favorite that I’ve read in a long time – or Nalah’s crew, Dealing in Dreams has stolen my heart.