Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The Daydreams

The Daydreams by Laura Hankin
5/2/23; 368 pages

The Daydreams by Laura Hankin is a highly recommended reunion novel about the stars of a popular teen show in 2004.

In 2004, the wildly popular teen TV show "The Daydreams" featured four teens who sang and danced. Summer was the star and played an innocent girl next door. Noah was the handsome heartthrob. Kat was the mean girl and Lillian was the best friend of the three. Then, during the live season two finale, it all fell apart in a spectacular manner leaving the story arc unfinished and the four went on to other things.

In 2018, Summer's life has been covered widely in tabloids, as she was in and out of rehab and relationships. Katherine (Kat) is now a lawyer in Washington, DC. and on the partnership track. Liana is well known as the wife of a famous athlete and social media influencer. Noah has continued in the entertainment industry and is a star. When Noah is asked about a reunion of "The Daydreams" during an interview, he shockingly says he'll do it if the other three agree. This sets a reunion special into motion.

The entertaining narrative alternates between 2018 and 2004 and is mainly told through Kat's point-of-view, with some insights from the others, along with tabloid articles and journal entries. The realities the group faced as young stars is portrayed along with their struggles, successes, and secrets. The plot is well-paced and compelling throughout as the scandals and secrets of each character are exposed. The realities of the double standards and toxic atmosphere in the entertainment industry is evident in the narrative.

There is a great deal of intrigue as each character is developed since each of the four have their own reasons for coming back to the reunion show. They are all portrayed as fully realized, interesting individuals. And there are several surprises along the way. The Daydreams should be very enjoyable to those who followed various teen TV dramas in the early 2000s.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin via NetGalley.

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