Title: Dreamland Burning
Author: Jennifer Latham
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Synopsis: Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told.
When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past… and the present.
Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.
Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today.
I received a copy of this book from The Novl Newsletter in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Dreamland Burning follows two young teenagers. During the 1920’s and after a horrible mistake, William Tillman is learning that the world isn’t always what it seemed. The night of the Tulsa Riots will determine what kind of man he will be and just how far he will go to protect those who need protecting. Back in the present, Rowan Chase, has just discovered an unearthed skeleton in the old slave quarters on her parent’s property. Rowan’s sheltered world is slowly turning upside as she learns more and more about the skeleton’s past.
As a white person, I have never experienced racism firsthand. I have heard people say racist statements and seen racist encounters on the news, but have never seen it occur in person. Dreamland Burning gives a small glimpse of the racist behavior towards those with dark skin color and even bi-racial individuals experience in the 1920’s and even still in today’s society. While some of these encounters might make some readers uncomfortable, it’s nothing compared to the racism that people endure every day. Dreamland Burning has open my eyes in a way that I never knew a book could.
I encourage everyone, simply everyone, to pick up this book. While this particular story is a work of fiction, the Tulsa Riots are very real and did happen. It’s a story that needs to read and needs to be known.
4 out of 5 stars
Meet The Author
I write because it’s the only job I’ve been able to stick to for more than two years. Seriously.
I’ve lived lots of different places. Here’s the list: New York City; San Francisco; Augusta, GA; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Madrid; Providence, RI; and now…Tulsa, OK.
I’ve had some really weird and really normal jobs. The weirdest was helping out with autopsies. The one I’d go back to if I couldn’t write is being a school psychologist. The one I still do sometimes is teach yoga.
I live with my two daughters, two dogs, a cat, three turtles, three hermit crabs, a bunch of fish, and a husband (mine, of course).
I love watching people.
And I love writing about the people who live inside my head, even when they don’t play nice.