William Sleator is a well known author in the science fiction book genre. One of his earlier works, Into the Dream, is a wonderful introduction to the field for early young adult readers. A quote from a Barnes and Noble customer said this: "It is a large part of what lead me into reading many other great Sci-Fi books." If you like to read about telepathy, UFOs, and psycho kinesis, then this is the book for you.
Set in a typical United States town, this fantasy story features the characters of Paul and Francine, two distant acquaintances from school. The plot of the book involves a quest of great importance, but the details are vague for the two protagonists, shrouded in a cloud of mystery. Paul and Francine share a reoccurring dream that grows in intensity and terror each night. They know that they need to rescue someone, but whom and how is a mystery to them. They begin to look for common denominators between themselves and discover they were both in Reno, Nevada during the same time period and coincidently at the same hotel. Through some sleuthing at the library the two dig up an old newspaper from the time period and discover that there was a UFO sighting while they were there, naming a woman, Mrs. Jaleela who was an eyewitness to the event. They are surprised to learn that she now lives in the same town as them. After a quick call she agrees to see them. Suspense builds when they discover that they are being followed by two men on their way to her home, adding extra urgency to their pursuit. As the book proceeds the two protagonists realize that they can read each others minds. This ability grows stronger as the characters develop into a team on a mission to save the vulnerable child in the dream.
Throughout the book the sense of great responsibility is felt. The two feel mounting pressure to help the figure in danger from the dream, as each night the dream grows more and more frightening. They find that Mrs. Jaleela has a son, Noah, and a pet dog Cookie. Noah is mute and deaf, but he can communicate with Paul, Francine and Cookie (his dog) through thought-transfer. When the two men show up at the door they jump out of the window to escape with the child. They end up at a carnival, similar to the lights in the dream. Paul takes Noah up on the ferris wheel to escape the men. The seat breaks and in a tense moment the reader worries that all is lost for them. The crowd at the park gathers around when Noah uses his ability with psycho kinesis to fix the broken seat and they are brought down to safety. With the exposure of Noah's abilities to the world, the two menacing men who wanted to use Noah's mental abilities for ill gain drift off, realizing that he will now get too much attention to be used privately for their own profit.
True to form, in the end, good prevails. This book is really excellent. It is a wonderful introduction into a worthy and interesting genre for young adults.
Sleator, William. 1979. INTO THE DREAM. New York: Scholastic. ISBN: 0-590-31246-4.
Quote taken from the Barnes and Noble Web site. Available at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=2WA2BZWTUB&sourceid=00406217247587344752&bfdate=10%2D30%2D2003+06%3A34%3A18&isbn=0141308141&itm=3