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I'll start with the two points that I always check first: methodology and visuals. Methodology: the title, the author's name and the publisher's logo are clearly visible on the cover; on the second page, there's the summary of the story under the 'About Cat and the Dreamer' title, which I think is superfluous because one has probably already read the summary to get to reading it, even though I get it might set the tone for all the other chapters' titles to come (they all start with 'About'). I would strongly suggest erasing it for it is confusing and slightly annoying to be repeated the same thing twice; then comes the licensing notes, which are very well-done and professional; there's a table of contents (yayyy! I always love when people put one in as it gives an overview of the book, and makes one even more anxious to read it upon seeing the titles), however, there are no page numbers (also inexistent in the whole novel!), which reduces by half its usefulness; on the last page of Mrs. Crawford's book, there's an 'About the Author' I find well-placed and woven in reference to the whole work, leaving us with a curiosity about her and her blog she gives the Web address to.
Concerning the visuals, all I have to say is pretty much positive: the cover is striking, quite representative of the whole story and its moods, the pictures showing shy main character on one side facing off her dreaming, darker side (a.k.a Cat, or even Rachel, the friend she lost) in the blurry and colour-reversed shot, accounting well for the dreamy point of it. Also, the font used fits for it reminds me of when children write in the streets with cray and teenagers/young adults in one's diary and drawing pad, with that precise texture leaving a few particules off - it would relate well to her 'lost' childhood and her head in the clouds. The colours and effects are great, chosen carefully to grab the whole story in just the presentation of it - congratulations, it's rare I'm this pleased with an eBook cover. The only negative thing I have to say about it is that the borders are perhaps a bit too much; they're confusing the eye, both mingling with yet separating from all the other colour and effect date the brain has to process. It's really beautiful as an art piece, but maybe tone it down a notch for it tires the eyes?
Now, I'll proceed with Annalisa's writing (both the style and grammar). It’s made of good vocabulary and punctuation, besides the semi-colon leech, as I like to call it – there is way too many of it in the book it becomes boring. Perhaps go through the whole text once again and change a few for commas and such? I reckon it’d greatly improve it. Speaking of commas, some of them are misplaced or useless. The verb tenses are well-used to fit the story, making it more believable – I mean that the overall present tense is better than if she had tried to tell the story in past tense, where her day-dreaming sessions and memories would appear confusing and awkward. I found only one typo in all of the eBook, which is a miracle in itself as they are usually filled with those: in the chapter ‘About a Girl That Could Be’ (sorry, I could not pin-point the page as there is no numbering ?), it’s written ‘He opens the door and sidles out’, when it obviously should be ‘slides out’. As for the style, it’s interactive and definitely grabs the reader, involving you into the core of the story. Why did I bold the pronoun? Because mainly uses ‘I’ to tell the story from the main character’s POV and ‘you’, identifying you as Cat (her day-dreaming, her nemesis in real life, and sometimes even Rachel…), which is very appealing, even amazing if I dare say. This is genuinely my favourite part of ‘Cat & The Dreamer’ becomes it pulls you right into it, making you feel awkward and as if you, the reader, were not only prying, but also the main character’s day dream! Her Cat. It’s a very odd, yet nice sensation! I had never found it anywhere else; usually I completely dislike books written in the first person, but this one proved to be better than the rest. Moreover, I enjoy the switch from reality to her day-dreaming with short sentences such as ‘In my world’ and ‘Reality surges around me’. Plus, most of the time her day-dreaming is italicized, however, it is rarely so whenever the short introduction sentences are used, which end up being confusing at some point here and then as we break in and out of the two modes, mostly when an italicized paragraph has just been finished and soon after there’s an ‘In my world’ part in normal font. It forces one to re-read and think things through, perhaps a bit too much; I strongly suggest to keep one way of diving into her dreams all the way through so as to make it easier for the reader to find themselves. The skipping parts, the spacing and the breaks are really well-done; good timing, I would say! It’s perfect to surprise and mesmerize the reader, just like day-dreams normally come to dreamers (I would know, I’m one myself)! Also, her writing style makes our identification to her main character (if not another one) and her day-dreaming quite realistic by the descriptions and explanations Crawford uses, which are impressively easy to relate to and precise about emotions and reactions. Though, I think they should be expanded a tad more so as to give more ‘meat’ to chew on – when I like something, I want more of it! I feel there’s enough description for what conversation there is, but that the book in itself is too short. Lastly, the titles are very different from what I’m used to; they all begin by ‘About’, which is both interestingly new and irritating.
Overall, I give ‘Cat & The Dreamer’ by Annalisa Crawford a rating of 3 out of 4 (good) and I recommend it to everyone – I want you all to experience the strange sensation of being directly addressed to in such a novel, it’s really special and worth it! I would have given it a 4 if it weren’t for the terribly confusing (because not well-lined enough) jumping in and out of her day-dreaming) and unnumbered pages (I think we all love to point out to others where the ‘quote’ we used comes from and just be able to refer them to the right sequence we talked to them about), because the rest kept my interest till the end. The characters are a bit too static as well, besides the main one. But then again, it’s a really short novel…! I demand more! Haha. The plot is intriguing and angst-driven; who wouldn’t be after surviving one’s best friend in a suicide pact? It’s rarely used in stories and I must say it helped pushing me into reading Crawford’s book. As a final note, seriously, between you and me, the use she makes of the pronoun ‘you’ is the best I’ve ever seen along the ‘I’. It’s as though we represent her fantasy, her precious imagination, her secrets, her dark side, her memories, the things she wished would change, her enemy (Cat), her dead best friend (Rachel), along with the possible image of all the women tormenting us (our challenges). It’s worth reading to feel all that. I congratulate the author on this absorbing and fascinating way to tell a story. I’m impressed and I will forever cherish the emotions and sensation I had whilst reading it. I dislike how few pages there are, but I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Crawford’s ‘Cat and The Dreamer’.
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