Independently Published (2021)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (04/2022)
“DREAMer,” by Emily Gallo, is a relevant discerning tale of the plight surrounding undocumented immigrants. Kate and Lawrence are enjoying their autumn romance. As retired educators, they are having fun exploring California together. On one of their jaunts through a more isolated area, they are surprised to discover a girl sitting on the side of the road. She refuses to answer any questions, or even use her voice. They pick her up with the intent of taking her to authorities until they discover how fearful she gets when she is around law enforcement. They suspect that she was probably crossed over the border by a coyote. Using clues from her few meager possessions, they begin a search for answers which appear to involve finding her sister. As they are looking for answers, the girl becomes more and more special to them.
DREAMer is an eye-opening novel for people who are not dealing with border issues. Through a fictional account, readers gain an understanding of the hardships that people encounter when they cross without going through official channels. In this case, a young girl was crossed by a coyote who was only interested in how he could profit, which put her in danger. Other characters in the novel share similar stories about things that happened to them when they came over. These stories also included the kinds of jobs that they had to take. Many of them involved working in the marijuana trade and were dangerous. As the couple look for answers, they gain so much more insight into the plight of these people.
The author created a very interesting, insightful mystery. The characters are very realistic and their issues are currently relevant. I like the married couple and I would love to see them in future mysteries. I was also impressed with how well the author described the small towns that were involved in this story. Most of these towns are unfamiliar to people, unless they’ve lived in the Central Valley or the southern California desert. Her attention to detail was spot on. I was even impressed that she provided accurate information for an Applebees where I live! Having lived in these areas, I enjoyed following along and seeing the details through the fictional eyes of the characters.
Readers who enjoy a good mystery with heartfelt characters will enjoy reading DREAMer. Those of us who have personally dealt with DREAMers will really relate to this story. I look forward to more writing by this author.