Writing Style: 3/5
Entertainment Quotient: 2.5/5
My favourite types of books are those that stay with me even after I’m done reading it – the type that I find friends in. When I closed this book for good, it was like saying goodbye of sorts. What’s Your Dream is a breezy yet emotional read. It takes us through the college life of five friends: Priyanshi, Esha, Varun, Deepali and Rohan. Even though all of them study together, they’re as different as one can imagine. This is where I must applaud the author, Heena Vijayvergiya. She succeeds in attributing certain characteristics to all five of them and maintaining that throughout the book. She didn’t need to say “Priyanshi was studious and a good friend.” The way she wrote the characters spelt it out for us. That was what made What’s Your Dream a breezy and affectionate read – the writing is smooth and easy. It’s easy to get engrossed in the characters’ lives.
Priyanshi is a shy, determined and diligent girl from Patna. Her roommate Esha is more outgoing, free, wild and adventurous. Varun is a rich, spoiled kid – compelled to be a hostelite owing to his actions getting out of hand. Rohan and Deepali, the other two of the gang, have been best friends since their childhood. All five come to St. Stephens with different dreams and motives and yet – all of them end up being an inseparable part of each other’s lives. The plot will take you through the relationships of the different characters – among themselves and with their family. Each character is realistic, with personal problems of their own. In many such books and TV shows, teenagers are put on a pedestal; college life is often portrayed as an ideal world, a life of partying and having fun. But the truth is, every teenager goes through different problems and deals with them in their own different way. The characters in this story too deal with their own issues while also balancing their friendships and college life. Nothing comes easy to them, which is shown clearly.
I could personally relate to the story of Priyanshi. She moved from a small city to a big one, lived all alone in the hostel while studying in the college of her dreams. While I can’t lay claim to getting the brilliant marks she always did, I related to her feelings of settling down in a new place, in a new life. In the same way, I’m sure some other readers will relate to the body image and confidence issue Rohan faces, the family problems Deepali fights. This, along with the simple style of writing, makes the characters lively. The plot is made more interesting when these problems bring conflicts in the characters’ lives and they deal with it in their own way. Sometimes the way things pan out in the plot may leave you confused or frustrated – the overlap in their lives and the fussy rush in the plot at points can be the reason for that.
The characters are Indian and their cultures, backgrounds are obvious of their persona. However, they are still teenagers. Being one myself, I know the sort of language, actions, textual conversations we have. The characters in the book seemed a little far away from that. The conversations sounded a little forced, not realistic. The body language too was not typical of teenagers. Especially for students like Varun, a rich resident of Delhi, you’d expect quite a slandering sort of language. Perhaps a more arrogant attitude, different from what was portrayed. It was quite off-putting – it made Varun my least favourite character.
The emotional balance of What’s Your Dream was well managed. You will find yourself laughing and crying with the characters as they go through three years of college. The book moved fast, but for it to reach the ending it did, it required to. I absolutely loved the ending. No character was left to be insignificant; each of them got a justified ending. It was fairly predictable, but with these kinds of stories, books usually are. Here, it isn’t the predictability or the pace that’s important, but how the characters play out with the plot. The book will leave you turning pages, engrossed in its smooth delivery. It is a sort of genre and novel that you will either lose interest in at the very beginning or follow through to the end if you’re a fan of young adult books that deliver sentiment. A fast, quick-paced book, What’s Your Dream is best saved for a casual vacation read or a buffer between serious reads.
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