The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien
Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.
Interests/Topics: dreams, reality television, conspiracy, romance, family relations, science, experiments
Curriculum Connections: English, Science
Blurb: I’ve always had vivid dreams. Many of my dreams are so realistic that I occasionally question whether I’ve actually experienced an event or just dreamt about it. Psychologists claim that dreams reveal something about our insecurities and desires, especially the reoccurring dreams. I know that when I can’t steer my car on a winding road that I’m feeling a lack of control in my life, but I’m not sure why my teeth keep falling out.
Rosie, in The Vault of Dreamers, can’t remember the last dream she had, which is odd considering she sleeps 12 hours a night. The instructors at her elite boarding school believe that creativity blossoms during subconscious activity, so all students take sleeping pills promptly at 6:00 p.m. Besides, the 12 hours of sleep provide the techies who film the students with some time off.
Rosie knows that she’s being filmed; all of the students know. Their school is part of a reality television programme that focuses on creative kids. While the lack of privacy is problematic at times, Rosie agreed to the terms of her contract and accepts that the exceptional education she is receiving will ultimately trump any celebrity pitfalls.
What Rosie doesn’t accept, and certainly didn’t agree to, is what she discovers on the night she decides to spit out her pill.
Rosie had been desperate to dream again; now she’ll do anything just to stay awake.
Flavour: “No alarm went off. No warning lights. Orly did not come running. Our fifty sleep shells, with their panelling below, and full-length glass lids on top, were lined up in two rows as straight and motionless as so many coffins. Cameras had to be picking up my movements, but either no one cared that I was breaking the rules, or the night techies didn’t watch carefully. A third possibility didn’t then occur to me: someone cared very much, was watching very carefully, and still let me continue.” (9)
“Just then, one of the cameras swivelled to aim directly at me, and I swear, it tempted me to do something asinine. It really did. You’d never believe how annoying it was to be watched all the time, even when you’re doing absolutely nothing. It put me at war with myself all the time: behave. Don’t behave. Behave. Don’t.” (17)
“I let out a strangled laugh. I was coming unglued. I reined in my panic, thinking fast. I needed to be careful. Very careful. I didn’t know what to do yet, but until I did, I had to hold on to one thing: I couldn’t tell anybody what was happening. They’d never believe me.” (133)