Dreaming the Bear
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Darcy is recovering from pneumonia, and her doctor has instructed her to build her strength back up by taking walks. She's moved to Yellowstone National Park for her father's job - separated from the friends she loves and the modern civilisation she craves. She's lonely and she's weak - and then, suddenly, she's confronted by a grizzly bear. But the bear doesn't harm her.
She ends up in its arms, enjoying its warmth and comfort. The bear must stay her secret. She knows it's dangerous, but this is part of her new life and some wonder she can find. As her health fades in and out, the lines between dream and reality become increasingly blurred. She's determined to help the bear - but at what cost to her family's safety?
Mimi Thebo's story is a mixture of dreamy scenery, awesome wildlife and coming-of-age dilemmas. That the book touches only lightly on each of these makes it a hazy read throughout, with a shifting focus and a strange detachment to the real world. Though the character is a younger teen, it might take a more mature reader to make a connection to this unusual story.