The boys stood for a moment, but their eyes were snuffed. They crumpled onto the stained grass. I let the sun revolve some more as I stood above their bodies. And I lifted up my head, stopped the sun and howled my dark joy at the sky.
I knew the glass would be behind me. I would face that. But not right then. I spread my bloodied arms and held the world. I’m the fat boy. I’m Michael Terny.
This is the seventh school Michael has been to in four years, but he knows it won’t be any different. Even if he keeps his head down, the bullies will still find him and torment him mercilessly. And it happens, right from the first day, when Michael meets Martin Leechy, who squashes cake in his face and punches him in the nose.
But Michael is changing. He has made a friend and has discovered something else – the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. In his dreams, Michael can go anywhere and do anything. Now he has an opportunity to change things – he can exact his revenge on those who have hurt him, or he can help those who have shown him kindness.
Dreamrider is an eerie, absorbing novel which, in many places, will have readers squirming. Michael is a victim of severe bullying but also has a very dark side himself, a dark side which has scary consequences. Readers become increasingly aware that it is hard to separate reality from Michael’s imagination and his dreams.
Dreamrider, by Barry Jonsberg
Allen & Unwin, 2006