While You Were Dreaming

By Alisha Rai

Hardcover edition

Publisher HarperCollins Imprint Quill Tree ISBN


While You Were Dreaming

In stock


Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Underage Use,Language: Strong Language,Sexual Content: Reference/Discussion,Sexual Content: Sexual Harassment

This YA debut from powerhouse romance author Alisha Rai tackles undocumented immigration against the backdrop of viral online fame, fake dating, and a love triangle. A must-read for fans of Nicola Yoon or Sandhya Menon.

If Sonia Patil had her way, she’d be attending her local comic con instead of covering a shift for her boss’s daughter. Since Sonia’s mom was deported and her sister, who never claimed deferred status under DACA, had to forgo college to support them, Sonia’s had her hands full with work, school, and pretending everything is okay at home.

Then Sonia, in homemade superhero cosplay, stumbles into saving her crush James’s life. When a video of the daring rescue goes viral, she—or, rather, a mysterious masked savior—is thrust into the spotlight. Now she’s hiding from TikTok detectives while trying to connect with James. And while she’s drawn to his friendly but oblivious nature, she can’t deny her escalating chemistry with another awkwardly charming boy.

Juggling crushes and a secret identity might just take superpowers. Will Sonia be able to hide in plain sight forever?

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Sonia's mother has just been deported to India, and while the teen is an American citizen, her just-adult sister she lives with is undocumented. Trying not to draw attention to herself, Sonia doesn't wear the costume she made to the local bookstore's cosplay event, even though her crush and classmate, James, works there, right near the café where she works. Instead, she puts it on in the darkness to walk home. On her way, she sees James have some sort of seizure and fall into a canal. She jumps in and saves him but thanks to the mask and the dark, her identity isn't clear when video of the rescue goes viral. With James in the hospital, she goes to his family's restaurant to check on him, meeting his gruff brother and welcoming parents, who mistake Sonia for a girlfriend James had kept secret. This sets off a chain of events, punctuated by her new friend Hana's efforts to get Sonia out of her shell, that transform Sonia's life. In her debut, Rai lifts the rough edges of her plot from the 1995 movie While You Were Sleeping. She gives it depth with Sonia's precarious family situation and updates the all-white, straight cast from the original movie. Sonia's parents are both Indian, while James's father is Black and his mother's parents immigrated from India. Sonia's sister identifies as queer, as does her ex-best friend. This is a swoony romance with strong, affirming friendship, but some plot points and characters are rather tropey, like James's mean-girl ex. VERDICT A fun, at times poignant, being-your-true-self story with just enough romance to keep readers satisfied. A highly recommended purchase for late middle and high school library collections.—Kate Fleming

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