Twelve-year-old Zoey navigates the tricky waters of friendship while looking for a way to save her grandfather’s struggling business in this heartwarming, coming-of-age debut novel perfect for fans of Kristi Wientge, Donna Gephart, and Meg Medina.
Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From start-up companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.
So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother, José, will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!
After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together...until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare. Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.
About the Author
Reina Luz Alegre lives in the Miami area with her family. She’s dreamed of becoming an author since the second grade, and grew up to work on various other professional dreams—including as a freelance journalist and lawyer—before debuting her first novel, The Dream Weaver. When she’s not writing, Reina loves to read, sing, and salivate over baking shows. Follow her on Twitter at @ReinaLuzAlegre.
“Dreams need time and freedom to grow and change. This is what stuck with me the most as I watched Zoey struggle to find her voice. Zoey is processing her own losses while trying to navigate her father’s dreams, her brother’s plans, and her grandfather’s grief. My twelve-year- old self would have loved a friend like her. When one girl’s voice gets louder, we all get stronger. Go Zoey!”
— Doreen Cronin, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of CYCLONE
"Charming, vivid, and emotionally real, Zoey’s story will capture your heart! Deploying her can-do attitude and resourcefulness, Zoey discovers that her own dreams are worth striving for and that reconnecting with her past might be the best way to brighten her future. On the Jersey Shore, Zoey reawakens to her heritage and the memory of her mother, while also trying to make new friends. Past and future collide as her brother packs for college, her father takes a new job, and her grandfather’s bowling alley drifts into decay. As Zoey tries to find her footing, she takes a risk on a project that could affect Poppy’s bowling alley forever. Flavorful details, a quick-moving plot, and psychological depth bring this Cuban-American family to life. A treasure for any library."
— Rebecca Balcarcel, author of Belpre Honor Book THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY
“Brimming with heart and humor, Reina Luz Alegre’s THE DREAM WEAVER is a tender story about belonging, friendship, and finding the courage to fight for your dreams. Lovely and empowering.”
— Ashley Herring Blake, author of the Stonewall Honor book, IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD
“A wonderful debut by Reina Luz Alegre! Told in clean and engaging prose, this story will thread readers through one girl’s coming of age as she struggles to keep together her fragmented family, each holding their dreams close, while contending with a longing to connect to lost traditions without her mother, and finding what will make her feel truly at home. A heartwarming book about growing up, growing friendships, growing the bonds of family and culture, and growing dreams of your own.”
— Aida Salazar, International Latino Book Award-Winning Author of THE MOON WITHIN
"A debut full of complicated families, complicated friendships, and the complicated and awkward experiences of growing up (including an embarrassing yet relatable first period experience that would have brought comfort to me during my own embarrassing early period days). THE DREAM WEAVER is a story I would happily hand to all the middle grade readers I know. From one Jersey boardwalk kid to another, Zoey is the type of character I could have spent hours with at the shore."
— Nicole Melleby, author of HURRICANE SEASON
“Zoey is a root-worthy character! She is the only girl in her family, the peacemaker between Poppy, José and dad. I loved reading along as she navigated weird new friend moments and embarrassing period happenings all in stride. This book has an endearing cast of characters from Zoey’s older brother, José, who is not only full of perpetual optimism, but handles Zoey’s first period with a chillness that is so refreshing and AWESOME! This story really encapsulates family and friendships—the good, the bad and the messy. It also reminds us that there are always good people willing to help us when we need it.”
— Kristi Wientge, author of HONEYBEES AND FRENEMIES
"It made me laugh. It made me cheer. It made me want to bowl. A fun, uplifting tale of a girl coming into her own and standing up for what matters. Friends don't let friends bowl alone."
— James Breakwell, Parenting Author named "Twitter's Funniest Dad" by Fatherly.com in 2020
"A charming debut about grief, the bonds of family and friendship, and bowling."
"Alegre has written a warm, funny, empowering book that’s sure to appeal to fans of Meg Medina’s Merci Suarez Changes Gears or Pablo Cartaya’s The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. Recommended for all collections."
— School Library Journal
"A heartfelt debut novel rooted in the importance of family ties, the bonds of friendship, and bowling."
— Kirkus Reviews