Title: Dreaming of Antigone
Author: Robin Bridges
Release Date: March 29th 2016
*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review*
In Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges, Andria Webb struggles to come to grips with her twin’s accidental drug overdose and struggles to find where she fits in the world without her. Andria has always been treated differently because of the seizures she’s suffered, which stem from her time in the womb. Her sister Iris was always the bright star, who wasn’t limited by a medical condition or their mother’s overbearing need to shield her from every possible risk. With Iris’s passing, Andria feels much like a poor substitute amongst her friends. She isn’t much of a partygoer, and she’s never been allowed to play soccer like her sister. In many ways Andria isn’t sure she has much in common with them besides Iris. Andria wrestles with feelings of guilt, jealousy, and loneliness. While everyone seems to have moved on, she finds herself still haunted by her sister’s death. Though a part of her still blames her sister’s old boyfriend Alex for introducing her to drugs, there’s also a part of her that understands the haunted look in his eyes. Alex has spent the last six months in rehab, trying to turn his life around. This isn’t always easy when his friends still expect him to party and he continually finds himself drawn to the sister of his dead girlfriend.
In many ways, Dreaming of Antigone would have worked better for me without more heavier subjects being introduced into the narrative. Drug and sexual abuse are serious issues, but felt more like plot devices in this novel when neither is explored in depth and the characters seem to accept their presence by largely brushing them aside. When Andria discovers a secret in her sister’s old diary, instead of having her character be properly angry and concerned, the novel zeroes in on what Iris’s past feelings for Alex were and how this might affect Andria’s relationship with him. I was really disappointed in her mother’s reaction as well, and never really understood Andria’s characterization of her. On one hand, she says her mother blames her sister for Andria’s condition, something she didn’t keep secret from Iris, by on the other hand, Andria so easily dismisses this and her other actions, believing her mother just has so much on her plate and therefore, her behavior is acceptable. Adults were for the most part very absent, unless they were being used to move the story along, which can be really frustrating especially in a YA contemporary.
By the end of the novel, the story did feel like it had pulled itself more together, but it was difficult to feel satisfied when much of the novel felt like it glossed over major issues, making the romance, a major focal point, feel very trivial in comparison.