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He Who Dreams by Melanie Florence --- Teen Book Review


Long ago when the world was much younger and much less complicated, the elders told stories about the first dancers. According to legend, the animals where the first dancers. It was the buffalo that swayed in their herds and the deer that leaped through the forest that showed our people how to dance” (Florence: pg.59).

He Who Dreams by Canadian author Melanie Florence is a hi-low teen novel that examines John, a young adolescent with both Irish and Cree descent and his responsibilities on and off the soccer field as well as his struggle to learn to balance his new passion for dancing. When John stumbles upon a powwow dance class at the recreational center while taking his sister to her art class, something in the drumming speaks to him. Upon transferring to a group of boy dancers in the nearby city, he is teased for his red hair and accused of confirmation to aboriginal culture. When a soccer mate secretly records John dancing, the video goes viral and John is faced to deal with insecurities and acceptance of himself and both of his heritages. At times I felt the novel allowed readers to easily foresee future outcomes, including the positive conclusion. However, this would not discourage me from recommending this book to any reader who loves dance and is motivated by being an individual that goes against the grain.

I danced for eight years at a professional dance school in Ottawa and was uplifted to the point of tears when Melanie Florence described John trying on his regalia and performing. I would rate this book 4.5 stars out of 5 stars as there were some occasions you could predict John’s outcomes. He Who Dreams is a breathtaking read for anyone who enjoys dance, drumming, pow wows, and traditional aboriginal attire. Enjoy!