ARC Review: While You Were Dreaming by Alisha Rai

*I was given a copy of While You Were Dreaming in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to HarperCollins and Alisha Rai.*


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 saviour—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?


I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from While You Were Dreaming, but it wasn’t what I got. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty good and very well written, but I had higher expectations. 

I thought the whole ‘thrust into the spotlight’ part of this book was going to be more in the vein of the tons of influence stories that are very popular right now. I’m not mad that it wasn’t as this take was very interesting. A masked hero who has gone viral is very interesting, but a lot of the time that plot line didn’t seem to be the main focus. 

Personally, I think the story focused far too much on the romance side of things. I was way more interested in Sonia being a masked superhero than who she has a crush on. Also the strained relationships she had with her mother who was deported back to India and her sister who is undocumented were definitely better. The protectiveness Sonia felt over her sister as she didn’t want to lose her too made for a far more interesting dynamic than Sonia had with either of her love interests.

The characters were very realistic and I liked how they developed over time, although some were not for the better. Both sisters were fiercely protective of the other, but they showed it in completely different ways. I enjoyed seeing their love for each other develop into a much more open and honest relationship.

Sonia’s need to hide her heroic act in fear of deportation was heartbreaking and massively brave. It takes a very strong person to not own up to something that would get you a lot of praise and that’s very commendable. This is a small spoiler so don’t read the next sentence if you are thinking of reading this! I’m glad the secret did go any further than James’ family finding out, as I wouldn’t want Kareena to get deported, but I was somewhat interested to see what the fallout would have been. I don’t know if this will end up being a series/duology, but may something will come of it in a future book.

While You Were Dreaming was a heartfelt romance that has a strong focus on family and friendship dynamics with a sprinkling of superhero action. It was a pretty good read from start to finish, but something felt missing for me. If there are plans for a second novel I would think about checking it out, but this one did not blow me away by any means.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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