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Jake Wakely is no stranger to being a stranger. He’s lived abroad for the first thirteen years of his life. But after being sent to his father's childhood hometown of Sleepy Valley to live with his grandparents, his ‘new kid’ mystique is fading fast.
Much has changed in Sleepy Valley since Jake's father lived there as a boy. Crater Lake mysteriously disappeared, and the Plateau and the Valley no longer play the Unity Game, an annual lacrosse match founded to celebrate their cross-cultural cooperation. Jake discovers that his father played in the games—including the final game fifteen years ago which was never finished. No one in the valley plays lacrosse anymore, and no one wants to talk about the unfinished game.
Jake’s unpopular friendship with Simon, a native Duwali from the Plateau, disrupts the town's spurious peace by exposing their prejudice. The unrest leads Jake to a government plot to keep the public segregated and dazedly productive in the town’s pharmaceutical factory.
Armed with lacrosse sticks and an erratic cell phone, Jake and Simon must awaken the people by convincing them to complete the final game, with Jake and Simon playing in place of their fathers. But when Jake uncovers his father’s fateful role in the original contest, he gets caught between his friendship with Simon and his own family legacy.
THE DREAM PLAYER, a young adult thriller, chronicles Jake’s miraculous journey. Readers may find this similar to HOLES, with a touch of LORD OF THE FLIES and BRAVE NEW WORLD. The completed manuscript is 74,000 words.