Life Is But a Dream

Brian James

Feiwel & Friends

Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences.

Brian James calls Life is But a Dream "the most intense book I've written. Bringing this unique character to life and seeing the world through her eyes, with all its beauty and confusion, was an immense challenge that I hope is just as rewarding to read as it was to write." Intense--yes. Unforgettable--definitely.


Read an Excerpt

I’ve always been different from other kids my age—from everyone, really. Special is one way to put it. The word is attached to me like a shadow. It’s a halo hovering over me as I sit in class or walk through the halls at school. My parents always said that I was special too. Special in a good way, like I was delicate or rare—not special like something’s wrong with me. Not before. Not like now.
Maybe everyone has an adjective attached to them—one they don’t get to choose. A second name that other people know them


Praise for Life Is But a Dream

"LIFE IS BUT A DREAM is a beautiful and brave and necessary book.  There are scenes from that book that are so transporting, I know they will remain with me forever." -- Lewis Buzbee, author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop


“…a vividly and poetically described narrative….”--Booklist


"...a fast read with extensive dialogue and fantastic visual descriptions."--VOYA


“The depiction of going through life with a brain whose perceptions you can’t trust is evocative and immediate, and the sharply observed character interactions will invest readers in Sabrina’s plight.”--BCCB

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Brian James

  • Brian James is the author of several highly praised books for young adults, including Pure Sunshine; Tomorrow, Maybe; Dirty Liar, Zombie Blondes; and The Heights. He lives in Upstate New York.
  • Brian James (c) Sarah-Maria Vischer
    Brian James


Available Formats and Book Details

Life Is But a Dream

Brian James