Belko’s first novel shows remarkable insight into the workings of the adolescent mind and a thoughtful, sensitive portrayal of the challenges of being a young adult in modern society. Her characters are sympathetic and believable, and she weaves an entertaining tale that kept me reading well after I should have been sleeping. I look forward to her next work. – Amazon Review
The sudden and tragic death of her mother has transformed sixteen-year-old Grace, leaving her broken and longing for the days when her mother held their family together.
Grace’s own near drowning accident has taken the life of the kind stranger who tried to save her. With her mother no longer there for Grace to turn to, her relationship with her father, a washed-up musician, becomes strained. Grace finds solace and remedy from the numbness in sharp edges and shiny points.
A move to a new town brings a new start, new love, and hope when she meets Xander, a high school musician who brings music back into her and her father’s broken lives. But when Xander’s past emerges, Grace realizes some secrets shouldn’t be kept and maybe music won’t be enough to save them.
An undeniably powerful debut from Belko, Perchance to Dream is highly recommended.
Incredibly powerful, instantly compelling and often heart-breaking, Belko hasn’t picked an easy subject on which to write but her willingness to steer away from a prescriptive approach means she reaches her readers on a powerful emotional level.
The result is a read that not only entertains but is insightful and encourages much in the way of reflection whilst leaving us with a degree of empathy and understanding we might not have otherwise embraced.
Through teen-speak and acerbic observation, Belko captures a pivotal period in Xander’s life and then mirrors it with a poetic perspective from Grace which further reinforces the often unscripted progression of choices, confrontations and events in a teenager’s life that leads to self-harm.
Belko doesn’t go for shock value but by switching between perspectives it feels like real life unfolding before our eyes. Comfortably rising above dysfunctional-family-drama clichés, thanks to the truthfulness of Belko’s narrative, to smash through our defences. On this level, her novel is an uncompromising examination of controversial subject matter, written with tenderness and undeniable insight as she reveals layer after layer of Grace’s and Xander’s thoughts and reflections. The plotting is tightly wound, but rather than get bogged down in extraneous detail she takes us through a kinetic series of escalating events whilst ramping up momentum towards what proves to be a perfectly pitched and highly thought-provoking ending.
About the Author
The daughter and oldest child of small home business owners, Tamara Belko was fortunate to have her parents always available. Although busy, they never failed to find moments to share a story about life when they were growing up. Growing up in a family of storytellers, inspired Tamara to create her own tales and elaborate on her own misadventures growing up including the horrors of finding herself locked in a foul-smelling porta-pot at a high school football game, and the humiliation she endured as maintenance pried her out of the porta-pot with a crowbar.
Tamara always dreamed of becoming a writer and with the guidance and encouragement of her seventh grade English teacher, Lorraine Merrill, she began submitting short stories for publication. Receiving her first acceptance letter at fourteen from “Alive for Young Teens,” fueled Tamara’s desire to keep her dream alive.
Today as an English teacher and Gifted Intervention Specialist, Tamara hopes that she can inspire her own students to reach their dreams, just as her teachers inspired her many years ago. Tamara holds a B.A. in English from Hiram College and M.Ed from Ashland University.
She resides in Rocky River, Ohio with her husband and children.