Dreams of Significant Girls
by Cristina Garcia
reviewed by Catherine Bauer
Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia, is a young adult novel depicting the growth of three young girl at summer camp and beyond. This novel, a bildungsroman x 3, allows us to watch these girls grow and develop during their teenage years into the very beginning stages of adulthood. Vivien, Shirin and Ingrid arrive at The Pierpoint Boarding School for Girls, a summer camp in Switzerland, in 1971 with very different backgrounds and personalities. Although depicted living in a different country over thirty years ago, these girls’ struggles are timeless. Mrs. Garcia provides three distinct characters the reader can potentially identify with. Vivien, the youngest, struggles to find her place of belonging in the world. Shirin, the smartest, hides behind a mask of books and shuts herself off to anyone but herself. Ingrid, rowdy by nature, has never followed a rule in her life. The only thing the three have in common is the room they share each summer three years in a row.
The first summer provides us with the rocky path of acquaintance where strangers are forced to live in the most intimate of circumstances. After the first summer, the three girls return to camp with new and exciting adventures in store. This second summer provides a chance to fix hurt feelings and try new things. With summer number three comes unanticipated shocks and surprises. We watch as Shirin, Vivien and Ingrid come together through the struggles they face. Each struggle is fit to the girl, each challenge provides new opportunity to bring the trio closer together. They pick each other up and push one another towards success and happiness. It takes three summers, determination, and crazy acts of love for them to learn some lessons. It is all worth it for the love they gain. Dreams of Significant Girls provides three dynamic characters we learn to appreciate and love.