Tuesday, October 18, 2016
MG Fantasy Review: The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst
The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Clarion Books
Number of Pages: 384
Published: November 3rd, 2015
Sophie and her parents live inside a bookstore where they sell books and bottled dreams. Dreams and nightmares that Sophie and her family collect in dreamcatchers they make. Sophie shares her dreamcatchers with Madison, Lucy, and new boy Nathan, to collect their nightmares. The dreamcatchers then are converted into a liquid dream or nightmare which people in the store can buy. Sophie is unique because she is unable to have a dream or nightmare, but she has always been curious. So curious that when she was little, she stole one of the bottles off the shelf and by drinking it found herself inside someone else's nightmare. While exploring, Sophie found Monster, not the creepy under the bed kind, but one who was just as lonely as she was. Inadvertently, she brought him back into the world with her. Sophie didn't know she had the ability to bring dreams to life, and Monster was just the friend that she had been looking for. The two are inseparable. Yet, Sophie and Monster have also received the attention of the Night Watchmen, a set of people who want to get rid of Monster and end their families dream trade. The mysterious Mr. Nightmare has also turned up at the family store requesting bottled nightmares and he even steals the dreamcatchers that Sophie has been giving to Madison, Lucy, and Nathan. Then someone breaks into the store and Sophie's parents disappear causing her and Ethan to go on a reconnaissance mission to Mr. Nightmare's house to try and find them. What they uncover is just as disturbing as Mr. Nightmare.
I really enjoyed reading The Girl Who Could Not Dream. The plot of bottled dreams and nightmare's and the way that they can be distilled into a liquid that you can drink. Kinda reminds me of the Pensieve in Harry Potter. Though in this case, Sophie has the ability to physically go inside and take things out of her dreams and bring them to life. Makes for some amusing (pink ninja bunnies and a unicorn) and creepy things (big spider woman and a monster without a face). I was also surprised by how much I liked Sophie's parents. The way they interacted was refreshing and how honest they were with her. So different from the usual uninvolved/absent parents that I normally read. It really added to the tension when Sophie discovers them missing later on. This passage was one of my favorites, "You can't send me away when you're going to talk about important things that have to do with me, Sophie protested." "Sure we can," Dad said. "That's what parents do all the time." Mom patted her shoulder. "We were just more subtle about it when you were younger." I can't go forgetting Monster, who really seems more like an overgrown housecat than a Monster, and his protectiveness over Sophie is adorable. I do wish that we could give some of these characters a name, instead of just calling him Monster. I also wished that Monster didn't seem so cartoonish on the cover when he really comes off as sweet, lovable and humorous in the story. I can easily see this being made into a series that children between the ages of 10 and 12 would enjoy.
*The Girl Who could Not Dream has been nominated for the Cybils award and my review reflects my personal opinion, not the opinion of the Cybils committee.*