Opening Lines: "Maren Partridge wondered what her sister dreamed about. She wondered if people in comas even had dreams."
The Nightmare Thief was nominated for the 2021 Cybils Award in Elementary/MG Speculative Fiction. Unfortunately, I was so busy reading the nominations that I had very little time for blogging. I'm hoping over the next several months to remedy this by completing the books on my TBR Cybils pile and posting a few reviews for books that I enjoyed reading.
About three weeks ago, Maren's older sister, Hallie was involved in a car accident that left her in a coma. Maren has high hopes that she will wake up soon, but her doctors seem to think it is time to move her to a long-term care facility. To help out her parents, Maren has been working at her grandmother Lishta's Typewriters and Dreams shop, a store that specializes in handmade dreams and nightmares. Maren's grandmother has one rule for her shop, dreams are not to be given without a person's consent, and she is very firm in expelling anyone from the shop if they break her rule. But when Maren has difficulty in finding the "perfect" birthday present for Hallie, she decides that a flying dream might just do the trick, and maybe it will even help Hallie to recover. However, just as Maren slips her sister the dream, she is caught by one of her grandmother's costumers, a Ms. Malo, who begins to bully and blackmail her into stealing nightmares from the shop in exchange for her silence. At first, Maren keeps up her end of the bargain, but Ms. Malo, also known as Obscura Gray, begins to demand more and more nightmares from Maren. Suspecting that Obscura has nefarious plans for the nightmares, Maren must find a way to deal with her once and for all.
The Nightmare Thief is a sweet story and feels magical to me in the same way that A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd does. There's a postal delivery service that magically delivers letters, a grocery where the rosebush sprouts new roses each day and edible fireworks. The city of Rockpool Bay is very unique and has a homey small town feel to it. Then there's Maren and her grandmother's shop where they create these dreams that sound lovely. Just listen to this description, "powdered midsummer raindrops, the softest edges of goose-down feathers, a scratching of fresh nutmeg, and a tiny snip from the lining of a brand-new pencil box." I so enjoyed Maren and her desire to have her sister recover from her coma. The way she describes all the things that she misses about her and the fun times that they shared together before her accident. Henri, the French speaking parrot was entertaining, and my favorite character had to be Ms. Malo/Obscurra, who I couldn't help picturing as Cruella de Vil. Delightfully evil. Her backstory was very interesting, and I hope to learn more about her in the sequel, The Dream Spies, which released on January 11th. **A huge thank you to Sourcebooks for the review copy.**