Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Part of Your Nightmare (Disney Chills, Book One)

Strange, Vera. Part of Your Nightmare (Disney Chills, Book One)
July 7th 2020 by Disney-Hyperion
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Shelley has had to move to a new school after the divorce of her parents, who still run the Tritan Cove Aquarium together. It was hard to make friends, but she connected with popular Kendall, whose father is the mayor of their small town, and her posse, Alana and Attina. Shelley is very interested in sea life and ecology, but her friends are not. After a field trip to the aquarium, her friends dare her to throw her coffee cup in the ocean, she feels bad, especially since she knows cute fellow nerd Enrique, who helps his brother at the aquarium, would not approve. After finding a shell, Shelley is sucked into the under sea kingdom of Ursula (from the Disney movie The Little Mermaid) and is offered this proposition: Ursula will grant her a wish in exchange for an unspecified favor done at a late time. Shelley, wisely, asks for some time to think about it. Since she is on the swim team with Kendall, Shelley hopes to do well and retain some popularity that way, but when she does poorly in a race and her life generally feels off, she agrees to Ursula's contract. Right away, her swimming times improve, but she also notices some odd changes like gills, webbed fingers and toes, and some scales! Not only that, but having a faster swim time than Kendall makes her friend angry at her! Realizing that this is not how she wanted her wish to go, Shelley asks Ursula to reverse the wish, and the sea witch agrees as long as Shelley does the favor. The rusty, tacky trident in the aquarium display is actually Ursula's key to unlimited power, and she demands that Shelley get it for her, or she won't halt her transformation into a fish. Shelley finally asks Enrique for help in dealing with Ursula, but will the two be able to keep Ursula from gaining power, even with the help of Alana and Attina?
Strengths: The town of Triton Cove, and the parents owning an aquarium was very interesting, and rather on trend with a lot of nautical inspired literature that I've seen lately. The friend drama with Kendall (with her designer, pastel yoga pants) will appeal to students who are themselves often dealing with it. I did appreciate Enrique and Kendall's friends being portrayed as much nicer than Kendall. The Disney inspired villain will appeal to readers who are fans of the movies.
Weaknesses: Kendall was especially mean, to an unrealistic extent, and the entire premise of making the deal with Ursula didn't appeal to me, but I'm not the target demographic.
What I really think: This will be a popular choice among young readers who like Goosebumps or the P.J. Night Creepover series. The second book, Fiends on the Other Side (which my daughter informs me is based off The Princess and the Frog)and Second Star to the Fright (Disney Chills, Book Three) are both due out in October 2020. I can see these being wildly popular at Scholastic book fairs, but even though they are available in a prebind from Follett, I will probably pass on purchase. I will brush off the many Creepover books I have and push those instead.

Honestly, I read this book mainly because my girls were enthralled by Goldberg's Disney Mix and Match Villains (1997) when they were young. I didn't let them watch the movies (they didn't watch television much), but they were allowed to read books about the movies so they would be culturally literate!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh I haven't heard of these. I like your assessment of it. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea but I think the whole idea of the series is clever and will appeal to MG who like Goosebumps, etc. like you mentioned.