Sunday, January 03, 2021

The Nightmare Thief

Lesperance, Nicole. The Nightmare Thief
January 2021 by Sourcebooks Young Readers 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maren's sister Hallie was in an auto accident that has left her in a coma. It's been long enough that the medical professionals think she should go to long term care. Since all of the facilities specializing in this are far away from Blackpool Bay,  where the family has moved to live with Maren's grandmother, Lishta, Maren is desperate to help her sister get better. Lishta runs a shop that specializes in typewriters and dreams. All of Rockpool Bay has some magic to it, and Maren and her grandmother create dreams and nightmares for people to purchase. One shady customer, Obscura Gray, wants to break the rules and get more nightmares than Lishta is willing to sell her. There are rules about giving dreams to others, and when Obscura tapes Maren giving a dream to Hallie at the hospital, Obscura blackmails the girl into providing her with nightmares. While she doesn't know exactly what Obscura is doing with them, Maren can imagine-- local shop owners are having horrific nightmares and selling up. Their properties are being taken over by nefarious sounding businesses, and Blackpool Bay is not the same. On the bright side, the dream seems to have helped Hallie, who has started to speak and open her eyes. When Obscura asks for even more magic and Maren is not able to provide it, she fears that she, her family and the whole town are in jeopardy. Will Maren be able to defeat Obscura?
Strengths: Lishta's typewriter repair shop was great fun, although it is probably equally as likely that she has a dream shop! Rockpool Bay is a delightful area, even though it is endangered by the conniving Obscura. Maren's concern for her sister is realistic, and Obscura is a great villain. This whole book had a sort of Roald Dahl-esque feel to it. The magical world was very close to the real world, and Maren has to save the day.  
Weaknesses: Obscura was a little too obviously evil, in a sort of Cruella deVil way. This makes the book feel a little on the younger side, since middle school readers like a little more nuance. 
What I really think: The blurbs that describe this as being like Ingrid Law and Natalie Lloyd's books are spot on, and I would throw in Wendy Mass as well. There's a touch of Corey Haydu's Eventown as well.

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