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Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams Paperback – September 1, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Dreaming Anastasia Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—This convoluted and contrived story shuttles between contemporary Chicago, Russia during the reign and downfall of the Romanovs, and the enchanted world of Baba Yaga. Ann, 17, who lives in Chicago, and Ethan, a handsome 18-year-old who mysteriously enters her world, share the narration. She is attracted by his beauty, and she soon develops strange magical powers. Ethan has powers as well; he can protect people and places. Readers eventually learn that he is actually a man who died in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. Ann begins to hear Anastasia's voice in her dreams and sees Baba Yaga and her frightening antics. Supposedly Ann is the one who can save Anastasia Romanov from Baba Yaga's clutches, where she has been since her family was brutally murdered by the revolutionaries, and Ethan has come to enlist her help. After a great deal of mystery about Ann's connection to the Romanov legacy, readers learn that she is the great-great granddaughter of Victor, Anastasia's illegitimate brother who has also survived since 1918. He is trying to stop Ann and Ethan from rescuing Anastasia; if she is found, Ethan and Victor will become mortal and die. In spite of the confusing back and forth, persevering readers might forge ahead to see how the story concludes, but it is a difficult read. Also, the contemporary scenes between Ann and her friend Tess contrast sharply with the book's main focus, and Tess's bitterness over the loss of her virginity awkwardly intrudes on the main plot.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
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Review

"A very entertaining and original story. " - The Book Lush

"The novel is cleverly written in alternating points of view (Anastasia, Anne, and Ethan) and takes you on a ride of paranormal fantasy, contemporary and historical fiction, with a little bit of romance. It's the perfect blend that will attract a variety of readers." - Examiner.com

"I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to research the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga... DREAMING ANASTASIA is easy to read and an enjoyable story. Thank you, Ms. Preble, for a great read." - TeensReadToo.com

"Dreaming Anastasia is a story of love and loss on many different levels. It was a wild, fun and sweetly romantic ride." - Galleysmith.com

"Dreaming Anastasia is a fun young adult fantasy that takes the reader back and forth from current-day Chicago to the time of the Romanovs, and throws in elements of a Russian folktale for added chills." - MsBookish.com

"Joy Preble has given readers an intriguing tale of magic, tragedy, love, and betrayal... Be prepared to fall into this story; your heart will ache for the characters and what they've suffered, especially Anastasia. Lovers of fantasy and romance will not be disappointed, and a sudden twist at the end will leave readers eyes wide and mouths agape... Dreaming Anastasia will most definitely be gracing my shelves from now on. " - YABooksCentral.com
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dreaming Anastasia
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402218176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402218170
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I didn't really know what to expect from this book. I'm drawn to books about the Romanovs, so I thought I'd like this story.

Unfortunately, this is a badly edited book that uses the currently popular YA theme of the very-old-but-smokin'-hot man lusting after a teenage girl. The plot had promise, but the characters were so one-dimensional that they all but killed my interest in the story.

I liked the inclusion of the Baba Yaga element, but that sort of fell flat for me, too. For a much better novel that incorporates this folk tale, try Orson Scott Card's Enchantment.

After reading this book, I'm left with a fairly sour taste in my mouth. But at least I know that Ethan's eyes are blue. How could I forget that fact, after Anne mentions it more than 30 times?
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Format: Paperback
Singularly bad--if this was a book for younger children, the quality might be more understandable, but no excuses on this one. There's too much beautifully written YA out there nowadays for that.

Someone suggested this book to me because I have an advanced degree in Russian Studies, so it seemed like it would be up my alley. From the description on the jacket, it sounded promising, but alas, it was not to be. For the people who are liking the Russian culture lesson...eh. Almost every single Russian word or phrase she used in the book was misspelled to the point of changing the meaning of the word, mistranslated, or misused...unfortunately, all three in some cases. Here are two off the top of my head: it's matryoshka, not matroyshka. "Ya khachu videt'" means "I want to see", not "I want." And Etanovich? Really????

The Russian folklore and culture bits read like she pulled them off Wikipedia and for Romanov history, I suppose she probably read "Nicholas and Alexandra" (or watched the movie). There's no deeper understanding of any of the Russian cultural bits that she tries out, it's all very American and very, oh, it's Russia, let's throw in some gratuitous mentions of the ballet and Tolstoy!

Leaving history and culture aside, the writing is not good. The characters are complete cardboard (except maybe Anastasia, but it's hard to tell, because reading the impossible cursive font that most of her entries were written in was just too annoying after a certain point). Tess and Anne's dialogue is a sad approximation of how adults think teenagers speak--it all comes off stilted and unfunny even when it's trying to be witty. And it never ends--the plot is heavily reliant on dialogue, and the dialogue is the worst part! The story pacing is just...weird.
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Format: Paperback
Anne is a typical American high school student. She is more worried about what college she will get into than Russian history.

But she keeps having a strange dream over and over again. This dream is about Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tzar Nicholas. Nicholas was the last reining Tzar of Russia and his whole family was gunned down in the basement of their house.

Then in walks Ethan. He is an attractive stranger who seems to know Anne and is stalking her.

Add a lacquered box that depicts the fairy tale of Baba Yaga along with the mention that her mother used to enjoy the stories of Russia as well, and you have a compelling story full of romance and mystery.

Oh, and did I mention the blue light coming off Anne's hands, or the arms that come from the sky to try to take Anne away, or the house on chicken feet?

I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to research the Romanov family and the fairy tale character of Baba Yaga. I loved the characters, especially Anne's best friend, Tess, who seems to be in the right place at the right time. She defines the expression, "I've got your back."

DREAMING ANASTASIA is easy to read and an enjoyable story. Thank you, Ms. Preble, for a great read.

Reviewed by: Marta Morrison
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble is the first book in the Dreaming Anastasia series. The book takes place in modern day, but has some interesting historical elements woven into it. Anna Michaelson is an average girl who just happens to dream of Anastasia Romanov. She doesn't just dream about her, she dreams she is her. Anna's life gets turned upside down when a boy named Ethan shows up and changes her life forever.
Joy Preble did a great job mixing history and folklore and turning it into a fascinating read. The characters are great. Anna and Ethan have great chemistry. Tess, Anna's best friend, is a true friend in every sense of the word. Anna has to search inside herself to discover the truth and unravel the mystery of Anastasia while trying to escape two different nemesis. The girl has her hands full.
Overall this is a good book. I like the modern-day twist on historical facts blended with Russian folklore. It also has action, adventure, mystery, and romance. Dreaming Anastasia was predictable at times, but still very enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story was frustrating on many levels. I was interested in reading the book because of the connection to Anastasia Romanov. I am glad I resisted the urge to buy until I had the opportunity to get this for free on my Kindle. The story makes little sense, even for a paranormal read. Anne meets a boy named Ethan, who really isn't a boy because he is immortal and was a first hand witness to the murder of the Romanovs. Then Anne finds out that she is the missing link, the girl Ethan has been waiting for since that fateful day of the murders. Anne can apparently unlock the mystery of Anastasia's disappearance and can help break her out of the hut where she has been held, frozen in time, all these years.

This is where it gets even weirder. The author makes an attempt at mixing the fictionalized historical parts with a Russian fairy tale/fable. It doesn't work at all. Baba Yaga send her detached hands down to wreck havoc and keep Anne and Ethan from Anastasia? Huh. And the three horsemen thing had a big lead up like it was important and feel flat to me.

The best part was the climax and conclusion although what happens to Anastasia is sort of a let down. The book has some good. The story is easy to read when sometimes thats just what I need. It is a page turner and it is definitely unique. My biggest complaint is that I just can't shake the thought that this story may be somewhat disrespectful to the Roamanov's. There are a lot of liberties taken with this book and thats fine, the story is 100 years old but it should still be a little more respectful. There is no feeling for the deaths of the family...even Anastasia's recollections don't seem to feel all that grief stricken.

I think I just wanted more from this book. And trust me there are MANY better YA books out there worth reading.
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