- Age Range: 10 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 7
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Clarion Books (November 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0544464974
- ISBN-13: 978-0544464971
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Girl Who Could Not Dream Hardcover – November 3, 2015
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From the Publisher
An Positively Delightful Q&A with the Stars of the Book!
An attempt was made to interview author Sarah Beth Durst about her new book, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, but Sophie—the novel’s twelve-year-old protagonist—wanted to be interviewed instead. And her best friend, a furry monster called Monster, insisted on interviewing her. The results are below.
The Interview Starts...With the Discussion of Cupcakes
Monster: Sophie, your first question is . . . How many cupcakes can I eat for dinner?
Sophie: Monster! You’re supposed to ask questions about our book!
Monster: We wrote a book?!? I love books!
Sophie: Sarah Beth Durst wrote a book about us.
Monster: Ooh, did she tell everyone how nice my fur is? It’s iridescent black. Isn’t that an excellent word? Iridescent, iridescent, iridescent . . . Also, I hope she made it clear that I do NOT eat small children. Even with ketchup. Or barbecue sauce. Or that extra-spicy mayonnaise . . . But I digress. How do you think she came up with the idea to write our story?
Sophie: From dreams. Not a single specific dream, but from the notion of being able to save and relive your dreams. She had the idea of our dream shop, where we distill pure dreams into liquid, then bottle them to sell. Drink the liquid, and you dream the dream. She’s always been kind of obsessed with the ephemeral nature of dreams.
The Interview Continues...And More Cupcakes are Discussed.
Monster: Ooh, good use of the word ephemeral. Where do you think she got the title, The Girl Who Could Not Dream? I mean, it’s nice and all, but I think Monster and the Dream Shop has a better ring to it. Or just Monster in HUGE letters. Or Read This Book: It Has Cupcakes.
Sophie: The title comes from me, Monster. You know I can’t dream. I’ve never had a single dream of my own. Not even a clichéd falling dream or a showing-up-to-school-in-only-underwear dream. And I’m not supposed to drink any of the bottled dreams, because if I do, whatever I dream will come to life. I only sipped a dream that one time when I was six . . .
Monster: That’s when we met and I came out of your dream! I was from a classic monster-in-the-closet dream. Best dream ever.
Sophie: Yes, Monster. You’re the best.
Monster: Are you being sarcastic? I think you’re being sarcastic.
Sophie: Have a cupcake, Monster.
Monster: Murph, murph, mrrrr, mur, murph?
Sophie: Chew first.
The Interview Ends...With More Cupcakes.
Monster: Gulp. Are you ever sorry you dreamed me to life?
Sophie: Never! How can you even ask that? It is hard, though, keeping my family’s secret. I can’t really talk to anyone at school or bring anyone home. I can’t trust anyone. If anyone found out about the dream shop . . . My parents are really, really careful. Only a few buyers and sellers know about us. And none of them knows about me. But sometimes—and please don’t take this personally, Monster—sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have friends.
Monster: Why do you think Sarah wrote our story? Do you think she knows someone who came from a dream bottle, like me?
Sophie: I think books are dream bottles. They can hold friends. And adventures. They can make you laugh and cry. They can make you go someplace you’ve never gone and be someone you’ve never been. I think she wrote this book to create her own dream bottle that she could then share with other people.
Monster: She told you to say that, didn’t she?
Sophie: Yeah. But she tells us to say a lot of stuff. She’s the author, you know. Also, she wants me to ask you if she can have that last cupcake.
Monster: Let me think about that . . . Murph, mrr, merp. Gulp. Better tell her no.
From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Middle school is rough even for ordinary kids, but Sophie is anything but ordinary. For one thing, her parents run a secret underground shop, where they distill, bottle, and sell dreams. Sophie herself has a special power that allows her to bring elements of the dream realm into the real world with her. Worries about getting her homework done and not having anyone to sit with at lunch are overshadowed by the imminent threat that she and her parents will be discovered by the Night Watchmen, a secret police force who prohibit dream-trading. Sophie isolates herself from her peers in order to keep the secrets of the dream shop safe, and her only companion is a wise-cracking, fierce, and furry monster that she brought out of a dream to be her friend. Sophie's carefully constructed world falls apart when a strange man appears at the shop, her parents disappear, and two kids who are connected to the dream shop go missing. To rescue them, Sophie joins forces with Ethan, a friendly boy from school who is troubled by nightmares. Along the way, a wild cast of characters helps Ethan and Sophie summon the strength to take on those who would use the power of dreams for evil. Frequent allusions to Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, and A Wrinkle in Time pay homage to those classic fantasy novels. The book is self-aware, playing with common fantasy tropes, thus reinvigorating the familiar underlying story of a loner having to learn to overcome her fears to save the ones she loves. Strong vocabulary is intergrated throughout the narrative, such as when Monster urges Sophie to "think pugnacious thoughts," or when Sophie is told that an event was "an aberration." A sort of overprotective, curmudgeonly Cheshire Cat, Sophie's monster (named Monster) steals the show with his witty one-liners and interjections of dry humor. Overall, a fun, fast read with broad appeal. VERDICT This is a first-purchase that is suited to reluctant readers as well as fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or Colin Meloy's"The Wildwood Chronicles" (HarperCollins).—Tara Kron, School Library Journal
—School Library Journal, starred review
* "Readers will not want to stop reading this quirky, fast-paced adventure until reaching its satisfactory, heartwarming conclusion...Funny, warm, and highly imaginative."
—Kirkus, starred review
"Young fantasy fans will find much to appreciate in this unusual look at the power of dreams, and what can happen when you are one of the rare few who can bring them to life."
"Durst makes the most of a truly creative premise in a novel filled with wit, empathy, and over-the-top dream moments come to life."
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Top customer reviews
And with an adorable, cupcake-loving, furry, tentacled and oh-so-clever monster, a brave, determined, and strong-willed heroine, a glittery and haughty, but helpful pegasus who poops rainbows, several ninja bunnies, and a boy whose dreams could change everything, there will be smiles, laughs, and even a few tears.
Add in a dream shop hidden beneath a bookstore, two lovable, if a little bit silly, parents, a suspicious customer who calls himself Mr. Nightmare, a theft, a kidnapping, and a few nightmarish creatures come to life, and you have a slightly creepy, totally thrilling, absolutely heartwarming, utter gem of a read.
Sarah Beth Durst created a marvelously outlandish world in THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM filled with some wonderful and rather unusual creatures and some truly bizarre and disturbing ones. She introduced positive messages throughout her story, about family and friendship, about letting people in, about being different, about making assumptions and judgments, about being brave and doing the right thing.
Sophie may be the story’s heroine, but it is only with her best friend, Monster, her new friend Ethan, an unlikely ally, and several non-threatening creatures that she will be able to find out what happened to her parents and find a way to save them. The author shows that working together is better than going it alone, and that being different doesn’t mean being unlikable.
THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM is inventive. And magical. And smart. And humorous. And unique. It will make you wish you were a non-dreamer like Sophie who could dream a best friend like Monster into your life. It will make you wish your family had their very own secret dream shop filled with all sorts of bottled dreams.
It is a fantastic, one-sit-read that will make you want to read it again and again.
This book started out slowly. The title makes it sound as though it is about a girl that can't dream, and in a way, that is what it is about, but it is more than that. It isn't so much that she can't dream, but that she can create dreams, make them become real. That is her "secret power" so to speak, and that is what the book is about.
The first thing she creates, when she is six, is Monster, a tenth allied fury creature who becomes her best friend, or rather, her only friend.
That is why I say this book is about friendship. It is also about thinking through problems.
If you read sample chapters, and they don't go beyond the first two, it might make you not want to continue, but it picks up steam from there, and doesn't let you go. Although I won't say what the ending is here, spoilers or not, I was pleasantly surprised, and think it made the whole book worth it, which is the whole point of a good ending.