Lauren Destefano, Bloomsbury (JULY) Hardcover $16.99 (208pp), 978-1-68119-447-9
Dreaming Dangerous is a darkly thrilling story of magic and suspense. Plum, Vien, Artem, and Gwendle are four extraordinary friends who dream in tandem. They are some of the oldest students at Brassmere Academy, a school full of orphans who possess extraordinary abilities.
Brassmere seems like a happy place; on the surface, its students are content. But the children have no privacy and are studied too closely, visitors aren’t allowed, leaving is forbidden, and the adults are secretive and mysterious.
And the friends’ dreams are becoming dark and scary, full of monsters they must defeat; they are starting to feel unsafe in the waking world too. One night, Plum receives a warning from a sleepwalking student outside of their small circle; it echoes a warning Artem issued while dreaming. The next day, Artem goes missing. It is up to Plum to learn what form the danger will take and to rescue herself and her friends from its clutches.
The four main characters are intriguing, with very different personalities and temperaments. The intimacy of their shared dreams keeps them close to one another. There is a good balance of emotional intensity and physical action in the book, and the mystery of the friends’ situation, combined with the fear of what may be coming, makes the narrative compelling. It is difficult to put the book down.
Not every question is answered by the last page. The ultimate goal of the school’s creator is never disclosed, nor is the fate of most of the students. Still, the story is enjoyably sinister and comes to a satisfying conclusion for the main characters. The book is, simply put, a great deal of fun.