The Nightmare Thief is a promising start to a middle grade fantasy series. While it wasn’t perfect for me, I enjoyed this somewhat slow pace, high stakes story about Maren, a girl with dream magic, and the strange happenings in the magical seaside town where she resides.

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The summary, from Amazon:

For fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl comes a suspenseful dark fantasy duology, perfect for middle school readers that love stories of magic and sisterhood with a dash of danger.

Maren Partridge loves working in her family’s dream shop where she can hand-craft any dream imaginable. The shop has only one rule. Dreams cannot be given to a person without their consent. Maren has no problem with this―until her sister, Hallie, has an accident that leaves her in a coma. Maren’s certain she can cure Hallie with a few well-chosen dreams. And when no one is watching, she slips her a flying dream.

But a strange new customer from the shop has been following Maren and knows what she did. Now she’s laid the perfect trap to blackmail Maren into creating custom nightmares for a dark and terrible purpose. As Maren gets drawn further into the sinister scheme, she must make a choice: to protect her family or to protect the town from her family’s magic.

Pick up the first book in the Nightmare Thief duology if you are looking for:

  • Suspenseful stories of magical realism for kids with a side of danger
  • Gifts for 11 year old girls, 13 year old girls, and any young reader 11-14 that loves fantasy
  • Books that explore bullying, family ties, and feature strong female characters
  • Books for 4th graders, and any classroom with grades 3-8

Buy The Nightmare Thief here.

The Nightmare Thief by Nicole Lesperance follows Maren, a young girl who lives in a magical town. Many of the residents there have magical powers, making this quaint seaside neighborhood a popular tourist attraction. Maren’s family has dream magic and operates a dream shop, where they sell all sorts of dreams. Maren’s big sister, Hallie, is in a coma after being in a car accident. Maren has the idea that if she slips Hallie dreams, Hallie might wake up. She follows through with her plan sneakily, even though she knows she would get in trouble with her grandmother (who owns the dream shop) and the hospital for slipping Hallie a dream while unconscious without her consent. Unfortunately, a villainous character who seems to want to take over the entire town catches Maren in the act and uses this as leverage. She wants Maren to provide her with nightmares in exchange for not ratting Maren out.

This book had so many memorable characters for me, including Henri, a parrot who speaks French and has an attitude. While it wraps up nicely, I can see how it could be the start to a series. My only issue was some of the language Maren uses to describe Hallie while she is in a coma. I think Maren only uses words like “vegetable” and “doll” because she is frustrated, but it should have been made more clear that this isn’t appropriate or kind terminology to use to describe someone in a comatose state. Overall, this was an enjoyable 4 star read for me.

Find out more about how I rate books here.

The Nightmare Thief (The Nightmare Thief, #1)The Nightmare Thief by Nicole Lesperance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, a truly enjoyable and exciting read! I loved this one. My only qualm was some of the language used when Maren is thinking about how Hallie is in a coma…

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Book Club Questions

  1. Why is it forbidden to share dreams (or nightmares) with someone who doesn’t or can’t consent?
  2. When Maren slips Hallie a dream, do you think that should be an exception from the rules? Why or why not?
  3. How is consent important in our lives?
  4. How are dreams and nightmares powerful, both in this book and in real life?
  5. If you could have any sort of magical power, even something quirky, creative, or low key like in The Nightmare Thief, what would you want and why?

Interested? Buy The Nightmare Thief.
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peacefully reading