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The Girl Who Could Not Dream

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Sophie loves the hidden shop below her parents' bookstore, where dreams are secretly bought and sold. When the dream shop is robbed and her parents go missing, Sophie must unravel the truth to save them. Together with her best friend—a wisecracking and fanatically loyal monster named Monster—she must decide whom to trust with her family’s carefully guarded secrets. Who will help them, and who will betray them?   

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 3, 2015

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About the author

Sarah Beth Durst

39 books2,566 followers
Sarah Beth Durst is the award-winning author of over twenty books for kids, teens, and adults, including Spark, Drink Slay Love, and The Queens of Renthia series. She won an ALA Alex Award and a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her children, and her ill-mannered cat. Visit her at sarahbethdurst.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 322 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
October 2, 2016
Full review, originally posted on www.fantasyliterature.com:


Monsters, glittery flying ponies, ninja bunnies and other fantastical creatures inhabit the pages of The Girl Who Could Not Dream, Sarah Beth Durst’s enchanting new middle grade fantasy adventure novel. Sophie’s parents own a secretive dream shop, where you can buy bottled dreams or ― if you prefer more frightening adventures ― nightmares. (It’s like reading a Stephen King novel, only more immersive.) Her family uses woven dreamcatchers to capture other peoples’ dreams, and then her parents distill the dreams into liquid form, bottle them and sell them to customers.

Because Sophie has never had a dream of her own, when she was six years old her curiosity led her to swipe a dream bottle off the shelf and drink it. She was immediately plunged into a dream where she was sitting in a pink-ruffled bed, watching a furry black tentacled monster, with three rows of sharp teeth, scuttling around the bed. Instead of cowering in terror, Sophie promptly befriended the dream monster, and when she awoke from her dream he was cuddled up beside her like a rather large housecat. After a bit of fast talking, she convinced her alarmed parents to let her keep Monster, who becomes a fantastically loyal and protective friend to Sophie.
Tentacles out, Monster sailed through the air and slammed into Sophie’s chest. She staggered back as Monster wrapped two tentacles around her neck. “Oof! Hi, Monster.”

“You’re upset. Who upset you?” Monster demanded. “Tell me, and I’ll bite him.”

“No biting,” Sophie and Mom said at the same time.

“Little nibbles?”

“No,” they said.

“Ferocious licks?”
Sophie, now twelve, has no real friends other than Monster, but she talks to a few kids at school who have frequent nightmares. Sophie lends them dreamcatchers, which help to minimize the effects of their nightmares, and trades them new dreamcatchers for used ones every few days, giving her parents the used dreamcatchers so they can distill and sell the nightmares. But when two of Sophie’s nightmare-ridden acquaintances suddenly disappear, along with Sophie’s parents and their dream-distilling machine, Sophie finds she needs to not only summon up the courage to try to fix a problem she has inadvertently helped to create, but also rely on the help of others, like Monster and her new friend Ethan, which isn’t easy for a girl with loner tendencies to do. Sophie and her friends learn some useful lessons about not judging others by their appearance, facing their fears, and having loyalty to others.

The Girl Who Could Not Dream has a briskly paced plot, spiced with frequent humor and sly allusions to other fantasy novels and tropes. The dream distilling machine, with its viewer, is reminiscent of the Pensieve in the Harry Potter series that holds memories for viewing by others. And the unicorn-horned pegasus, who sheds glitter with every toss of his mane and demands the admiration of everyone around him, was a humorous reminder of My Little Pony, with the added charm of his rainbow-farting ability. Even ninja bunnies make an appearance, and show that they’re much more capable than their pink, fluffy appearance might lead one to believe.

Life lessons go down easy when they’re packaged with an exciting adventure and laugh-out-loud humor, and The Girl Who Could Not Dream has both in abundance. The jokes and humor, particularly Monster’s sarcastic commentary and sense of humor, is a highlight of The Girl Who Could Not Dream, helping to make it one of the rare middle grade books that I think will be enjoyable by adults as well as children. Monster’s wise-cracking also includes some insightful commentary:
“This is your dream now,” Monster said. “You are dreaming, Sophie, no matter where the dream came from. Your mind is here. Your heart is here. And Sophie… whether I am in the world or not, I will always be with you, in your mind and in your heart. It’s where I’m meant to be — where I choose to be.”
I highly recommend The Girl Who Could Not Dream, especially for readers in the 8-14 age range, but I found it completely delightful and captivating even as an adult. So if I go missing in the next few days, I’m probably off looking for a dream distiller to create my very own Monster.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
168 reviews286 followers
July 23, 2017
Glittery unicorns pooping rainbows. Pink ninja rabbits. Wise-cracking, monster sidekicks. Dastardly villains. Tell me seriously: how could this book be anything but pure GOLD??!!

But if you’re still not sold, (did you read the part about the RAINBOW POOPING UNICORNS??? C’mon now...) a bit of background: Sophie’s parents run a secret underground shop where dreams, caught in dream catchers, are distilled, bottled, and sold. However, Sophie herself cannot dream. Upon consumption of a dream, what Sophie CAN do is bring forth elements from the dream realm into the real world. Kinda like Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. Except not so….. bloody.

Unfortunately, dream-trading is illegal which means Sophie’s family is under constant scrutiny by a secret police force referred to as the “Night Watchmen.” Basically, it’s prohibition, Sophie’s parents are bootlegging Al Capones desperately trying to evade Eliot Ness. To preserve her family’s safety, Sophie isolates herself from her middle school classmates. Her lone friend is a cupcake-lovin’, tentacled, snarky (yet loyal) monster named, what else? MONSTER.

Despite Sophie’s best efforts, on her 12th birthday her world implodes. On an epic level. A mysterious gentleman known only as “Mr. Nightmare” pops into the dream shop and spots Sophie with Monster. Later that day, Sophie’s school locker is broken into and her dream catchers stolen. All that remains is a note from Mr. Nightmare. Sophie races home to discover her parents vanished along with the dream distiller and a large supply of dreams. On the same day, Sophie’s classmate Ethan is attacked by a horrific creature and two other kids connected to the shop are kidnapped.

Make no mistake: this book can be DARK. Yes, it’s sprinkled with humor but those elements are expertly mixed with a frightening, fast-paced plot. Sarah Beth Durst ain’t playing around: Mr. Nightmare is a hardcore villain. And it’s up to Sophie to stop him. The narrative is hugely compelling, well-balanced, and skillfully crafted. A true gem, especially for reluctant readers.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,632 followers
November 17, 2014
Ugh, so good. This is one of those, "Why didn't I think of that idea?!" books.

As usual, Durst gives us the perfect mix of whimsy and creepy, with a healthy dash of humor mixed in. Sophie and her pet, Monster, were just so delightful, and I loved her parents as well. It's so nice to see real parents, with both quirky personalities and realistic parenting instincts, in a middle grade book. The concept is fun, and well executed, the characters were fabulous, and there were pink ninja bunnies. Ninja. Bunnies.

The book is so great, and I can't wait to hold a real paper copy in my hot little hands!
Profile Image for Jules.
1,048 reviews185 followers
November 9, 2015

The Girl Who Could Not Dream is a fun and magical fantasy adventure that has a hint of The BFG meets The Neverending Story.

I found it both funny and touching at times, and even had tears welling up at one point.

I loved the bookshop that served up homemade cupcakes, and had a hidden shop in the basement that sold dreams. I also loved the fun characters Monster and Glitterhoof.

Monster reminded me of when I asked Father Christmas for one of those huge ‘My Pet Monster’ cuddly toys one year. I had that cuddly toy for years. I also had a dreamcatcher hanging from my curtain rail for a few years, so I found the details about dreamcatchers fascinating, and wished I’d known more as a child, as I might have had less nightmares.

It really felt like this book could have been written for me if I had read it as a child. It even made reference to My Little Pony, which was my all-time obsession as a child.

Sophie is a bit of a misfit who doesn’t fit in with the cool kids, so I think this would really appeal to children and young teenagers who are perhaps a little shy or lacking in self-confidence. It can also be enjoyed by big 37 year old kids like myself.

I would like to thank the publisher, Clarion Books for allowing me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews712 followers
October 24, 2015
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

This book is the cutest thing ever and I knew I would love it as soon as I read the title of the book. I mean a book about a Girl Who Could Not Dream? COUNT ME IN. By the time I got around to reading the blurb of the book, I learned that there was a dream shop in the book; a place where one could buy or sell dreams. I practically fell of my chair because I was flailing too hard.

Sophie is such a fun character to read about. She is awkward and lonely and her best friend her loyal pet named monster (who is also a monster.) She is also a smart kid and super nice to the people around her. When her parents go missing, she thinks she is by herself but Ethan, her new found friend, refuses to leave her side (after all, what are friends for.)

The world this book is set in is well developed and so interesting to be in. Who doesn’t want to be in a world that features shops where you can buy dreams, monsters and a cupcakes (yes there are cupcakes in this book.)

I also loved the mystery and the way Ethan and Sophie got to the bottom of things. They are smart kids and know when they are defeated but they always ended up finding ways to defeat the odds (whether it be by befriending a unicorn or summoning an army of ninja rabbits.)

This is definitely a book I would recommend to all lovers of urban fantasy and books that feature dreams. After all, there *are* cupcakes to drool over…

Note that I received an eARC of the book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Bill Tillman.
1,644 reviews65 followers
August 23, 2015
This is one awesome mid-grade book. Sophie is a girl without dreams, except for one time she sunk into the basement under the bookshop and drank a dream! The result was "Monster" an almost 50 pound cat with three rows of shark like teeth, and six tentacles on his black furry back. You will love Monster who pretends to be a college professor with attitude. Out two hero's are matched against the evil Mr. Nightmare and it's a battle for the rest of the story. Warning this is a page Turner that's hard to put down.
Profile Image for Queery.
29 reviews11 followers
May 4, 2018
I want to start this review off by expressing my overall appreciation for Sarah Beth Durst. As a big fan of twisted fairy tales, everything I’ve read by her to date has bought me a lot of joy and I haven’t hesitated to recommend it to anyone and everyone.
That… wont be happening with The Girl Who Could Not Dream.

The book is just as fresh and fun as her earlier stories. I love the characters - I would have died for a best friend like Monster when I was a kid. I love (most of) the concept – an underground world built on trading dreams, being able to experience other people’s subconscious and, in some cases, bring dream elements into the real world. There’s so much in here I should love.

But it also relies heavily on dream catchers as magical artifacts.

In the novel, Sophie’s parents collect dreams (of all sorts) through the dream catchers they give to patrons of their bookshop. They then harvest these dreams (without the patrons’ knowledge) and sell them onto a black market of dream buyers. Dreamcatchers are weapons too - dream creatures can be sent back into dreams by holding dream catchers against their bodies.

If you’ve got to this point, and you’re wondering where I’m going with this, don’t worry. I’m going to unpack it for you. In essence though? Using dream catchers as a cool magical tool seems a lot like cultural appropriation.

(Before I go any further, I want to recognise that I am a white reader, living on unceded Coast Salish territory in Vancouver. I work in an Indigenous library, and so spend a lot of time thinking about issues of representation and cultural appropriation, but if any Indigenous readers have corrections or additions, then I’d welcome your input and am grateful to learn)

Here are some perspectives on the roles dream catchers can play in Indigenous* cultures and traditions, which I found almost as soon as I began researching. They mostly refer to the production and consumption of physical dream catchers, but I think they’re still relevant to this conversation:

‘In many Ojibwe communities, dream catchers are still a sacred, and their creation involves specific ceremonies and prayers’ (Native Appropriations: http://nativeappropriations.com/2011/...)

"The dream catcher, to us, is a sacred item," White said. "It's lost a lot of meaning, even in our own tribe. It's like losing our language, our culture -- another symptom of a larger thing." (Native News Network: http://nativenewsnetwork.posthaven.co...)

‘Dream catchers have become misappropriated from the Anishinaabek Indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes region. […] Making a real dream catcher for a beloved infant is an act that goes beyond gathering the correct materials and knowing when and how to assemble them. The oral traditions are also passed on. A real dream catcher is used to catch any bad dreams and allow good dreams to pass freely to a sleeping infant or child. I'm sure the plan is well-intentioned. However, you have the added activity of writing a positive dream that is then connected to the dream catcher -- caught and held in the dream catcher. Negative dreams and thoughts are caught in the web of Native American-made dream catchers.’
(SFU blog: https://www.sfu.ca/ipinch/outputs/blo...)

From these, we can learn several things.
1. Dream catchers are more than just cool cultural artifacts to many Indigenous people, and they are considered sacred by some communities
2. In fact, they are tied to a specific context and people – the Anishinaabek Indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes region
3. Dream catchers only catch negative dreams – using them to catch all dreams (as in the book) diverts their purpose and makes them tools rather than sacred objects
4. Dream catchers are not weapons

But Cinders, you say. It’s a kid’s book about magic and dreams. Obviously it isn’t real. Why does it matter?

1. There are no Indigenous people in the book. The dream catchers have no cultural context and Indigenous people might as well not exist. This helps to separate dream catchers from their cultural context and suggests that Indigenous people no longer exist (this is a problem across a lot of literature up to and including school curriculums!)
2. The stories we tell and share with children shape the way they see the world. That’s even a theme in this book – Sophie’s parents do own a bookshop after all. When we share stories that depend upon cultural appropriation, we tell them that these cultures do not matter. That living cultures are just folklore if they don’t meet the presumed Western norm. That sacred items are toys.

Now, I don’t know is Sarah Beth Durst is Indigenous or not. She doesn’t define herself as belonging to any nation in her online bio, and so I’d guess not, but I don’t know. Regardless, though, I think that her use of dream catchers here is potentially harmful and lets down the rest of the book.
I spent most of my reading time wondering what a version of The Girl Who Could Not Dream would be like without dream catchers… If Sophie’s parents had a spell of some sort, or another machine like their dream distiller… If Durst had drawn on traditions from dead, rather than living, cultures.

I think it’s important to emphasise, again, that I really did enjoy other parts of the book. This review isn’t meant as an attack on either the author or her writing. It’s intended more to introduce an alternate perspective to the reviews, and (ideally) to invite everyone to question the use of Indigenous culture in books that are not written from an Indigenous perspective.

*I’ll be using Indigenous as an overarching term here, as many nations in both the United States and Canada have a history of working with dream catchers.
Profile Image for Stefanie Hasse hisandherbooks.de.
726 reviews225 followers
September 30, 2017
Sophie kann nicht träumen. Und wenn sie es mithilfe der destillierten Träume aus dem Traumladen ihrer Eltern doch tun würde, würde das passieren, was in ihrer Kindheit geschah: Sie kann Dinge aus ihrem Traum mit in die Realität bringen.
Dass dies streng verboten ist, ist klar. Dennoch hat sich Sophie so allein gefühlt, dass sie ihren einzigen Freund – Monster aus dem Traum - behalten durfte. Denn vom Traumgeschäft ihrer Eltern, das im Untergeschoss unter deren Buchladen betrieben wird, darf niemand erfahren und Freunde sind daher ausgeschlossen. Aber an Sophies 12. Geburtstag geht einiges schief: Zwei benutzte Traumfänger von Kindern aus der Schule sind plötzlich verschwunden und zuhause wurde eingebrochen. Von all den in Flaschen abgefüllten Albträumen, dem Traumdestilliergerät – und ihren Eltern! – fehlt jede Spur.
Ausgerechnet der Junge, dem Sophie zur Befreiung seiner Albträume einen Traumfänger gegeben hat, will ihr helfen, ihre Eltern wiederzufinden.

Das wundervolle Cover von „Die Macht der verlorenen Träume“ hat mich ebenso neugierig gemacht wie der Klappentext, der ein wunderbar neues Abenteuer versprach – das ich auch definitiv erhalten habe.

Schon der Einstieg ging leicht von der Hand. Ich erfuhr, wie Sophie zu ihrem „Freund“ Monster kam: Indem sie verbotenerweise einen Traum aus dem Laden ihrer Eltern getrunken und geträumt hat. Sie durfte das Wesen mit den fellbesetzten Tentakeln dennoch behalten – als Beschützer. Denn das Traumgeschäft ist alles andere als ungefährlich. Das erfährt Sophie an ihrem 12. Geburtstag, als sich alles verändert.

Die Grundidee des Buches war fantastisch: Träume können in Traumfängern gefangen werden, aus den Netzen befreit und zu einer Flüssigkeit destilliert werden, die – entweder zum Gruseln, zur Phobiebewältigung oder nachbearbeitet zur Befriedigung der Abenteuerlust – von anderen getrunken und geträumt werden können.

Es ist ein gefährliches Geschäft und sollten die Nachtwächter vom geheimen Laden ihrer Eltern erfahren – oder noch schlimmer: von Sophies Fähigkeit, Träume in die Realität zu holen – wäre das ihr Ende. Aber dass noch weit Schlimmeres damit angestellt werden kann, muss Sophie schon bald herausfinden – gemeinsam mit ihrem neugewonnenen „Freund“, der ihr zu verdanken hat, von seinen Albträumen befreit zu sein.

In altersgerechter Sprache führt die Autorin durch Sophies wundersame Welt der Träume. Sophie ist stark und unabhängig, auch wenn sie gerne echte Freunde hätte, weiß sie um die Gefahr, die das Traumgeschäft mit sich bringt und sie hat ja auch ihr Traummonster „Monster“. Trotz all der fantastischen Elemente konnte Sarah Beth Durst eine Botschaft in die Geschichte einflechten: Wahre Freunde halten immer zu dir und Ängste kann man gemeinsam besiegen.
Die Spannung steigt stetig an, wird aber durch „Monster“ und seine flapsigen Sprüche und weitere lustige Highlights auf ein erträgliches Maß reduziert.

Natürlich kommt „Die Macht der verlorenen Träume“ zu einem kindgerechten Happyend und ich kann das Buch beruhigt meinem kleineren Sohn zum Lesen geben.

„Die Macht der verlorenen Träume“ von Sarah Beth Durst entführt in eine fantasievolle, kindgerechte Welt rund um Monster, gefangene und destillierte Träume und wofür die schlimmsten Albträume gut sein können. Eine spannende Geschichte in altersgerechter Sprache, die ich absolut weiterempfehlen kann. 5 Bücher für Sophie und „Monster“.

© hisandherbooks.de
Profile Image for Brenda.
847 reviews36 followers
October 18, 2016
Originally posted at Log Cabin Library

Sophie and her parents live inside a bookstore where they sell books and bottled dreams. Dreams and nightmares that Sophie and her family collect in dreamcatchers they make. Sophie shares her dreamcatchers with Madison, Lucy, and new boy Nathan, to collect their nightmares. The dreamcatchers then are converted into a liquid dream or nightmare which people in the store can buy. Sophie is unique because she is unable to have a dream or nightmare, but she has always been curious. So curious that when she was little, she stole one of the bottles off the shelf and by drinking it found herself inside someone else's nightmare. While exploring, Sophie found Monster, not the creepy under the bed kind, but one who was just as lonely as she was. Inadvertently, she brought him back into the world with her. Sophie didn't know she had the ability to bring dreams to life, and Monster was just the friend that she had been looking for. The two are inseparable. Yet, Sophie and Monster have also received the attention of the Night Watchmen, a set of people who want to get rid of Monster and end their families dream trade. The mysterious Mr. Nightmare has also turned up at the family store requesting bottled nightmares and he even steals the dreamcatchers that Sophie has been giving to Madison, Lucy, and Nathan. Then someone breaks into the store and Sophie's parents disappear causing her and Ethan to go on a reconnaissance mission to Mr. Nightmare's house to try and find them. What they uncover is just as disturbing as Mr. Nightmare.

I really enjoyed reading The Girl Who Could Not Dream. The plot of bottled dreams and nightmare's and the way that they can be distilled into a liquid that you can drink. Kinda reminds me of the Pensieve in Harry Potter. Though in this case, Sophie has the ability to physically go inside and take things out of her dreams and bring them to life. Makes for some amusing (pink ninja bunnies and a unicorn) and creepy things (big spider woman and a monster without a face). I was also surprised by how much I liked Sophie's parents. The way they interacted was refreshing and how honest they were with her. So different from the usual uninvolved/absent parents that I normally read. It really added to the tension when Sophie discovers them missing later on. This passage was one of my favorites, "You can't send me away when you're going to talk about important things that have to do with me, Sophie protested." "Sure we can," Dad said. "That's what parents do all the time." Mom patted her shoulder. "We were just more subtle about it when you were younger." I can't go forgetting Monster, who really seems more like an overgrown housecat than a Monster, and his protectiveness over Sophie is adorable. I do wish that we could give some of these characters a name, instead of just calling him Monster. I also wished that Monster didn't seem so cartoonish on the cover when he really comes off as sweet, lovable and humorous in the story. I can easily see this being made into a series that children between the ages of 10 and 12 would enjoy.
July 27, 2020
Such a beautiful cover!😍😍 Such a beautiful story! I just finished this, & it got a book hug right after I finished. I have many of Sarah Beth Durst’s books, but this is the 1st one I’ve read-I’m so impressed, & I can’t wait to read more by her. This book shows Sophie overcoming so many of her fears-most of them by simply being SEEN. She’s so used to laying low, & flying under the radar. Not being noticed. Having no friends, but her Monster. This book shows how important friendships(human ones lol) can be-especially at that age. Believing in yourself, & that you are deserving of friendship. Sophie certainly is. This book shows the importance & power of dreams & of ones mind. I loved Monster w/my whole heart & soul. I want him all for myself lol He was such a great & hilarious little sidekick! There’s a glittery unicorn-that literally poops a rainbow!-, pink ninja rabbits, all sorts of different scary monsters, & a creepy villain! The kids go on an amazing adventure to rescue Sophie’s parents & the missing children. This adventure also bonds them & starts the beginnings of friendship Sophie never thought possible. I loved seeing where that would go & how it developed. This from the book is 1 of the best things Ive ever read:”All her life, Sophie had been taught that books are precious. Each one holds people & worlds. Each one is a piece of someone’s heart & mind that they chose to share. They were shared dreams.” Ughhhh so good! The whole idea of catching & selling dreams, the dream catchers...all of it was such a creative, unique idea for a story..& I loved it so much. I highly recommend it! I wish I could get more books w/these characters & world! I need more!😭😭💜💜

Synopsis: Sophie loves the hidden shop below her parents' bookstore, where dreams are secretly bought and sold. When the dream shop is robbed and her parents go missing, Sophie must unravel the truth to save them. Together with her best friend—a wisecracking and fanatically loyal monster named Monster—she must decide whom to trust with her family’s carefully guarded secrets. Who will help them, and who will betray them?
Profile Image for gio.
1,019 reviews386 followers
August 24, 2015
I received an ebook copy of this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The girl who could not dream is a cute middle grade book. It has bottled dreams, a cute furry monster and cupcakes. I mean, being a middle grade book it is quite simple but it works. If you're ten years old you're going to love it and well, if you're older you're going to smile at this cuteness. Monster is so so so adorable.

Overall this one was adorable and quite enjoyable. A quick, funny read, with an awesome sidekick.
Profile Image for Nadja.
1,565 reviews62 followers
June 5, 2018
This was fun! An adventurous and fantastical story with great humour. Monster is simply the best! :)

Around the Year Challenge 2018: A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list.
Buzzword Readathon_ Round 1: buzzword_girl
Profile Image for Cheryl.
9,311 reviews399 followers
December 5, 2018
Not sure why I didn't love this. It's got originality, appealing characters, and plenty of heart. It's coherent, exciting, funny, and well-written. The kid is not an orphan, in fact is beloved by a loving couple with a sense of humor and with a reasonable amount of courage and competence. Maybe it's just that it has too much focus on adventure *for me* and is too ready to be made into a movie *for me*.

I think it would be perfect for most kids in its intended audience. I do recommend it to you, if you're already interested. And I will look for more by the author.

It did give me something to think about regarding bad books. "Each one holds people and worlds. Each one is a piece of someone's heart and mind that they chose to share. They were shared dreams."

(Now, that doesn't mean that everybody's baby is worth reading. Or that every 'classic' that I read only to discover that it's unbearably misogynist and racist is worth my attention. But it's something to think about, at least.)
Profile Image for Katie.
2,667 reviews144 followers
December 16, 2015
From the time I first heard of this until I finished, I was under the impression it was by Sarah Addison Allen. I might have STILL thought it was, if it weren't for my Kindle's "other books by this author" pop up. My brain's shorthand--three named Sarah? Must be Sarah Addison Allen!--often is an asset, but sometimes it gets me in trouble!

This also sounded like the kind of premise Allen might write, but it makes sense for Durst, too!

Annnnnyway, to talk about the actual book, mostly I didn't get a good sense of the world. Things weren't as clear as they should be.

It was okay otherwise! One of those middle grade books that made feel like I'm just not the right audience.
Profile Image for Shoshana.
619 reviews51 followers
April 4, 2015
Imaginative and wonderful - I loved reading this! Sophie is everything you want in a main character and I dare you not to fall in love with her best friend (a six-tentacled monster... named Monster). I only wish it was a tiiiny bit less scary so I could rec it to a broader range of kids!
Profile Image for Kandace Brown.
44 reviews
July 28, 2019
My daughter & I enjoyed this book. I found the start to drag out a bit but once the adventure started we were always wanting to read & kept guessing our theories on what might be next to happen.
25 reviews
July 7, 2019
The story was okay, and had some interesting sci-fi aspects, but I would never give this book to a child.

I'm not one of those people who believes that children's stories need to have a moral lesson, but I'm also sensitive about sending bad messages to children. This story has a very bad lesson about consent.

The protagonist's parents run a "dream shop", where they buy and sell dreams, without the knowledge or consent of the dreamer. The idea of consent was broached a few times during the story. When the protagonist's friends found out that their dreams are being sold to other people, they had a negative reaction, like "You took away my dreams and sold them without asking my permission?!"

Since some of the characters seemed upset that their dreams were being sold without consent, I thought that by the end of the story, the protagonist would have to give some serious thought as to whether or not it's wrong to take someone's dreams without their permission.

But I was wrong. The message at the end of the story was terrible. There was a "bad guy" character who also took people's dreams without consent. Since the bad guy had evil intentions, his non-consentual use of dreams was deemed "evil". But since her parents had good intentions, the protagonist decided that their non-consentual use of dreams was "good".

In my view, her parents are flat-out *stealing* dreams from people and selling them for profit. They are nearly as evil as the actual bad guy. In the end, the protagonist barely gave it any thought, and completely glossed over the idea of consent, and conflated consent with good intentions.

This is not a message that I want to give to any child.
Profile Image for Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all).
1,971 reviews179 followers
November 17, 2018
I picked this up because I lost the ability to remember my dreams after a couple of TIAs. Before that, going to sleep was like going to the movies; I had the most extraordinary, vivid, detailed dreams, many of which I can remember in detail 20 years later. Then came the TIAs, and now I may remember that I have dreamed, but not what. Or maybe just a scrap, more agonising than nothing at all. None of those around me understand why I would give major body parts to get that capability back.

Therefore this book. I enjoyed it so much more than I would have thought possible!! This quest story is so definitely Not My Sort of Thing, and yet...dare I say it, I can imagine this being turned into either quite a good fantasy movie, or a total disaster, depending on who they get to direct it and whether or not they feel the need to "improve" (change) the story.

Of course, Dunst is a product of the fantasy writers who have gone before. There's a definite smell of A Wrinkle in Time about it: Sophie the brainiac teams up with Ethan the superjock who just happens to be to-die-for cute and nice as well, and Monster comes along for the ride as a sort of non-human Charles Wallace character. But I will admit I swallowed it whole in less than 24 hours. An excellent weekend read.
Profile Image for Fi's Journey.
522 reviews20 followers
January 2, 2020
"We exist within the dream, like characters exist inside a book. The dream doesn't change, unless it's dreamed again. Like a book rewritten."

I loved that it is original. It has an interesting concept about Dreams. I found it fascinating that there is a way to catch dreams (via a Dream Catcher) and then a procedure to getting the dream and putting it into a bottle.

The characters were likable for the most part. I think this book was more about the plot and its theme about Dreams. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just an observation. I thought the story was great and engaging. I liked Sophie (our main character) but my favourite character is Monster who is Sophie's best friend. He has the best quotes, is intelligent and funny (he loves reading, too). I loved that this was quite dark for a middle-grade book.

"Of course. I'm very heroic," Monster said. "And I have no moral qualms about vomiting on bad guys."

I actually was surprised by how creepy it got. I got to say there are some scary scenes in here, too. Be aware about that.

4.5 to 5 stars from me. I definitely would re-read it again.
Profile Image for Amy Neftzger.
Author 13 books173 followers
October 25, 2015
A highly imaginative look at dreams, the importance of childhood friends, and learning to deal with fear. Although Sophie in unable to dream on her own, when she ingests the dreams of others the things int eh dream become real. This is a great way to explore the line between reality and dreams and the importance of each. Durst write some great characters, including a lovable monster, a vain Unicorn/ Pegasus, and a sinister villain called "Mr. Nightmare."

The story moves at a good pace and takes the reader on a few unexpected twists and turns. One of the best children's fantasy books that I've read this year.

Note: I was given a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for hpboy13.
879 reviews38 followers
January 12, 2016
When Sarah Beth Durst is on, she’s really on – her fertile imagination has given us yet another brilliant fantasy, this time for the middle grade crowd. She takes a premise that is deceptively simple – what if dreams were tangible? – and runs with it, creating an elaborate world that this book only scratches the surface of. Sequel, please?

The book is funny, it’s heart-warming, it gets surprisingly dark in places… in short, it’s everything a reader can ask for. Lastly, someone please get me a Monster plushie! He’s adorable.
1 review
March 14, 2018
Ein fantasievolles Kinderbuch, das ich bestimmt sehr gerne gelesen hätte als ich noch kleiner war. Liebevoll entwickelte Charaktere und eine spannende Geschichte machen diese Geschichte zu etwas Besonderem.
Profile Image for Elisa_Bookaholic.
111 reviews
August 17, 2020
This is a fantastiv book literally describing my dreams when I was little. I love the plot-line and concept! Definetly recommend to almost all readers!
Profile Image for Shilo Quetchenbach.
1,227 reviews52 followers
June 22, 2022
This was such a cute book! I was concerned several times that it would be too scary for my 8-year-old, but the creepy and scary were balanced so well with the cute and funny that he never felt like it was too much. He was engrossed in the story every night at bedtime and when we finished he immediately asked if there was a sequel. He also had several theories and suggestions for what should happen after we finished reading each night.

I also had a lot of fun and was engrossed in the story from the beginning. Definitely one of my favorite bedtime books we've read in quite some time.

The magic system was really cool and unique and executed well. The story is self-contained but also leaves room for future adventures and imagining.

I have previously read and enjoyed several of Sarah Beth Durst's other novels, and we have a few more lined up for future bedtime stories.

I would recommend it to anyone age 8 and up (or 6-7 if they can handle somewhat creepy/scary scenes) who enjoys magical adventures like Harry Potter, Nevermoor, and similar.
Profile Image for Christina.
306 reviews2 followers
May 10, 2023
Was tun, wenn die Wesen aus den Träumen plötzlich lebendig werden? Sophie's Eltern sind verschwunden und die Albträume aus dem Buchladen der Familie wurden gestohlen - und was hat der Schattenmann damit zu tun? Für Sophie beginnt nun ein Abenteuer, denn sie beschließt, die Albträume müssen wieder eingefangen werden! Gemeinsam mit ihrem neuen Freund Ethan und ihrem Freund Monster (klein und zottelig) begibt sie sich auf Abenteuerreise! Die Sprache der Autorin ist einfach, jedoch fesselnd und immer wieder mit lustigen Absätzen versehen und lässt sich flüssig lesen. Definitiv ein gelungener Abenteuerroman, der etwas Mystisches, gar Gruseliges an sich hat, jedoch die kleinen, wie auch größeren LeserInnen immer wieder zum Lachen bringt.
Profile Image for Jamie.
267 reviews3 followers
September 6, 2017
My daughter and I read this aloud together. We finished it today, and then had to go out into the world completely wrung out - we laughed, we cried, we absolutely loved this book. Sophie and Monster are the sweetest duo, and we now have to read everything Sarah Beth Durst has published.

The book covers kid fears, loneliness, grief, loss, bravery, resourcefulness, and the challenges of feeling like the "weird kid" and making friends in middle school. It is scary at times, but with humor and heart.
Profile Image for Elevetha .
1,769 reviews168 followers
February 20, 2016
I won a audiobook copy through Goodreads Firstreads! (Though to be fair, I did read the majority of this from a hardbound copy.)

"Frolic through the forest and think pugnacious thoughts."

Sophie can't dream. But what Sophie can do, which is infinitely more unique than not dreaming, is bring other people's dreams to life. She brought her best friend, Monster, from a dream accidentally when she was six. Monster is an adorable and snarky and well-educated six-tentacled monster-housecat and quotes Shakespeare.

But how does one bring other's dreams to life? Sophie's parents covertly run a dream-shop, hidden underneath their bookshop. (Can you say "dream job"? Pun intended) At the shop, they distill dreams caught in dreamcatchers and bottle them for sale. But all is not karate-chopping bunnies with top hats and a rainbow-pooping uni-pegasus; her parents also sell nightmares. (Personally, I don't see the appeal in buying a nightmare. Just because I might watch a horror movie every once in a while doesn't mean I want to be in one. But I digress.) One day, Sophie returns home from school to find her parents and the distillery missing. With Monster, some new-found friends and some dream animals, Sophie investigates her parents' abduction, before they are forced to use the distillery for ill.

Personally, I have a number of questions about how this is all supposed to work. Why does Sophie not dream? Is there a reason why she can bring dreams to life? Who invented the distillery? But maybe we're just supposed to accept these things - or maybe we'll get a few answers in the sequel? I mean, I kinda assume this is a series. There were plenty of open-ends for a sequel to explore.
Profile Image for Becky B.
7,492 reviews93 followers
March 31, 2020
Sophie can't dream. Well, not on her own. If she drinks one of the dreams her parents collect and distill from dreamcatchers to be sold, then she dreams. But as she accidentally discovers one day when she sneaks a dream, she can bring things out of dreams into real life. Thankfully, Monster, the monster she brought out of a dream is mostly friendly, her fierce protector, and quickly her best friend. But for everyone's safety, and to avoid drawing the attention of the Night Watchmen, she obeys her parents and doesn't dream. She helps her parents with their visible store, the bookstore, and hands out dream catchers to kids at school who have nightmares. But when her parents disappear and the kids she collected nightmares from are kidnapped on the same day, Sophie knows she is the common link and needs to help save them. With the help of Monster and a kid who barely avoided kidnapping, Sophie has to figure out who kidnapped her parents and the children and how to free them.

I just started reading Sarah Beth Durst's middle grade fantasy in the past year, and I absolutely love all 4 books of hers I've read so far. This world she has built for Sophie is so imaginative. Monster is a fantastic character. I love his sarcasm, his fierce loyalty, and the way he conveys that he is nice right now but he could turn deadly at any second if he decided he didn't like you (it's as if you're fickle cat could talk...only he has 6 tentacles and a few more teeth than the normal cat). Sophie has put on a tough exterior because she feels so different and has secrets she can't share with any friends, so it is nice to see her experience friendship and find other kids she can open up to. The climax had a very creative solution to a very impossible looking situation. I figured out how Durst was going to make the happy ending work, but it was still a very powerful bittersweet turned happy tears ending. I enjoyed the vicious bunnies (with a little nod to Monty Python) and the personality of the unicorn that shows up. The kids that Sophie finds herself adventuring with have quite the range of personalities, some aren't likable at first but they all experience good personal growth through the adventure. If you love a book that can make your imagination take flight, have you experience a whole range of emotions, and leave you with a contented sigh, pick this one up. Highly recommended to fantasy fans. (And could I please have my own Monster?)

Notes on content: No language issues. No sexual content. Violence is threatened, but the worst injury is a vicious bite.
Profile Image for Nicole Gozdek.
Author 8 books58 followers
March 29, 2020
Die Eltern von Sophie besitzen einen Buchladen, doch was kaum jemand weiß, ist, dass sie darunter noch einen geheimen zweiten Laden haben: einen Traumladen. Dort entziehen sie Traumfängern in einem komplizierten Verfahren die eingefangenen Träume, filtern und verkaufen sie. Auch Sophie hilft schon fleißig mit, indem sie Traumfänger an Mädchen wie Madison und Lucy verteilt, die an Albträumen leiden. Doch an ihrem 12. Geburtstag taucht der beängstigende Herr Nachtmahr in ihrem Geschäft auf und kurz darauf sind nicht die Traumfänger verschwunden, die Sophie gerade eingesammelt hat, sondern auch Sophies Eltern. Steckt Herr Nachtmahr hinter den Verbrechen?

Meine Meinung:
Bei "Die Macht der verlorenen Träume" handelt es sich um ein zauberhaftes Kinderbuch ab 11 Jahren. Die Idee der Macht der Träume ist gut ausgearbeitet. Mir gefiel es, dass die Autorin Sarah Beth Durst sich bekannter Elemente aus unserer Welt wie den Traumfängern bedient und ihnen eine zweite, magische Bedeutung gibt, die sehr plausibel klingt. Auf diese Weise können Kinder Traumfänger mit neuen Augen betrachten und sich vorstellen, dass es wirklich so möglich ist.
Sophie selbst ist ein sehr sympathisches, wenn auch recht einsames Mädchen. Da der Traumladen ihrer Eltern ein Geheimnis ist, hat Sophie keine Freunde. Sie kann auch nicht träumen und so üben die gefangenen und gefilterten Träume sowie das geheime Zweitgeschäft ihrer Eltern auf sie eine große Faszination aus.
Eines Tages trinkt sie einen der Albträume und begegnet einem Monster aus dem Schrank bzw. Monster unter dem Bett, freundet sich mit ihm an und holt das katzenähnliche, sprechende, sechstentakelige Monster aus dem Traum in unsere Welt. Monster ist dabei nicht ganz so, wie man es sich vorstellt. Er ist zwar gefräßig, aber er frisst sich die Lektüre von Sachbüchern fast genauso schnell wie durch leckere Nahrungsmittel.
Zusammen mit Monster und dem neuen Mitschüler Ethan, der hinter Sophies Geheimnis kommt, muss Sophie nun versuchen, ihre Eltern und die gestohlenen Träume zu finden. Und dabei kommt es zu einigen phantastischen Momenten. Neben Monstern aus Albträumen, rosa Ninja-Häuschen und dem geflügelten Pony Glitzerhuf gibt es dazu reichlich Abenteuer, was die Lektüre des zeitgenössischen Fantasyromans für Kinder zu einem spannenden, phantastischen Lesevergnügen macht.
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