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The Circus of Stolen Dreams

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  106 reviews
A dream world turns haunting nightmare in this spellbinding debut novel, perfect for fans of Circus Mirandus and The Night Gardener.

After Andrea's brother, Francis, disappeared, everything changed. Her world turned upside down, and there was nothing she could do to right it. So when she discovers a magical dream world called Reverie in the woods near her home, Andrea jumps
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Philomel
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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  267 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Lorelei Savaryn
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Dear Reader,

Inside the pages of this book, you'll meet a girl who carries the weight of a heavy burden upon her shoulders, but who embarks on a journey toward hope and healing in a mysterious and magical place.

This story is meant to feel like a hug to any kid who has ever walked a difficult road, who loves to immerse themselves in magic and wonder, and who dreams of being brave.

My desire is that this story will inspire young readers to listen to the gentle voice inside themselves. The voice whis
Giveaway Win!

I finished this book a couple minutes ago and I've been trying to decide if I would give this 3.5 stars or 4 stars. The Circus of Stolen Dreams is a middle grade novel so I'm certainly not the target audience for this book. So decided to view through the eyes of my 9 year old self and I decided that my 9 year old self would have given it 4 stars.

The Circus of Stolen Dreams is about Andrea who is 12 years old and still grieving the loss of her little brother Francis who disappeared
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There’s a particular sort of eeriness that I adore in fiction and that this book was full of.
If you love that moment when Coraline passes over to the Other Mother’s world for the first time and it’s all delight, colors, heavenly food and darkness creeping at the edges, if you have fond-but-frightened memories of the moment right before Pleasure Island in Pinocchio turns terrifying, if you want the feeling of stepping into a magical but murderous chocolate factory, this book will fill your heart
John Paul
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I approached this book a little nervous because I knew I would have to give my opinion - the author is my wife!:) Within the first few chapters all my nerves vanished; I knew I was reading something legitimately amazing. Not only is this a well-written book with a fast paced story that never lets up, it is also filled with depth of emotion and purpose that, on two occasions literally brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful story told through a creepy, magical, fascinating world. I wholehearte ...more
Juliana Brandt
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading this beautifully haunting book on two separate occasions while it was being edited. I will be so excited to read it in its final version!
Jessica S Olson
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a whimsical, magical story! Savaryn caught my attention from the first page and kept me spellbound through the very last one. The circus was breathtaking, as was the idea of dreams and nightmares and memories as circus experiences. This book was expertly crafted, and the prose was simultaneously perfect for children as well as engaging for adults. I will definitely be recommending to all of the middle grade readers I know!
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this middle grade novel. It was well written and full of magic. It also gave hope to any kid who has been going through a tough time. Andrea’s little brother disappeared 3 years ago and her parents are pushing them all to move on. She finds herself unable to do so and makes her way to a circus that promises to help her forget. This was a quick read and I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn’t wait to see how it ended!
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads, fantasy
While I don’t think I was the intended audience being a little older, this was an enjoyable read with just enough creepy fun to make a good addition to my spooky season shelf.

“The Circus of Stolen Dreams” welcomes Andrea a 12 year old girl looking to forget the night her brother went missing which left her family shattered into pieces when she stumbles up a reverie offering her just that as well as the chance to explore dreams and nightmares to her delight, but when she finds herself struggling
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

What a unique and imaginative story!

Andrea's younger brother, Francis, disappeared from his bedroom in the middle of the night three years ago, and her family has no idea what happened to him. When her parents decide it's time to donate his things to charity, Andrea takes off distressed, and find a magical circus called Reverie in an abandoned field. The price is admission is to give up one memory, which Andrea readily does, as
Sierra Dertinger
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this beautifully written one-of-a-kind story. You can tell the author has poured her heart into it. The main character, Andrea, is devastated when she finds out that her little brother, Francis, has disappeared overnight. Not only are her parents newly divorced, but she essentially becomes an “only child”. This takes her to a deep and dark place, and as she walks within the forest near her home she discovers a magical place called Reverie. The trick to going into this magical world ...more
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and to NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this ARC.

Five stars--a really good story!

At first this book seemed a lot like The Night Circus, which is one of my favorite books. Further on, I got kind of an It feeling in regards to the Sandman. He can make your best or your worst dreams come to life, but it's not really real unless you let yourself get immersed and forget who you are. Then you're stuck.

The story is fast-paced and throughout I had a lot of questions,
Jacy Sellers
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This drips with delicious circus treats, whimsical dreams, and sinister nightmares. I drank in everything about this story fueling my childhood dreams and nostalgia as I typically read adult contemporaries, thrillers, and mysteries. The magical atmosphere and its allurement will attract you as Reverie attracted Andrea in escaping her sadness. I loved the fun dreamful concept and truly enjoyed Andrea as a motivated character, grieving for her lost brother while trying to figure out what happened ...more
Tanya Ball
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hopefully when I'm feeling better, I can give a proper review!

For now, this was my most anticipated MG standalone of the year (and tied for overall standalone).

It did not disappoint. The world-building! The imagery! The way everything ties together!!

I cannot wait to see what Lorelei does next!!
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, grief
Lorelei Savaryn's novel is a creepy fantasy with a character coming to terms with her own grief. Readers who like an edge of darkness to their fantasy will enjoy this tale of dreams and nightmares made real. Recommended.

Read more at Bookish Adventures.
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Circus of Stolen Dreams is the perfect blend of magic, eeriness and, above all, hope. The circus itself is both delightful and terrifying and will pull you under it's spell. And Andrea's heart and determination will have you rooting for her from page one. What a stunning debut. ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My 10 year old read this, loved it, and insisted I read it. I'm glad I did. It was really good and was actually just like the books I enjoy reading, just maybe a little less complicated. A really fun, creepy read. ...more
Elizabeth May
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-lit
From the moment I stepped into Reverie, the "Land of Dreams," to the moment I left, I was caught up in the whimsical, imaginative, often-spooky, always adventure-laced world created by debut author Lorelei Savaryn. The premise of the novel is fun and fresh -- children who want to enter Reverie for a night must give up either a dream or a memory to enter the glittering nighttime circus. The magic world inside the tall, star-tipped gates of Reverie is filled with all the delicious details you migh ...more
Bayley Mae
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The world of Reverie is absolutely stunning, as is Lorelei Savaryn’s writing. This book is an amazing mixture of whimsy, spookiness, imagination, and heart. I fell in love with her main character, Andrea, from the first chapter. There are so many beautiful layers to this book, my heart was tugged in so many directions.

I loved The Circus of Stolen Dreams from beginning to end—I couldn’t put it down, I finished it in about a day. This magical world is absolutely amazing and a marvelous story of be
Megan Brousseau
THis book is a creepy tale of a circus of stolen dreams. Andrea doesnt know if she'll ever wake up. It has a weird way of messing with reality. She finally finds her lost brother after three years and andrea and her new friend penny realize the children stay for longer than a night. They go through nightmares and things they had wholeheartedly once wanted to forget. ...more
Nicole Lesperance
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an atmospheric, beautifully imagined book full of heart and emotion. I loved the concept of a circus full of children's dreams in tents that you can walk through, and these were described so evocatively and in this off-kilter, perfectly dreamlike way. The world and the characters were well developed and full of intriguing magic. And although I didn't realize this going into the book, it deals with the subject of divorce in a sensitive and nuanced way. These were the parts that I found th ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
She just wasn’t ready so, when the Land of Dreams appeared, Andrea was more than ready to pay the price of admission. Her price was: one of her dreams or a memory but what awaited her was, the opportunity to forget her troubles. This was definitely a good deal, Andrea thought. As the carnival specular surrounded her, Andrea tried to put the past 3 years behind her.

It had been 3 years since Andrea’s brother disappeared. Her parents have been moving forward and have decided to finally get rid of
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an electronic ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group through NetGalley
Andrea wants to escape from the sadness and tragedy in her life. Her parents separated over three years ago and younger brother has been missing for almost as long. She escapes with a walk in the woods and stumbles on a poster for a Circus in the field nearby. What she discovers is Reverie - a place where dreams happen and she can escape reality. The cost - one dream or memory. This world is a fantasy a
Catherine Bakewell
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A dazzling debut. Lorelei Savaryn's work is going to be beloved by children and parents for years to come, I'm certain.
CIRCUS contains beautiful, poignant truths about healing the hearts of kids and adults. It's delicate and honest, and cuts to the quick of the pain of losing a loved one. At the same time, while there is darkness (and creepiness), there is such joy and hope to be found in this story. Lorelei's writing is tight and clever, with gorgeous metaphors and imagery that makes you feel l
Quinn Knaub
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Circus of Stolen Dreams is one of my favorite books! I am using it as my book club book right now and all of my friends in my book club are texting me how much they love it! This book is perfectly balanced between creepy and magical and there are parts in the book that makes my heart race! I recommend this book for tweens and teens 10+ and fans of dystopian fiction and fantasy.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mandela Effect Moment: When I read an online review of this book and also when I picked it up off the New Books Shelf, I was certain -beyond certain- it was titled Reverie. But when I closed the book to review it, the title wasn't what I remembered it to be.

Oh, man! Glitch in the Matrix...

that means "They" changed something...

I wonder what? Hmmm...

Ok... I'm shaking off the weird and attributing it to misread title and brain fog brought on by not enough sleep (because I have cats) and Friday-Af
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A huge thank you to Netgalley and Philomel Books for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been three years since Andrea’s parents got divorced. Three years since Andrea lost her shadow, her younger brother Francis. Three years since he disappeared in the middle of the night. Tired of people’s pity and her own guilt, Andrea goes on a bike ride one night and encounters a mysterious circus: Reverie. Children come to Reverie for two reasons: to remember or to forget. The
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lorelei Savaryn’s The Circus of Stolen Dreams is a vivid and thrilling fantasy. Its fast-paced plot and twists and turns will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Savaryn cleverly leaves crumbs and clues throughout the story about its trajectory, making readers feel like a young Hansel and Gretel on their way to a witch’s house. In addition to the suspenseful writing, the author’s descriptive prose brings Reverie to life. The circus’s dreams are tangible, its distortion of reality believable ...more
Linda Engels
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m blown away!!! I’m a reader who knows, within a page or two, if a book will draw me in. I was instantly lassoed. I was deeply engaged and I loved this amazing story from beginning to end!!

The world needs more books like this one.

The flow of the tale unfolded with ease. The characters are strong and believable, the story compelling and the outcome a mystery I couldn’t wait to discover.

I found myself nestling in among the various relationships. I could imagine nuances of of my own life in th
Ashley Brenae
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the honor of access to an e-arc of this book so I could write a review. I devoured the book in an evening and promptly began reading it aloud to my 12-year-old son. He is going to love it.
The Circus of Stolen Dreams is a fantastic sci-fi adventure story about 12-year-old Andrea whose brother disappeared in the middle of the night, three years ago. She wants to forget the pain and guilt she associates with the night he disappeared, and Reverie, a circus full of dreams, shows up out of nowh
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Circus of Stolen Dreams is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you have finished reading. Following the main character, Andrea, she finds a magical circus that promises fun and an end to the heartbreak she has been feeling since her brother disappeared. But all is not as it seems and as Andrea explores Reverie, she begins to notice that something isn't quite right.

This book tackles the themes of loss and the impact of divorce on children in a considerate way for any child
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Lorelei Savaryn ( is an author of creepy, magical stories for children. She holds a BA in creative writing and is a former elementary teacher and instructional coach. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time amidst the beautiful chaos of life with her husband and four children outside of Chicago.

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