For fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl comes a suspenseful dark fantasy duology, perfect for middle school readers who love stories of magic and sisterhood with a dash of danger.
Maren’s life has finally gone back to normal. Her sister, Hallie, is doing much better, they're both working in their family’s dream shop, and there’s been no sign of Obscura, the evil nightmare thief.
But when Lishta, Maren’s grandmother, finds an ad for a sleepaway camp designed for dreamers, alarm bells start to ring. Lishta’s never heard of the camp directors, and she’s worried and wants to investigate. Maren and Hallie pose as campers, with Lishta taking a job as a lunch lady.
Almost immediately, something seems off. Campers start randomly singing the same song, a whole bunk of girls do their hair the exact same way, and everyone wakes up from their dreams with strange, identical cravings. Things go from bad to worse when campers start sleepwalking and no one can wake them.
As Maren and Hallie investigate, they discover a nefarious plot by some secret mastermind. They must figure out who’s really behind the camp and stop them from turning more dreamers into sleepwalking zombies before it’s too late.
Nicole grew up on Cape Cod and graduated from Wesleyan University. She spent a few years in London and now lives near Boston with her husband, two kids, and two rambunctious black cats. She writes young adult and middle grade books.
Wowza! This was even better than the 1st book! Everything was kicked up to the next level! Even more suspense, mystery, danger, friendship, imagination, & even more DREAMS! A new unknown dastardly villain with an evil plot! We also have a new location, & while this a perfect anytime read, I think it would be especially good for a spring/summer read because of the location. The whole concept of this mystery/villain/location was sooooo good! So creative & intriguing. Such a thrilling fast paced read. I read the last 54% in 1 sitting. Couldn’t put it down. No way! Lol This kept me on the edge of my seat, & also kept me guessing. I had no idea what the main evil plot would be, or who the mastermind villain would be. SO GOOD! I love the twists, & absolutely LOVED the ending. Another great story that has a theme of sisterhood as well. A suspenseful, thrilling, imaginative, dark fantasy. Highly recommend! Another BEAUTIFUL cover by Federica Frenna as well!💜
Marin's life is getting back to normal after the events of the first book. Her sister is doing well and the dream shop is doing great. Her and her sister are making dreams with their grandmother and while they are there their grandmother sees an ad for a dream camp and thinks something is suspicious and after making some calls around and it seems nobody else in the dream making community know anything about it.
Lishta, their grandmother decides she is going to go under cover at the camp to see if it's the real deal or if something else is going on. Marin and Hallie decide they want to go with her and after some talking it over their parents decide to let them go.
Something is definitely off about the camp and it's up to Marin, Hallie and Lishta to figure out what it is and help those that are at the camp.
I like Marin she has a lot of spunk and loves her family and after what happened in the first one she gets spooked easily and always worries about the bad person getting to them again even though it's not possible, but that doesn't mean another baddy can't take that ones place. Her, her sister, their friend Amos and Lishta work hard to keep everyone safe. It's just a fun book.
'Sleepaway camp' is given new meaning in this dreamy follow-up to THE NIGHTMARE THIEF. Nicole Lesperance's THE DREAM SPIES picks up Maren's story as she and her sister Hallie are sent to 'Dream Camp.' The girls are not at Camp Shady Sands as campers, but as undercover dream-making experts (it's their family business, after all) investigating the unfamiliar and potentially dangerous sleepaway camp. And when campers start behaving oddly, it's a good thing Maren and Hallie are there to solve the mystery. Fast-paced and sparklingly imaginative, kids will adore this thrilling sequel. My thanks to the author and to Sourcebooks Kids for the eARC.
Who would have thought a book about tweens going to summer camp would be so much fun and manage to hold the interest of someone my age the entire way? I just finished reading the ARC and I'm here to tell you this one is just as magical, scary and exciting as its prequel, The Dream Thief. As summer approaches, Maren's family sees advertisements for a sleep-away camp for dreamers. In addition to the swimming and games and campfires, these campers will get to try all the dreams they've ever, well, dreamed, about and they can even learn to make their own. But there's something fishy going on. The dream community is a small one and Lishta, Maren's grandmother and chief family dream-maker has never heard of the people running the camp - and neither has anyone else in her circle. Selling or even giving the wrong dreams to someone can be extremely dangerous. What is really going on and why? Lishta, Maren, her best friend, Amos, and her now-recovered older sister, Hallie decide to go incognito and find out if everything is really on the up and up. With a wacky (and sometimes scary) cast of characters, some amazing sounding dreams, laugh-out-loud funny dreamers, some nail-biting situations, a confounding puzzle to solve, and some whimsical pieces of magical art, this one is a winner. The author never talks down to her audience and the writing is so vivid it's like the reader's own, personal technicolor dream.
What worked: The author introduces a world where dreams are valued and enjoyed by the public. Maren and Hallie are learning to create mental fantasies with their grandmother that are sold at her dream shop. The ingredients are unusual, but business is good. A dream camp finds sleepers experiencing battles inside video games, crawling around like very hungry caterpillars, and bowling with fairies. It’s not surprising to find magic in this book, but the magic is confined to dream-making. The camp is the setting for the main problem, as the kids and counselors experience increasingly troubling reactions to the dream concoctions. The girls and their grandmother are concerned about an advertisement for the camp, so they’re undercover trying to solve the mystery. Gran-Gran has an idea about the identity of the mastermind, but the author offers many characters for readers to suspect. The more puzzling matter is trying to figure out why the dreams are being manipulated. Why are so many campers singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and why are they hungry for turkey sandwiches all at the same time? Readers should be able to make predictions based on the clues provided by Gran-Gran and her granddaughters. Colorful characters can enhance stories, and Henri the pet parrot literally adds color to the book. He belongs to Gran-Gran and plays the part of messenger between the main characters. He can follow instructions and repeat what he hears, but the twist is that he speaks in short phrases using multiple languages. The result is confusing and humorous conversations between the girls and the bird that sometimes end with Henri dropping poop and flying away. Henri is obnoxious with an attitude, but that makes him whimsical and fun. What didn’t work as well: This book is the second one in the series, and there are frequent references to past events. Hallie apparently was in a coma due to an accident, and Maren had been kidnapped. However, the family isn’t too worried about the girls working undercover despite the girls’ past problems. The first book can be read first to answer any nagging questions, but they aren’t an issue as the plot moves along. It’s still strange to see the girls going undercover without much of an argument from the parents. The Final Verdict: Remember to look at your wristwatch as a reality check. The creative plot is more entertaining than I expected, as the author develops a well-conceived mystery. The motive behind the wayward dreams is unknown, but there are plenty of characters to suspect. Overall, I recommend you give this book a shot.
If I’m being honest, this book was even better than the fist book. There was a lot more action and more characters. This book was awesome and I really hope that they make a movie or at least a third book this wonderful series. I loved every single part of this book and there was no flaws. Except the cover didn’t have Marens new hairstyle which kinda made me mad. Anyways this book was great!!! 😸😸😸😸😻😻😻😻😹😹😹😽😽😽👏👏👏👍👍😺😺🥸🥸🥸😸🥳🥳🤩🤩😎😎😎😜😝😍😛😋😙🤪😘🥰😚😚😌😌😇☺️☺️😗😉😉😀😀😀😃😄😄😄😁😆🤣😂😂😅😅🥲🥲🥲☺️☺️😊😊😇😇🙂🙂🙃😘🥰🥰😍😌😌😉😗😗😙😙😙😚😋😛🧐🧐🤨🤪🤪😜😜😝😝😎😎🥸🥸🥸🤩🤩🥳🥳🤓🤓🤓😏😏😏😏😏🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗😺😺😽😽😽😸😸🙀🙀🙀🙀😹😹😹😹😻😻😻🏾🏾🏾🏾👏👏👏👏👍👍👍👍👍👍👌👌👌👌👌👌🤌🏾🤌🏾🤌🏾🤌🏾🤌🏾💋💋💋💋💋👅👅👅👅👅
What a compelling and fun read! This is the perfect sequel to THE NIGHTMARE THIEF, with even more magic, and introduces a new character, Ivy, along with beloved familiar characters like Maren and Amos and Lishta, and of course, Henri, the French-speaking parrot. I was madly turning pages to find out what happens, and I can think of no higher praise than that. I love the intricacies of the plot, and it really kept me guessing. So imaginative! Thank you to the author and Sourcebooks Kids for the ARC.
Once again Nicole Lesperance hit it out of the park with The Dream Spies. Favorite Maren, grandma Lishta, Henri the parrot (who now speaks German) and Amos are back, but they are now joined by Maren's fully recovered sister Hallie and back in the dream making business. Things are pretty normal until an advertisement for a "Dream Camp" turns their lives upside down. And it's not a dream camp in the prosaic sort of way. It is really a camp where campers go to dream. The kids and Lishta turn undercover spies aided by their feathered friend. Can they destroy another evil maker of the dream world? I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I adored this dreamy follow up to The Nightmare Thief! It is creative, mysterious, and action-packed. Maren, her sister, and her best friend enroll in a suspicious summer camp for dreamers. With her grandmother posing as a lunch lady at the camp, the four try to solve the mystery of who is running this place. Are the dream potions turning the campers into zombies? Who would do this? And why? The story takes imagination to a whole new level with the exciting climax. The author has built a fascinating world that offers twists and turns throughout. So enjoyable!!
It is summertime, and siblings Maren and Hallie have no big plans besides helping their grandmother in her dream shop. Gran-Gran is famous for the dreams she creates and sells, and Maren and Hallie are preparing to follow in her footsteps. When Gran-Gran comes across a summer camp for creating dreams, she is immediately intrigued and applies for a job to learn more about it. Begrudgingly, Maren and Hallie’s parents permit them to tag along, joined by their friend Amos. Nothing at the camp is what it appears, and it is up to Maren and her companions to get to the truth and save the other campers before it is too late.
The second in its series, this story transports readers back into the magical reality of Maren and Hallie’s life. Reminders of events from book one are strategically placed within the narrative, and readers will easily reconnect with each of the characters. Gran-Gran’s pet parrot Henri provides especially charming comic relief as he shouts insults in both French and German while supporting the action within the story. The stakes in this second installment are higher than in the first book, giving middle grade readers an emotional challenge as they graduate to this sequel.
Maren is the focal point of this story, and readers are exposed to her range of emotions as she grows and matures throughout the narrative. While she is excited about attending camp, she is nervous about being away from home and the comfort of her own bed. However, she works hard to step outside of her comfort zone and solve the mystery taking place around her, becoming a more independent young adult in the process. Young teen readers will recognize many of Maren’s sentiments throughout her adventure and will be inspired to showcase bravery of their own.
This book reads easily, capturing readers’ attention from the very first chapters. While the story can be read on its own, it is best to read The Nightmare Thief first to understand all of the references in this book. The climactic action sequences are compelling and unique, tossing characters into and out of dreams with some frequency. Placed in a familiar summer camp setting, this story adds a spin of mystery and magic that will happily engage middle grade readers. This is a lovely companion story that is well suited to young readers who are transitioning to more complex and lengthy narratives.
I have not read the first book in this series and my library did not have it. Nonetheless, the action of this book was easy to follow. There were mentions of the previous book, but I was able to get along fine without having read it.
The worldbuilding was interesting, with the idea of being able to custom craft dreams as one might compound a recipe or a medicine. Maren is still clearly feeling some guilt and trauma from events of the previous book. She’s also jealous of her twin’s popularity. While this is mentioned several times, it is not an actual part of the action of the book, and nothing comes of these unresolved feelings.
When Maren, twin Hallie, and best friend Amos, go undercover with “Gran-Gran” Lishta to a sleep-away camp all about dreaming, they find that things are definitely veering more into the nightmare category. The dreams seem to be affecting campers waking lives. Then they start sleepwalking…and some of them won’t wake up. It is up to Maren and company to figure out what’s going on. Maren has to decide who at camp is trustworthy and whom to avoid.
The actual plot behind this camp was telegraphed fairly well, and I was unsurprised when the baddie announced their evil plan. (As baddies are wont to do.) Getting the problem solved took a lot of ingenuity and some backbone that shy Maren, in contrast to her popular sister, didn’t always have.
The characters are fun and realistic for their age. The spunky grandma is a bit cliché for my taste. But her parrot, Henri, who can insult everyone in both French and German, is a delight.
If another book in this series comes up on my NetGalley lists, I’ll be sure to request it.
Possible objectionable material: As with so many middle-grade novels, sneaking around is an issue. People lie. The kids break into an office. There is no swearing, no romance. There is the magic of making dreams.
Who might like this book: If you like adventure and solving a mystery, this is a good selection, especially if you like to have fantasy elements to go along.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the EARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Summer is here, and it brings an advertisement for a seriously shady-sounding summercamp that centers around dreammagic. Magic Maren and her family have, so they have an interest in a good image. Since it sounds shady but not dangerous, Maren, her sister and her gran go undercover.
Same as in book one: Soft magic system, some families simply have these special abilities and Maren's family crafts dreams, tiny sachets that dissolve under your tongue and give you a certain dream. Some effects may last after waking, and thus can be used therapeutically - and so consent is a big thing in this series, which I like a lot.
Maren and Hallie, her sister, assume fake names and mingle with the campers while their grandmother gets a job in the cafeteria. Of course Henri, the grey parrots who curses in French, is with her, and since they need to maintain a low profile he curses in German. ... no that doesn't make sense, but Henri does what he wants, so whatever. Don't argue with the animal with the strong beak and pointy claws.
Of course, things get dangerous before they can pull out, and so they have to see the thing through. I like that we have a reasonable explanation as to why our child characters have to solve the case: They're in a summer camp, they can't trust most adults there, and they have one adult at their side. They simply can't meet her asap since all of them have to maintain covers. And of course the summer camp is in an area without cell reception. They have their phones, but can't really do anything with them.
The ending, the very last scene, felt a bit random and rushed. Apart from that, no complaints from my side. Fast paced, likeable characters, no gaping plotholes. It was fun. I can't remember if this was planned as a duology or not, but I'd be down to read more, or read more by the same author.
'"One of the best things about dreams is they can be literally anything you want"'
I absolutely adored the magic-infused fantasy world that Nicole Lespreance created in the first book in the 'The Nightmare Thief' duology (though it was a lot creepier than I anticipated and gave me some serious Coraline vibes, so I was happy to pick up part two and find out what happens next to Maren and her family of dream makers.
In the Dream Spies we follow Maren, Hallie, Amos and grandma along to a suspicious summer camp for dreamers. Initially all seems well, but soon, kids are sleepwalking and not waking up. What is happening? I loved the summer camp vibes that I got from The Dream Spies, and I liked the sprinkling of regular teenage anxieties throughout the book (Hallie being a bit older wanting to hang out with the dreamy lifeguard rather than her little sister, making new friends at a summer camp..), but most of all I enjoyed seeing where Nicole Lesperance took the adventure and mystery in this one. It was not nearly as creepy (perhaps better for some readers), but it had me a lot more engaged than The Nightmare Thief did.
While the story in The Dream Spies, in principle could work as a standalone, there is a lot of the world-building that happens in The Nightmare Thief that is important to truly understand the suspicions Maren and her family have in this second book. Similarly, there are quite a few references to the events of book 1, so if you ever plan on reading both, please do start with the first book in this wonderful Middle Grade adventure/mystery/fantasy.
A big thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Kids for providing me with a digital ARC in return for an impartial review. All thoughts and comments are my own.
💖🌥️💚😴THE DREAM SPIES😴💚🌥️💖 Ever since Hallie has woken up and Obscura is in jail, life for Maren has been great. Until they find out about a strange summer camp that's selling dreams. Maren, Hallie, Henri, Amos, and their grandma go undercover in the camp to unearth the secrets. Together, they find that the people running the camp are messing dreams up, and when they start to cause people to sleep walk, things get serious. The campers are being mind controlled, and it's up to Maren, Hallie, and Amos to set things right with the help of their new friend Ivy.
A first book is always brimming with new ideas, and the excitement of meeting a new character is quite the experience, and this book does not fall short of its precursor. Those books with unique concepts are always the ones that draw me in to their story. What makes this so unique is it's a reflection of our world if there was such a thing as selling dreams. I love all the ingredients in the dreams and how detailed the concept is.
The setting is a summer camp with a twist; the camp leaders sell dreams, but these dreams can mind-control people. I liked Maren's character. She's a great protagonist who is caring, brave, smart, and loyal. Henri the parrot has quite the personality! I enjoyed Amos and Maren's friendship.
This world is vibrant and unique with dreams. The characters are good and lead the story fairly well. The plot twists are always great and the plot is good! This is a good duology with an interesting concept and I'm glad I read it! ✅PLOT ✅PLOT TWIST ✅CHARACTERS
Fantastic follow-up to book 1, The Nightmare Thief! The Partridge family has much magic flowing through their gene pool and most seems to be focused on the dream-making type. Gran-Gran’s shop sells the best dreams and since the evil Obscura twisted their nightmares so badly, resulting in Maren’s kidnapping and Hallie’s coma, she only stocks the happiest & gentlest ones. But an odd camp for dreamers causes alarm bells to go off in the family’s minds and Gran, Hallie, Maren, and best friend Amos go undercover to be sure that dream-making magic isn’t going to be used for harm again. But of course it is, and readers will be on the edge of their seats trying to determine who is the mastermind behind the odd sleepwalking and singing and what nefarious plot is being hatched! Unique magic, some family and friend drama, and a rude German-French-English speaking parrot all combine to create a must-have fantasy book for grades 5-8 (and younger if the length and higher level vocabulary is not off-putting). Author Nicole Lesperance keeps this series free of sexual content and violence, and while Henri/Heinrich the parrot does call everyone names, he only uses one curse word and it’s in French and not defined clearly in the context. Thanks for the print ARC, Sourcebooks. #BookAllies are sharing it like crazy among our group members!
Maren, Hallie, and Amos set off with Grandma to a suspicious summer camp that claims to make dreams & teach its campers how to as well. It doesn't take long at camp for Maren to know there is something wrong with this camp and it's creators. This is the second book in the series & I don't feel like I missed too much not having read the first. Even for an adult woman, The Dream Spies is super entertaining. At no point was I bored. The writing is excellent, the book intriguing, and the cover design eye catching. Thank you to Sourcebook Young readers and Nicole Lesperance for letting me take a sneak peak into this book! Pub date is coming in January so be ready to add this to your young reader's shelf. Also, preorder is available on Amazon!
In The Dream Spies, the second book in this series, Maren and her friends go on a mission in a mysterious summer camp where the campers supposedly learn how to make dreams. This book is a very enjoyable, fun read. I loved how it uses the characters from the previous book in an entirely different, yet similar story. Sometimes it gets a little predictable, but it has some twists that I definitely didn't see coming. Overall, it's a good second book, and it keeps the spirit of the first one in its entirety. I'd highly recommend this book, along with the first one —The Nightmare Thief— to fans of middle grade books. I’d like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book reminds me of the Arlo Finch series and I really love it. I love camp and woodsy settings. I enjoy nightmare tropes. This is a very realized world with well-developed characters.
I adore the dream shop and selling dreams. I think it is one of the coolest things I have read about in Middle Grade in a long time. The writing style reminded me of Graci Kim and Roshni Chokshi.
Maren, Hallie, and their grandmother go to investigate a camp for dreamers, then things go weird when campers wake up humming the same song. It is clear something is happening. What big evil plot is at hand?
Anyone who likes Fantasy that blends the real world with magic, will enjoy this. Rick Riordan Presents fans will love this as well.
I remember encountering a trade review for this book that used the word "bananas," and not gonna lie, that about sums it up.
THE DREAM SPIES is a whimsical, wild twist on the summer campy mystery. Nicole Lesperance's prose is just as evocative as I remembered from her previous MG, THE NIGHTMARE THIEF, and I was delighted to dive back into Maren's colorful world.
This is a sequel, but it stands alone quite well. And although the plot might occasionally feel a little TOO heady & bananas for some readers, it's also a fun fantasy romp with an unforgettable magic system. I'll definitely be checking out the author's YA books in the near future!
I always appreciate early access to reading books through NetGalley.
Absolutely LOVE this book! Years ago on the Fl SSYRA middle grades list was one of my favorites called The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy. I loved that book and it spurred my interest in twisted and modern-day fairytales.
I did not read the first book prior to this one, but I easily managed to understand and I am grateful to the author for the background nuggets. I definitely want to read the first book now! I loved the elements of friendship, sisterhood, betrayal, spies, dreams, and more. Its a mystery/fantasy/adventure with all the good things a middle grade book can have.
Okay, wow. I love this book!! It’s amazing, and I recommend it for modern fantasy lovers. There were times in this book where I was like “No. no. No. NO!!!” And then where I was like “Yes! Yes yes YES!!!” And then “WHAT?!?!” And then “(excited squeal).” My favorite part was Henri, the grey parrot who speaks French and German. I love him! I read this book on my kindle and highlight whenever Henri says something funny. “MAREN IS A STAR FART SKEETER!” This was a great book. I love it. Thank you, Nicole Lesperance, for writing this book.
The Dream Spies is so good! You have mystery and magic and some detective work is thrown into the mix, I truly enjoyed it. The characters are written so well, you grasp the essence of them all, no character plays a small role. So many fun and weird things happen and even when the plot is reached there is still so much going on, it doesn't just like solve it and we're done, oh no, Nicole Lesperance continues to take you through it with trying to figure out what will happen next.
You need to read the previous book in this series to fully appreciate the proceedings. This author writes good exciting well written stories and the two books (so far) in this series are great. The stories follow the adventures of Maren who comes from a family of dream makers (yes magic !).She is a girl with a good heart and strong sense of right and wrong. Her adventures are mildly scary but sooo exciting ,great for preteens to post retirement , even better when read aloud.
This book starts off shortly after where book one ended, with Hallie doing better and everyone returning to normal. This story starts off at a much faster pace than book one and was thoroughly enjoyable. I am hoping there will be a third book in the series, I am looking forward to further adventures of Maren, Amos, and possibly Ivy?
Really great premise and loads of magic and mystery that holds your attention to the end. Nicole has an easy way of writing that is both whimsical and accessible and creates vivid sceneries and lovable characters. I enjoyed this book in two sittings!
This can be a great read for kids who love the urban fantasy genre. I found the reading tedious, but it could be I chose the wrong time to read it. There's action that appeals to the younger generation of today.