Dream Catchers, Distillers, and Bottlers

The Girl Who Could Not Dream, by Sarah Beth Durst, (Clarion Books), 384 pages, release date 3 November, 2015

Imagine a world where dreams can be captured, bottled, bought and sold, in which dream merchants must hide their trade from other who distrust their skills. Imagine, too, that a very few, very unique people, who cannot dream, can bring to life creatures from the dreams of others.  That’s the situation at the center of The Girl Who Could Not Dream.

Sophie has dreamed only once—when she stole a bottled dream from the dream store hidden beneath her parents’ bookshop. She brought her best friend back from that dream—a monster named Monster, who is fluffy, blue, four-legged, tentacled, and possessed of multiple rows of teeth. Aside from Monster, Sophie doesn’t have any real friends—just the kids at school she provides with dream catchers, which spare them from nightmares and allow her to bring dreams back to her parents’ store for distilling.

When Sophie’s parents disappear, she must rescue them from a world where dreams and reality increasingly overlap and in which terrifying creatures have begun to appear. In this process, she learns, finally, about friendships with other children (and a tribe of fluffy, pink killer-bunnies), about courage, and about forgiveness.

The Girl Who Could Not Dream is a fun, silly-serious, just-the-right-amount-of-frightening read for kids in late grade school or middle school. Its mingling of fantasy and the ordinary world make its magic seem almost possible.

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