I got to read book one of this series last year, and I’m glad to have continued the series with The Dream Spies! The premise of this series revolves around dreams, and the main characters craft sachets that permit people to experience a tailored and specific dream depending on their desires. In book one, readers learn about this unique skill and how it can go haywire if in the wrong hands. This second book takes readers into a summer camp where nefarious intent is behind the dreams being crafted there. It is up to the main characters to discover exactly what is happening without getting caught and while protecting their new friends. Younger, more advanced middle grade readers are especially well-suited to this series. Please see my full review below!
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.
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