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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Tucked deep in the woods and surrounded by a great iron fence lies Brassmere Academy for the Extraordinary, a school for orphans with strange and wonderful gifts. Twelve-year-old Plum has lived there for as long as she can remember. Each night, she ventures into her dreams alongside her three best friends, Vien, Gwendle, and Artem to fight monsters and journey on dangerous quests. But one night, Plum gets a mysterious warning that she and her friends are no longer safe. And the next morning, Artem is nowhere to be found. As Plum, Vien, and Gwendle search for their friend--in both the dreaming and waking worlds--they start to uncover alarming secrets about Brassmere and its intentions. Will they be able to find Artem before it's too late, or will they be next to disappear?…

Dreaming Dangerous

by Lauren DeStefano

Overall Book Review:

I actually really loved reading Dreaming Dangerous by Lauren DeStefano. It was a little spare, and I could have used a little more of an ending, but the writing is lovely, the characters were all wonderfully depicted, and the setting was deliciously dark without being overdone.

12-year-old Plum is the main character of this story, a rather fearless but quiet girl who has the ability to dream in tandem with three other children: the two boys, Artem and Vien, and another girl, Gwendle. In their dreams, they fight monsters and go on adventures together. By day, they live at Brassmere Academy for the Extraordinary, where their power is constantly under observation.

Then one day, Plum gets a warning that she, and all the children at Brassmere Academy, are in danger. And right after that, one of her friends disappears.

This is a wonderful little story about friendship, loyalty, and love. I 100% recommend it!

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Characters have dangerous dreams involving injuries and death; characters in a special school regularly have their blood drawn; in an extended scene, a character goes into a dream, falls through a cave-like setting and lands on an animal, stabs it with a sword, but is caught by the ankle and dragged underwater, all while feeling the pain of the animal’s teeth in her ankle and experiencing the sensation of drowning; a character sees herself dead in a dream; characters conspire to lie about their dreams; a character goes missing; report of a character being found in a ring of fire; a character goes into a wrong-feeling dream where she is pursued and swallowed by a monster; a character is warned that someone is after her and people like her; a character is interrogated by a man about her dreams; characters go into a life-like dream where they are surrounded by fire, discover a dead woman and hear a baby crying; characters participate in activities that result in injuries (i.e., sword fighting); a character goes into a dream of a past incident where she sees someone die of a clinical drug overdose; a girl runs away; a girl rescues her friend and they both escape through air vents; characters are attacked by inanimate objects; a girl uses her power to knock another girl unconscious; a girl sees flashbacks of a couple and a doctor doing treatments on a baby, flashes to a fire and a woman trying to save the baby, and the woman getting killed by the doctor; a character reports how a vaccination developed gifts in some people; a girl is pursued by a man with a syringe, but is rescued by a boy who knocks the man out. 

Sex/Nudity:  Boys and girls in a foursome hold hands; a character wonders if she has feelings for a boy; a girl has warm feelings for a boy; a boy seems to know what a girl is feeling; a girl meets a boy in a dream.

Mature Subject Matter:

Experimental drugs, death, murder, fire, kidnapping.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

Fantasy is my bread and butter. I read and write it. I’m obsessed with world-building and fascinated with lyrical prose. I love that I can contribute to the writing community by recommending good books that can actually make a difference in a person’s life.