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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 at the chance to escape her pain and go inside. But the cost of admission is high: Andrea must give up a memory in order to enter. And she knows exactly which memory she'd like to give up. Once inside, Andrea discovers tent after tent of dreams come alive; she can fly on a gust of wind, brave swashbuckling pirates and search for buried treasure, reach for--and wish on--a tangible star, and much, much more. But Andrea soon realizes that not all of Reverie's dreams are meant to delight, and the Sandman behind the circus tents seems to have plans of his own. When Andrea finds a tent in which her brother's darke…

The Circus of Stolen Dreams

by Lorelei Savaryn

Overall Book Review:

An absolutely fantastical and fabulous premise!  The Circus of Stolen Dreams is built on a fresh and creative concept.  In some ways it is The Night Circus for middle graders but with a scarier and darker twist and no love story; however, as much as it brought that other novel to mind, The Circus of Stolen Dreams is unique.  The author brought in themes of family, guilt, and friends and a much-needed message that it is better to face your problems (no matter how hard) than to run from them.

The pacing in the first part of the book was excellent and provided the appropriate hook for the reader.  Mid-way through the book, the author began devoting a lot of word space to the protagonist’s feelings, thoughts, and realizations.  At some point, this did start to feel a little repetitive and slowed the book’s pacing.  Young readers would probably still have understood Andrea’s feelings and lessons learned even with a slightly lighter touch.

This is a good choice for readers who love mysteries, fantasy, and being just a tiny bit scared at times.  The Circus of Stolen Dreams is a nicely done debut novel from Lorelei Savaryn, who will hopefully grace us with more fanciful fiction in the future.

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Report of disappearance of a child; character imagines a scene/nightmare where people dance forever and leave bloody footprints (no description); nightmare where a woman wants to sacrifice a character and gives chase; nightmare in which a character is pulled under water and turned to stone; character gets trapped in a nightmare where she is freezing and falling; character sees who she thinks is her parents, frozen alive, but it turns out to not be real; report someone died from a disease; character wonders if someone murdered someone; extended scene in which nightmares chase two children (scary and frightening imagery) and minor injuries sustained; character throws sharp objects at another; report of being knocked unconscious; verbal threats. 

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Divorce, kidnapping/abduction, nightmares.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Character thinks something smells like her grandfather’s breath after a post-dinner drink.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!