The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst

Tweens Read Thursdays

Goodreads Synopsis

Sophie loves the hidden shop below her parents' bookstore, where dreams are secretly bought and sold. When the dream shop is robbed and her parents go missing, Sophie must unravel the truth to save them. Together with her best friend—a wisecracking and fanatically loyal monster named Monster—she must decide whom to trust with her family’s carefully guarded secrets. Who will help them, and who will betray them?



The Girl Who Could Not Dream is delightfully random. From ninja bunnies to yellow glittery dreams one can drink, the content is sure to amuse tweens (who are quite random themselves). You know a book is entertaining when a monster tells the main character to "frolic in a field and think pugnacious thoughts." My favorite bit of randomness is a dream pegasus unicorn named Glitterhoof who lives on the clouds and walks on rainbow highways. Glitterhoof fills my inner 90's child/five year old self with glee.

Monster is a fun, but peculiar character who made the book for me. Most of Durst's better writing is evident in Monster's lines and character development.  Durst paints a shimmery world that is filled with possibilities, but also tinged with loneliness. She deals well with important tween issues such as friendlessness and feeling different. 


This was undoubtedly a typical, formulaic, middle grade novel. Girl is lonely with no friends, has special powers, and has to learn to rely on herself when her parents are taken out the picture. By the end of the book she has friends, including the cutest boy in school, and a stronger belief in herself. Sound familiar? In addition, Durst's writing is extremely choppy at the beginning. This gets a little better as the story progresses. The writing is also somewhat cheesy. I actually laughed out loud at a line comparing Ethan's smile to sunshine.

Despite the recurring issues rampant in current middle grade novels (can somebody please write a book with good vocabulary and sentence structure?!) there is something about this book. It does possess a fascinating uniqueness in spite of its formulaic nature that leaves me with overall good feelings. (Or maybe it's just the sparkle from Glitterhoof's mane.)  The Girl Who Could Not Dream releases next month, so give it a read and recommend it to your tweens with big imaginations!

What is your opinion of the current "formula" for middle grade novels? What are some of your favorite middle grade novels that combine real life with fantasy?


Disclosure: My review is based off my reading of an Advanced Reader Copy I won as a Goodreads giveaway. 

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