Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet


Author: Hartinger, Brent
Originally Published: 2007
Publisher: Starscape, an imprint of MacMillan

Dreamquest - Brent HartingerThis is the first book the in Slumberia series.

Eleven-year-old Julie’s parents are constantly fighting, and putting Julie in the middle of everything. Plus, her dreams – which used to once be a refuge for her – are becoming more and more violent. Waking up from one particularly bad one, Julie finds herself in a new world. In the middle of a dream-studio to be exact – the same dream-studio that has been producing all of Julie’s nightmares. Julie is determined, before she goes back to her own world, to stop her nightmares from being produced.

While on her quest, Julie meets all sorts of creatures; the good (glow worms, sharks who are also lawyers and a cute boy), the evil (vampires and ghosts who want to suck out all of her creative juices, as well as killer poodles), and the downright creepy (Moon People – people with craters all over their skin, and no eyes, nose, mouth or other facial features). My favourite by far were the dream-executives:

They weren’t wearing shiny black helments; those helmets were their actual heads – like bowling balls balanced on their necks. And in the very center of each of those black shiny balls, exactly where the face should have been, was yet another television moniter. The video image of a face flickered out from each screen – or rather, a video image of bits and pieces of dozens of different faces. A young man’s lips. An old man’s nose. A baby’s chin. But each piece of face quickly faded away, to be replaced by a piece from yet another face. It was unnerving, because even though the general shape of the faces remained more or less constant, the individual pieces – the cheeks and lips and eyebrows and earlobes – were constantly changing.

This wasn’t on my RIP list, but it appeared on my doorstep a week ago, so I couldn’t pass up on it for the challenge. It’s a creepy little book – slightly similar to Gaiman’s Coraline, but also slightly similar in feel to L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in some parts, and the movie The Labyrinth in other parts.

As a child, I used to have a lot of scary dreams, so I really appreciated that Julie had the power to stop her own nightmares. She had courage to go on this quest even in a completely strange new world where it is perpetual night, something most kids might not feel up to.

I am definitely looking forward to Brainstorm, the next installment in this series.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 5:47 pm September 11, 2007.
Category: Young Adult
Book Author(s):

  • Becky

    Sounds interesting. I’ll have to look for it at the library. :)

  • Eva

    Wow-I love both those books and that movie! This one’s definitely going on the TBR list. :) Thanks for the review!

  • Nymeth

    Similar to Labyrinth and Coraline… I am definitely interested. Thanks for the great review.

  • Court

    Becky – it is interesting. :) I hope you enjoy it.

    Eva – I love both those books and movie too. :) So it defintely made this book a little bit dearer to me than expected. :)

    Nymeth – I hope you enjoy it. Anything similar to Labyrinth and Coraline is worth looking into, isn’t it? :)

  • Debi

    This sounds fabulous! You sold me with the similarities to Coraline and A Wrinkle in Time!

  • Brent Hartinger

    Well, thank you very much for noticing! You know, the dream executives are my personal favorite creations from that book…and while lots of others have commented on the Moon People and all the rest, you’re the very first to draw attention the dream executives. Maybe because they’re not based on anything “real”?

    My editor was the first to make the Coraline comparison. I didn’t see it until she pointed it out. And then I thought, “Yes! That’s the perfect companion book.”

  • Court

    Debi – it is fabulous. :)

    Brent – Thanks so much for e-mailing me in the first place about this book! I really enjoyed it. :)