Bad Dreams

Bad Dreams

4.0 2
by Anne Fine

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The thrilling story of a young girl with an extraordinary power.

Melanie is less than happy when her teacher asks her to help Imogen, the new girl in their class, to settle in. Mel would rather have her nose in a book than in a conversation. But as she gets to know Imogen, Mel realizes that there's something different about her. Imogen has a way of knowing


The thrilling story of a young girl with an extraordinary power.

Melanie is less than happy when her teacher asks her to help Imogen, the new girl in their class, to settle in. Mel would rather have her nose in a book than in a conversation. But as she gets to know Imogen, Mel realizes that there's something different about her. Imogen has a way of knowing what's going to happen in a book before she's even read it. And not only does she know it, she seems to actually feel it, as if it's happening to her. Unlike Imogen and her family, Mel can see that this power is more of a curse. But how far is Mel willing to go to destroy the magic and free her friend?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although not as ambitious as some of Fine's previous novels (The Tulip Touch; Alias Madame Doubtfire), this thriller featuring a preteen with supernatural powers will hook readers until the last page. Melanie, the deliberately unsympathetic narrator, has no friends--and doesn't mind, because she prefers reading to being with people. Her teacher assigns her to help out a new girl, Imogen, and Melanie quickly grows interested in Imogen's odd behavior. Whenever Imogen touches the cover of a book, she seems to know what will happen to the characters inside, even to feel their emotions. She can also predict people's futures by holding their photographs. Witnessing Imogen's torment in foreseeing events and suffering along with fictional characters, Melanie is convinced that Imogen's magical powers are a curse, not a blessing. Despite Imogen's protestations, Melanie is determined to do whatever it takes to rid Imogen of her "gifts." Experienced readers will know early on that Imogen's magic is linked to the odd necklace she always wears, but other elements here remain vague. Neither Imogen nor her mother, who horrifies Melanie with her fixation on magic, is well fleshed out, and the significance of the necklace challenges some of the narrative logic (e.g., Why is Imogen oblivious to its effect?). But Fine's storytelling dwarfs such flaws. Drawing readers into the complexities of Melanie's decision, she produces a subtle and absorbing tale. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Melanie gets along with books better than with people, and she likes it that way. Thus, she is less than pleased when her teacher asks her to help out the new girl, especially when she finds that Imogen is reluctant to spend any time reading. However, it soon becomes clear that Imogen's aversion is especially unusual: she seems to be able to predict stories before she reads them, and is extraordinarily empathetic with the characters. Melanie takes on the task of detecting and exorcising her classmate's curse not out of any deep-rooted friendship, but because she can't bear to see anyone so frightened by a book. It also becomes clear to her that clingy Imogen's unpopularity has to do with a necklace she always wears. Sure enough, when Melanie does away with the family heirloom during a swim meet and frees Imogen from its spell, she frees herself from the commitment of being "best friends," and is finally left in peace, alone. This quick and easy read is predictable, but fun, and Melanie's wryly independent character lends a unique and comically twisted tone to this novel that should appeal both to fans of school stories and magic.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Childrens Book Watch
Anne Fine's Bad Dreams tells of Melanie, whoseteacher asks her to oversee a new girl's introduction to the school. Mel is a book reader, not used to associating with her peers; but a mystery draws her to a new friend in trouble. Debbie Dadey's Cherokee Sister (32703-X, $14.95) paints an unusual friendship between two girls in pioneer days. Allie's best friend is Cherokee, but increasingly oppressive acts against her friend's people involves her in an unexpected nightmare in this story of friendship and oppression. Nancy Antle's Playing Solitaire (2406-3, $16.99) tells of a girl's slow adjustment to a new life when her grandfather and her rejection of an abusive father. Ellie always expects her father to return to her life; when she suspects he's stalking her, trouble results. Randall Beth Platt's Likes Of Me (32692-0, $15.95) is hard to easily categorize and begins slowly, but grows on the reader. Cordy is a half-Chinese albino girl living in a logging camp in 1918. When she meets the dashing boy Squirl she embarks on a journey which will take her far from home and which will change her mind about friendships and love. Mature teens will find this refreshingly different and filled with insights about relationships, with spunky Cordy at the helm.
—Childrens Book Watch
Kirkus Reviews
The air of strangeness hanging about a new classmate turns out to have just cause in this tale of a bookworm and a child cursed with a unique kind of second sight. "Cursed" is the right word, for not only can't Imogen help seeing what's in store for living people, but just touching a book, even a novel, makes her an unwilling participant in whatever terrors or tensions the story inside bears. Observing the reactions Imogen can't quite conceal, Melanie gradually figures out her terrible secret and its cause—an odd necklace passed down to Imogen by her otherworldly mother. Though Imogen refuses to see it, whenever she takes the necklace off, she becomes a different person, gregarious and free. Melanie faces a tough decision: to keep her nose in her beloved books and out of what is, after all, not her business, or find a way to separate Imogen from the talisman and dispose of it? With some reluctance, Mel concocts a secret, clever plan, only to find in the suspenseful climax that the necklace has powerful defenses of its own that require some unexpected sacrifices to overcome. As in The Tulip Touch (1997), Fine has placed two young people with unusually complex motives and characters into a challenging, sometimes scary situation: readers will not be putting this one down until the last page. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.36(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Anne Fine is a two-time winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal and the author of many acclaimed books for children, including Flour Babies, The Tulip Touch, and the Robin Williams movie hit Mrs. Doubtfire.

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Bad Dreams 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
MynameisJoy More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when I was probably about 10 years old. I had never been one of those people that enjoyed reading before this book. I actually hated reading but when I read this book I realized it was a matter of what books you read, and that not all of them are bad. As a matter of fact, a lot of books are great! This book really kept be interested and I enjoyed almost every part of it. The week that I read this book my teacher had told me that we all had to have in reviews/summaries for 20 books we had read that month, by the end of the week. The problem was, I hadn't read ANY books yet, I probably hadn't read any that year! But I was a smart kid and managed to pack 20 books into one week starting with this one, which really got me into the whole reading thing. Now I am constantly reading something, whether it's a great novel, the newspaper, or just instructions. haha. I definetely recomend this to anyone who is just starting to get into reading, or would like to actually enjoy reading for once, and also to anyone that is looking for a fun easy read. Good book for any age, but especially for pre-teens, and older kids. (ages 9-13). I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't really like the other Anne Fine books, but I couldn't put this one down! I reccomend it to anybody, and it is the perfect book for a rainy day, because it's short and easy to read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was intresting, but I've read better. It was really short and easy for me to read! I think, that it was a great story but Anne Fine could have written it better. Really i think i'd give it 3 1/2 stars! ( =
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about an avid book reader who has to accompany the new girl. The newkid is really weird because she can touch a book and she feels what is going on inside the book. If you like weird books, then this one is right for you!