Dream Spinner

Dream Spinner

by Bonnie Dobkin
     
 

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Selected for the Book Sense Autumn 2006 Children's Pick List! 

Disfigured by a car accident that also killed her dad, Jori has been transformed from a popular high school student into a bitter loner. Fatherless, isolated, and betrayed by her best friend, Jori is angry at the world. And now her sister Lisa has disappeared, unable to cope

Overview

Selected for the Book Sense Autumn 2006 Children's Pick List! 

Disfigured by a car accident that also killed her dad, Jori has been transformed from a popular high school student into a bitter loner. Fatherless, isolated, and betrayed by her best friend, Jori is angry at the world. And now her sister Lisa has disappeared, unable to cope with the changes in her family. Walking home from school one day, Jori stumbles upon a strange house and meets Professor DePris, who shows her a living tapestry woven from dreams. Distrustful of the eccentric old man and the telepathic spider who weaves for him, she resists entering the dream tapestry until she realizes her sister is trapped inside. It’s up to Jori to enter the tapestry and rescue Lisa from the monstrous old man who is feasting on her fantasies.  But how can Jori convince Lisa to leave this fantastic, yet dangerous, world where anything—even reuniting with their father—is possible?
 

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Melissa Moore
Jori is an outsider, snubbed by former friends after her face is mutilated in the wreck that kills her father. Her younger sister, Lisa, has disappeared, and her mother is on automatic. When she and her friend Newt stumble through a back alley and discover the Professor's strange house-complete with talking door and very smart dog-Jori is suspicious but wants so badly to escape from her reality that she throws caution to the wind and allows the Professor to watch her dreams. Things quickly go awry, though, and Jori must act bravely and rediscover herself if she is to free Newt and Lisa from the Professor's deadly spell. Middle school readers will quickly be drawn into Jori's story, and her authentic voice refuses self-pity. The creativity associated with the house and the professor is fresh yet hauntingly reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel's witch. The tapestry woven of dreams by a talking spider is unique and flashes of humor keep the tale from becoming too dark. Unfortunately once Jori enters the tapestry on her rescue mission, the tale becomes wearisome and loses its drive. Newt becomes stereotypical in his role as romantic foil, and some dream settings are difficult to visualize. Readers will finish the story only to see whether Jori can rescue her sister from the tapestry and return home safely.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
After a car accident in which Jori is permanently disfigured, the once-popular high school student is now an outcast. She is tormented by her former best friend, Marisa, and a geeky guy named Newt is the only person who talks to her. Her younger sister, Lisa, has been missing for months. The plot veers into fantasy/horror territory when Jori and Newt stumble upon a mysterious house inhabited by the eerie Mr. DePris. Among his amazing objects is a tapestry of stolen dreams, woven by a telepathic spider, Arachnea. Jori discovers that Lisa is captured in it, along with Newt, Marisa, and Marisa's boyfriend, Derek. When Jori enters the tapestry, determined to rescue her sister, the story finally gets moving. She finds Newt and Derek, and the three of them try to outrun the Black River that is killing some of the fantasies, along with the people who are locked in them. Their adventure leads them through several horrific and a few too-good-to-be-true dreamscapes. Jori's rescue mission is only partly successful, leaving an opening for a sequel. The tapestry world is vividly imagined, and the beautiful-fantasies-turned-ugly theme is gripping. However, the writing is uneven, and the story has gaps in logic. Also, Arachnea's change from foe to ally and Derek's transformation from a complete jerk into a hero figure are too sudden to be convincing. This book is a decent effort by a new author for teens who like fantasy-world-gone-wrong stories, but Neil Shusterman's Full Tilt (S & S, 2003) is a better choice.
—Martha SimpsonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738724614
Publisher:
Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date:
09/08/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
264
File size:
591 KB

Read an Excerpt

They were standing in a large room, dimly lit by an ivory orb that floated just below the ceiling. But this room held no comfortable chairs, no oak cabinets, no fascinating collections. All Jori could see were rough wood floors and blank plaster walls. And a thick, carpet-like hanging that covered one wall entirely.

“This sucks,” muttered Derek. “I blow off Marisa to come stare at a rug.”

Newt looked at him in disgust, though his own disappointment was obvious. “Shut up, Derek. Some rugs are really valuable, like—”

“Rug.” The old man’s voice sounded flat, icy, and Jori turned to see dark shadows chasing across his face. “Is that all you see?“

She felt a stab of fear. Stupid, stupid—she should have known better than to come back here. Half the psychos in the world probably seemed harmless until you pushed the wrong button.

Rushing toward the wall, she scrambled for something positive to say, some way to calm him before he became violent. “They’re morons, Professor. Just ignore them. It’s beautiful, really! It’s—”

She stopped, staring. And then forgot to breathe.

What hung before her on the wall—a tapestry, she suddenly remembered these things were called—was something very different than what she had expected. Its threads glimmered as though spun from jewels, and woven into its design were a hundred exquisitely detailed scenes. But it was more than artistry or craftsmanship that set this tapestry apart.

The pictures were alive.

Where Jori’s eyes were riveted, trees actually swayed in an unseen breeze, and tiny winged lizards hopped along their branches. High above the forest canopy, dragons with human riders twisted through a tumble of clouds, ruby flames blazing from their mouths.

She felt Newt and Derek draw next to her, but by now she was too lost in the images to speak to them. In one scene, ships sailed across frenzied seas, their captains searching for the drowned city of Atlantis that gleamed in the dark waters beneath. In another, a band of determined warriors wandered through a deadly maze of tunnels, an image that reminded Jori of a video game she once played. And higher on the fabric, on a purple and green landscape, spotted creatures with three horns galloped under the light of twin moons.
“It’s…unbelievable,” Jori murmured.

“Yes. It is.” Mr. DePris stood just a few steps away, his voice gentle once again. “Please accept my apologies for my reaction just now. I suppose I’m far too sensitive when it comes to this particular piece.” His eyes wandered to the tapestry. “It is magnificent, though, isn’t it? And as changeable as the dreamers who dream it.”

The odd phrase bothered Jori. “What do you mean, ‘the dreamers who dream it’?”

“I’m surprised, my dear. I thought that you, at least, would have guessed.”

She shook her head, her eyes still holding the question.

“My tapestry is not like any other. Those are poor creations of thread and silk, now moldering in trunks or gathering dust in museums. But this one is woven from much more precious materials.”

“What?” Jori whispered.

“From dreams.”

She started, then looked toward the two boys. Newt seemed almost hypnotized by what he was hearing. But Derek’s face was dark with frustration.

“Tell you what,” he said. “If I decide to look at hallucinations, I’ll buy some mind candy and see my own.”

Mr. DePris clicked his tongue. “And put yourself at risk? Besides, why would you be satisfied with just watching your dreams?”

Derek looked as though his head were going to explode. But Newt’s face took on an almost desperate expression. “Tell me what you mean.”

“Didn’t you notice?” The old man gestured toward a faded section of the cloth from which all of the colors seemed to have drained. “The tapestry is not quite complete. It never is.”

“Okay. So?”

“So. It is there that we will weave your dreams. And then you will go in and live them.”

Meet the Author

Bonnie Dobkin grew up in and around Chicago, and now lives in Arlington Heights.  She was a frighteningly ordinary and well-behaved child.  To compensate, she often tried to escape normalcy through music, acting, and of course, writing.  By day, she is editorial director for a well-known educational publisher, the mother of three semi-grown and very handsome sons, wife to a dentist who wishes he were Doc Holliday, and love object of a ninety-pound mutt of dubious heritage.  Dream Spinner is her first novel.  You can visit Bonnie on the web at bonniedobkin.com
Bonnie Dobkin grew up in and around Chicago, and now lives in Arlington Heights.  She was a frighteningly ordinary and well-behaved child.  To compensate, she often tried to escape normalcy through music, acting, and of course, writing.  By day, she is editorial director for a well-known educational publisher, the mother of three semi-grown and very handsome sons, wife to a dentist who wishes he were Doc Holliday, and love object of a ninety-pound mutt of dubious heritage.  Dream Spinner is her first novel.  You can visit Bonnie on the web at bonniedobkin.com

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