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Dreamquest
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Dreamquest

4.5 4
by Brent Hartinger
 

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Eleven-year-old Julie Fray is living a nightmare. Her parents are fighting so much she can't even escape when she goes to sleep. Every night she has horrible dreams—and all she wants is for them to stop.

Then one night she wakes up inside her dream, in the studio where her dreams are produced! There is even a star who looks just like Julie who plays

Overview

Eleven-year-old Julie Fray is living a nightmare. Her parents are fighting so much she can't even escape when she goes to sleep. Every night she has horrible dreams—and all she wants is for them to stop.

Then one night she wakes up inside her dream, in the studio where her dreams are produced! There is even a star who looks just like Julie who plays her in her dreams. With some help from a production assistant named Roman, Julie learns that if she can somehow find the people responsible for producing her dreams, she might be able to make them less scary. But it won't be easy: the tiny tear in the "fabric"of her consciousness that let her fall into the dream studio in the first place is closing fast...and she could be trapped inside her own head forever!

Even worse, it turns out that when Julie fell into her dreams, Vivian, the actress who plays Julie in her dreams, escaped into the waking world—and the fake Julie will stop at nothing to take over Julie's life.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR GEOGRAPHY CLUB:

"I absolutely love Geography Club. It's a brilliant first novel with a marvelous first person voice and, in Russel, a terrific, wonderfully realized protagonist that readers will welcome into their hearts."—Michael Cart, Booklist columnist

"Hartinger has written a compelling look at the high school scene and the serious consequences of being 'different.' "—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

Hartinger (Grand & Humble) deftly moves into the realm of fantasy in his latest outing. Eleven-year-old Julie is caught in between her parents. Her mother, a consummate homemaker, and her television producer father constantly use Julie as a tool to jibe at each other, and the stress spills over into Julie's dreams. She is troubled by increasingly violent nightmares-having to avoid giant vacuum cleaners or being trussed up like a pig for her parents' consumption. One night while asleep, she stumbles into the land of Slumberia and into a film studio, where her dreams are filmed nightly. She embarks on a quest to meet the executives who create and control her dreams, befriending a bounty of oddball characters-a shark turned lawyer and a mustachioed butterfly, among others-along the way. But Vivian, the villainous actress who portrays Julie in her nightmares, travels through the rift that brought Julie to Slumberia. Vivian ingratiates herself into the girl's life, scoring a role on Julie's father's television show and befriending the popular crowd at school, much to Julie's horror. As Julie restores order within her own head, the physical landscape around her is renewed, lending an air of allegory to the tale. Hartinger's winning pairing of a sincere message with hyperbolic humor should resonate with readers. Ages 8-up. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Katie DeWald
Julia's parents fight constantly and use her as a means of attacking each other. She has been so consumed by the struggle that it seems her parents have taken over her dreams. It appears as if it cannot get much worse, but then it does: Julia enters her dreams and finds herself trapped inside her own head in the land of Slumberia. She finds an unlikely cast of characters to help her in her quest to save herself from her dreams and the terrifying creatures trapped inside her dreams. A production assistant named Roman, a glowworm named Meg, and a shark-lawyer named Bentley travel with Julia in her quest to find the persons responsible for creating, writing, and producing her dreams. After a long and dangerous journey, Julia and her pals manage to change the dark and dreary chaos that is Slumberia by freeing its inhabitants from unreasonable contract agreements. Along the way Julia learns that her parents' problems are not her problems, and she gains the knowledge that she has the strength to fight any problem she may encounter.
School Library Journal

Gr 4-8- Eleven-year-old Julie Fray has constant nightmares, and the fighting between her parents isn't helping her mental state. During the day, she is caught between a competitive mother and father, and at night she is at the mercy of her imagination, or so she thinks, until she awakens inside the dream world of Slumberia, where her nightmares are produced like TV shows. To complicate matters, Vivian, the actress who plays Julie in Slumberia, takes her place in the real world, and Julie is in danger of being stuck in this parallel realm while the ruthless imposter threatens her family. Readers will notice a clear distinction between the two worlds. Slumberia appears hauntingly liquid as dreams sometimes do, but beneath the surface is a sinister undercurrent. The story unfolds like a television show, fast paced and visual. There is not a lot of emotional depth or introspection but the characters are well defined and the story line clever. Readers looking for a fun but edgy book will enjoy stepping into this unusual world with its grim circumstances and adventure.-Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old Julie can't take it anymore. Her parents constantly use her as a weapon in their faux-jovial but vicious battles with each other. At night, she has terrible nightmares, in which her dueling parents vacuum her up, slice her open or otherwise torment her horribly. Between stress and lack of sleep, she's losing her mind. One night, Julie wakes on a film stage in Slumberia, the world in which her dreams are filmed. When the selfish, sociopathic actress who plays Julie escapes back into Julie's own world, the adventure begins. Julie must put an end to her terrible nightmares, escape to her home and stop her double from wreaking havoc in the waking world. A Pilgrim's Progress-style quest through the allegorical Slumberia leads to revolution among the "dreampeople," an end to the nightmares and new strength in the face of her parents' constant arguments. There's no depth to this heavily exclamation-mark-laden adventure, but Julie's entertaining and humorous quest leads to a satisfying conclusion. (Fantasy. 8-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765313973
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 8.74(h) x 0.67(d)
Lexile:
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Dreamquest

1

Julie's Nightmares

JULIE FRAY stood in the center of a giant black and white chessboard. Game pieces as large as statues loomed up on either side of her. There were neat rows of white soldiers and nobles and knights on one side of the board, black ones on the other.

A horse whinnied—the mount of one of the white knights. Then rosary beads clacked around the neck of one of the black bishops.

These weren't statues, Julie realized. They were living, breathing beings!

"Pawn to queen's rook five!" said a voice.

It was the white queen, standing on the top of a small white dais. The voice sounded familiar.

"Mom?" Julie said. "Is that you?"

"I said," spoke the queen, "pawn to queen's rook five!"

It was her mother, dressed and painted like the white queen.

A different voice rang out from the opposite side of the chess board. "Pawn to king's knight four!"

Julie turned. "Dad?"

It was her father, made up like the black king, standing on a dais of his own.

"Pawn to king's knight four!" he repeated.

Julie's parents were talking as if she were the pawn to be moved around the chessboard. But they were demanding that she go in two different directions at the same time!

"Are you guys talking to me?" said Julie, feeling forlorn, glancing back and forth between her mother and father.

"Pawn to queen's rook five!" commanded the queen.

"Pawn to king's knight four!" demanded the king.

"Stop it!" said Julie. "I can't go to two different places at the same time!"

"Well, you certainly can't stay where you are," her mom said matter-of-factly.

"Oh, no," her dad said. "Whatever you do, you definitely can't stay there."

"Why not?" Julie asked uneasily. She couldn't remember the last time her parents had agreed about anything.

Before either of her parents could answer, the chess pieces all around her suddenly sprang into action. The pawns raised their pikes, the bishops drew their daggers, the rooks aimed their arrows, and the knights, sitting atop suddenly snorting horses, lowered their javelins. All at once, they bore down on Julie for attack.

As the pikes and daggers and javelins and arrows flew at her, Julie screamed. Then they hit. She expected pain. What she got was a sudden jolt.

And then she woke up.

 

 

JULIE SHAMBLED, zombie-like, into the kitchen. Her mother toiled at the stove, and her father sat glumly at the table eating breakfast and rustling his newspaper.

Her father spotted her first, and immediately brightened. "Julie!" he said. "Good morning!"

Her mother perked up too. "Julie!" she said, welcoming her like a restaurant hostess. "Come have some food!"

Julie hesitated, glancing down at the kitchen floor. The pattern of the linoleum was one of black and white squares—exactly like the chessboard of her dream.

Her stomach clenched.

"I'm making pancakes and orange juice," said her mother, holding up the glass pitcher. "The secret to making it taste more like fresh-squeezed is to mix the juice of a real orange into each glass of frozen concentrate."

Julie's mother was a product demonstrator. That meant she spent her days standing at little tables at the ends of the aisles in supermarkets, explaining various products. It also meant that, even at home, she tended to do everything very deliberately, often reciting household hints as she did so.

Julie took a seat at the table across from her dad.

"So!" he said to her. "You ready for that screening on Saturday afternoon? It's a rough cut, but I heard the rushes were terrific." Julie's dad worked as an executive at a television studio, which meant he was always using terms andexpressions that Julie didn't understand. He also often took Julie to parties and premieres for new television shows.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" said Julie's mother, still standing by the stove. "On Saturday, I made plans for Julie to go with me to a blender convention. There's a new model that actually mixes food on the molecular level!"

The newspaper crumpled under Julie's father's hands. "You can't do that! Julie's busy with me on Saturday."

"It's a very popular convention," Julie's mom said oh-so-sweetly. "I had to reserve weeks in advance." She dropped a dollop of pancake batter onto the skillet, where it sizzled loudly.

"You knew Julie and I had plans for Saturday!" Julie's dad said. "You made your plans on purpose!"

"Don't be ridiculous! I just know how interested Julie is in frappéing."

Finally, Julie spoke up. "I can't do either of those things on Saturday," she lied. "I was going to spend the night with Lisa, and—"

"You are not!" snapped both her parents together.

"She's coming with me to the blender convention!" her mom said.

"She's coming with me to the rough-cut screening!" her dad said.

Julie's father and mother were so completely different that she often wondered how they had ended up together in the first place. Had they once loved each other? Maybe so,but after fourteen years of marriage, they now hated each other very much.

And as usual, they were putting Julie right in the middle.

 

 

THE TIME she spent at home with her parents was bad, and her sleeping hours were worse. But there was one part of Julie's life that was almost manageable: school. For six hours at least, she didn't have to deal with either bickering parents or horrifying nightmares. Plus, she got to see her best friend, Lisa Pituro.

In second-period science class, Julie and Lisa checked on their lima bean, which they'd been growing in a Styrofoam cup as part of an experiment.

"It's dead," Lisa said. "How can anyone kill a lima bean? It looks bloated and withered. How did we do that?"

"Too much water and too much sun," Julie said. "Too much of everything, I guess."

Lisa's eyes weren't on the dead lima bean. "You know, you don't look so hot either," she said.

Julie tried to shrug it off. "No, I'm okay."

"You had another nightmare, didn't you?" Lisa was the one person Julie had told about her horrible dreams.

Julie sighed. She'd never been able to lie to Lisa.

"It was terrible," Julie said.

"And your parents?" Lisa asked.

"They're terrible too. I don't know why they can't just fight between themselves. Why do they always have to bring me into it?"

"Gosh, Julie, that's rough."

"I could almost handle my parents' fighting if only I didn't have to deal with the nightmares at night," Julie said. "But the way it is, it's like I never get a break. It's just too much."

Their teacher, Ms. Ely, stopped by their workstation to check on their lima bean. She peered into their Styrofoam cup.

"Hmmm," she said. "This doesn't look so good."

"I think we got a bad bean," said Julie.

"I think you should have listened closer to my instructions," said Ms. Ely.

The teacher walked on, but in the back of the classroom, two girls burst into giggles. It was Veronica Sutton and Ashley Gold, the two most popular girls in class. It went without saying that they were laughing at Julie.

 

 

SHE LAY on her back on a great silver tray on top of a table spread with a crisp white tablecloth. There was an apple in her mouth and a row of pineapple rings around her whole body. Candles flickered in a nearby candelabrum—the only light in the darkened room.

Julie tried to move, but found she couldn't lift a finger. She couldn't even blink.

Figures emerged from the darkness. They were her parents, her mother on one side of the table, her father on the other.

Julie tried to speak, to call out to them for help, but her lips would not move.

Her parents were holding ceramic plates the size of garbage can lids.

"Oh, my!" her mother said. "Doesn't this look wonderful? Now, let's see. Do I want a leg or a thigh?"

Her father eyed Julie's torso hungrily. "Me, I've always been partial to ribs."

They're going to eat me? Julie thought.

No! She tried to scream, but still couldn't move a muscle.

Holding her plate in one hand, her mother brandished a glistening ten-inch knife. Her father, meanwhile, put his plate aside and held up an electric knife, the kind you use to carve a turkey. Holding it in both hands, he flicked it on, and it buzzed like a dentist's drill.

"Julie?" her father said. "Wake up!"

 

 

SHE AWOKE with a start. "Huh?"

Julie was lying on the couch in her father's bungalow at the television studio where he worked. She'd come here after school like she always did, so he could drive her home. She'd fallen asleep and had been right in the middle of a dream.

"You okay?" he said, concern in his eyes. "You looked like you were having a nightmare."

"No," said Julie, flushed, pushing herself upright. "I'm fine."

"Hey," he said, "you wanna hear this great idea I have for a new TV show?"

"What?" Julie said. "Oh, sure." The concern was already gone from his eyes, and that cut her as deep as any electric knife.

"It's a sitcom about a family," he said. "But it won't be actors playing the parts, it'll be the members of a real family!"

"That's not a new idea," said Julie, rubbing her face. "That's been done lots of times."

"Yeah, but this time, the family will also have a dog!"

Julie nodded. She had learned long ago to just listen whenever her dad was excited about some new show.

"You should see the actress we cast as the daughter!" he said.

"Actress?" said Julie, confused. "I thought you said you were using a real family."

"Oh, not a real real family. They'll be actors, but they're playing a real family playing a sitcom family. And I tell you, this actress is fantastic. Hollywood Reporter says her Q-rating is gold bar in the eight-to-twelve fem demo!"

More Hollywood talk. As always, Julie had no idea what he was saying.

While her dad jabbered on about the show, Julie stood up and walked to the window of her dad's bungalow. From there she could see the television studio outside. Rising above the whole facility was a big water tower. And spread out below that was a collection of huge warehouselike buildings, called soundstages, where they filmed or taped the various television shows.

Just across the way, the door to one of the soundstages stood open, and Julie could see inside. Technicians in blue jumpsuits bustled around the interior, adjusting cameras and lights that were all focused on a set made up to look like a typical family room.

Julie hated the television studio where her dad worked. Absolutely everything here was fake: fake conversations, fake family rooms, fake families. And yet, what happened out in that land of make-believe was far more interesting to her father than anything real, anything happening in his own real family.

"Now, your mother distinctly said not to spoil our dinners tonight," Julie's dad was saying. "So what say we stop somewhere for a little snack on the way home?"

 

 

THAT NIGHT after dinner, Julie's parents had the television on in the family room.

"I think Julie would like to see our new show with the animated pandas," her dad said. "The above-the-line is almost nothing, and the back end is unbelievable!"

"I think Julie would like to see that show where the CEO trades places with the housewife," her mom said. "I still can't believe he didn't know the difference between delicates and permanent press!"

What Julie wanted—and what she told her parents—was to go to bed early.

"A simple hot-water bottle can warm the coldest of beds!" her mother called after her. "And unlike an electric blanket, it won't dry your skin."

Julie's bedroom had a big picture window that looked over the city. Before the nightmares, she used to sit at that window and stare out at the very occasional rainbow, or at whatever she could make out of the stars in the smog-filled sky. The room also had an actual wardrobe, something that had been in her family for years.

But Julie ignored all that and stood with her back against the inside of the door. She couldn't even bring herself to cry. It was like she was dead inside, cold and unmoving.

An antique looking-glass, a gift from an aunt, hung on the far wall, and in its reflection, Julie caught sight of her diary amid the clutter on top of the dresser. She knew she should write in that diary, but what was the point? She'd written the same words so many times before.

She could no longer handle being caught in the middle ofthe war between her parents. But what could she do? They were the parents, she was just the kid. Her parents weren't even aware anymore of how much they fought. She had even heard them say they were staying together for her sake, like they were doing her this big favor.

And now there were the nightmares. What she'd told Lisa at school was the truth: she'd be able to handle her parents if she at least had a little peace at night. But now the situation with her parents had even invaded her dreams. And there didn't seem to be any way to change that either. How would a person go about changing her dreams anyway? Dreams weren't like television shows where you could just change the channel. Dreams were like parents, where you didn't have any control whatsoever.

Julie was eleven years old, with a smattering of freckles on her nose and shoulder-length chestnut hair that sometimes channeled the spirit of a willful four-year-old.

She was also quickly going insane.

Right then, it seemed like even one more night of nightmares might be just enough to cause her mind to snap completely.

Julie shuffled slowly across her floor. She was exhausted, so she dressed for bed and lay down in the sheets. But she didn't dare close her eyes, because she knew that sleep would only bring her yet another horrible dream.

Copyright © 2007 by Brent Hartinger

Meet the Author

BRENT HARTINGER is the author of several novels for young adults, including the award-winning Geography Club. Dreamquest is his first fantasy for middle grade readers. He lives in Tacoma, Washington.

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Dreamquest 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Eleven-year-old Julie is torn -- torn between her parents, who constantly bicker and try to force her to pick sides, and torn up by her nightmares, which get scarier and more vivid every night. So it's not surprising that one night a tear opens in Julie herself, causing her to slip through her unconscious into the world where her dreams are made: Slumberia. There, she must try to find a way to convince the dream makers to stop giving her nightmares, and return home before the Julie of the dream world takes over her life back in the waking world.

DREAMQUEST is an amazingly imaginative novel, with a fully realized world full of fascinating images and creatures. From the moon people, whose faces only show themselves to those who truly care, to the moustached butterflies that act as messengers and the shark-turned-lawyers, these are beings unlike those in any other book. The setting, in the always-night Slumberia, with its desert full of ghosts and towering city of nightmares, is vivid and unforgettable.

Julie is a likable protagonist, and readers will enjoy following her journey as she learns to stand up for herself and fight for her own well-being. Her story is reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, as she journeys through this strange world, picking up traveling companions along the way, finally confronting the source of her problems only to realize the solution lies within herself. Her friends and her parents are somewhat underdeveloped, but as this is the first book in a series, there's plenty of room to grow.

DREAMQUEST offers readers a vision of a frightening and intriguing world, with lots of adventure along the way and much promise for more to come. Readers will be eager for the next book in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eleven-year-old Julie is torn -- torn between her parents, who constantly bicker and try to force her to pick sides, and torn up by her nightmares, which get scarier and more vivid every night. So it's not surprising that one night a tear opens in Julie herself, causing her to slip through her unconscious into the world where her dreams are made: Slumberia. There, she must try to find a way to convince the dream makers to stop giving her nightmares, and return home before the Julie of the dream world takes over her life back in the waking world. DREAMQUEST is an amazingly imaginative novel, with a fully realized world full of fascinating images and creatures. From the moon people, whose faces only show themselves to those who truly care, to the moustached butterflies that act as messengers and the shark-turned-lawyers, these are beings unlike those in any other book. The setting, in the always-night Slumberia, with its desert full of ghosts and towering city of nightmares, is vivid and unforgettable. Julie is a likable protagonist, and readers will enjoy following her journey as she learns to stand up for herself and fight for her own well-being. Her story is reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, as she journeys through this strange world, picking up traveling companions along the way, finally confronting the source of her problems only to realize the solution lies within herself. Her friends and her parents are somewhat underdeveloped, but as this is the first book in a series, there's plenty of room to grow. DREAMQUEST offers readers a vision of a frightening and intriguing world, with lots of adventure along the way and much promise for more to come. Readers will be eager for the next book in the series. **Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never read a book quite like this. It's (1) incredibly imaginative, (2) very funny, (3) pretty dark at times. There's a scene at the end, when it's revealed who's behind the nightmares, that it one of the coolest things I've ever read. Reminds me of Michael Ende and Roald Dahl.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Her parents¿ constant fights frighten eleven year old Julie Fray. She is so scared that something bad is going to happen that even when she sleeps she suffers nightmares that she is a pawn on a chessboard with her mom as the white queen and her dad as the black king each giving orders for her to move. The dreams are getting worse and the preadolescent child has no one to turn to as her parents are too caught up with their war to see what it is doing to her. Being awake is as bad if not worse.------------- This time when she suffers the nightmare, Julie awakens but not to the hostility between her parents pulling on her to their side. Instead somehow she is still inside her nightmare realm. Specifically she finds herself in a studio where Julie¿s dreams are a big production. Production assistant Roman befriends the bewildered frightened young girl and tells her to find the producer. However Julie has a bigger problem than getting nightmares less frightening. The child actress who portrays her, Vivian has crossed over to the real world and refuses to switch back. If she fails to return to reality, she will be trapped inside her head where a studio produces the nightmare world of Julie Fray.------------------ DREAMQUEST is a powerful character study that hooks the audience once they realize Julie is marooned in her nightmares. The story line is set up so that readers are unsure whether this is a horror tale or a psychological thriller in either case Julie and the preadolescent audience will agree that she is in deep trouble regardless. This tale of Slumberia is a fantastic novel that will please its pre-teen crowd, but also their parents.---------- Harriet Klausner