cover image Dreamfall


Amy Plum. HarperTeen, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-242987-2

The premise of Plum’s thriller is intriguing, if not entirely original: seven teenagers struggling with debilitating insomnia are chosen for an experimental program that hopes to cure them; instead, it plunges them into dreamscapes that represent their nightmares. Observing the procedure is Jaime, a Yale premed student who plans to write a paper on the project. Plum (the After the End series) alternates among the perspectives of Jaime, 16-year-old Catalina Cordova, and 18-year-old college student Fergus Willson, maintaining a quick pace as the teens bounce through each other’s nightmares, facing off against their fears, while Jaime digs into their backgrounds. However, the scientists’ actions after the death of one of the participants in the project is head scratching, and while the nightmares are mildly scary, the gore (of which there is a fair amount) seems forced. Overly familiar character types don’t help (Catalina is a token “stubborn” girl, while another teen, Ant, harbors a secret that won’t surprise anyone), and the jarring cliffhanger ending may leave readers more irritated than anxious to learn what happens next. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stacey Glick, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (May)