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Dream Spinner

Review

Dream Spinner

Jori's life is no longer as wonderful as it once seemed, due to the tragic car accident that killed her father and left her physically and emotionally scarred. Once a friendly, popular girl at school, Jori now walks the hallways a bitter loner trying to ignore the stares and whispers that follow her. Meanwhile, her family is gradually fraying at the seams, as Jori and her mother anxiously wait for the return of Jori's younger sister, Lisa, who has been missing for months.

When she is betrayed by her (former) best friend Marisa, Jori ends up in detention, where she meets Newt McAllister, a lanky blond-haired guy who likes to joke and act crazy, such as freeing the lab rats in biology class. Newt finds Jori interesting if not a little weird for liking spiders, and he offers to walk her home. However, Jori thinks that Newt pities her and angrily storms off.

Then Jori is forced to make a detour on her way home and ends up lost in a web of alleyways. While Jori looks for a way out, she crosses paths with a stray dog, who takes her to an abandoned enclosure. Jori freaks when a magical door speaks to her and she returns home. The next day, she apologizes to Newt and has him go with her back to the alleyway to retrieve her backpack she had left behind. They see that the dog has the backpack and chases him back to the strange place. This time, Jori steps inside the entranceway with Newt and both are stunned by what they discover.

Within is a beautiful garden and charming cottage, which is filled with various collections such as butterflies and fantasy books. There, the two schoolmates meet the owner of the unusual residence, the eccentric Professor DePris. The elderly man offers them to stay for a little while, and Jori and Newt reluctantly agree. By the end of their visit, however, Jori is ready to leave and is wary of the haunting dream and the odd behavior of Newt --- as well as Marisa's boyfriend Derek who had followed the two schoolmates to the house --- that seemed to result from the professor's captivating story.

The following afternoon, Jori joins Newt and Derek to visit the house once again, this time to see the mysterious item that the professor had wanted to show them the day before. Professor DePris shows them a mysterious tapestry and introduces them to his talking spider, Arachnea. The professor claims that each of the students could live out their dreams within the tapestry. Jori refuses but later finds herself entering the tapestry, not to live out a fantasy, but to rescue her family and friends from a nightmare that threatens to come true.

Fantasy and horror go hand-in-hand as readers are taken into a world where nightmares (one that is possibly creepier than spiders) lurk underneath the façade of childhood dreams. DREAM SPINNER is an original novel that puts a fresh spin on some familiar symbolic tales while adding realistic emotion that is not always pretty. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy fantasy but don't mind a few thrills and chills every once in a while.

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Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on October 18, 2011

Dream Spinner
by Bonnie Dobkin

  • Publication Date: September 8, 2006
  • Genres: Fantasy, Horror
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Flux
  • ISBN-10: 0738709190
  • ISBN-13: 9780738709192