64,455 words, 284 pages, 35 Chapters, 4hrs 20mins to read
Published by Llewellyn Publications
3.82 out of 5 on Goodreads
Our rating: 3 out of 5
If tearing someone’s acrylic nails off, glue and all, and cramming them down her throat didn’t look so unattractive, I would probably do just that to Drea right now.
What is Blue is for Nightmares About?
Stacey is in her junior year at boarding school. She has started to have nightmares again and the last time this happened, a little girl died, and Stacey isn’t going to make that mistake again. This time round it involves her roommate and best friend, Drea. Stacey turns to the magic that she had learned from her Grandmother to try and save Drea’s life.
But no one is taking her seriously until another girl is murdered at the school, but will Stacey be able to do enough to save Drea’s life?
Told through first person from Stacey’s perspective, it is full of mystery, magic and romance.
Who is the Author?
Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of mainly Young Adult fiction novels. Her most popular and well known pieces of work is part of her Blue is for Nightmares series, which has a total of four novels and a graphic novel.
Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, she then attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creating Writing from Emerson College in Boston.
What’s Good About Blue is for Nightmares?
Let’s start our review with the good stuff. Let’s get you hooked. Just like I was. From the very beginning I was sucked in. This is a mystery at its core and I really enjoyed the mysterious elements to the book and also generally what I was reading (for the most part). As the mystery slowly came together I found that I was genuinely looking forward to having it solved and to learn who was responsible. There was easily enough actual mystery to keep me going without the over-use of red herrings and baits and switches.
“Because blue is for nightmares,” she said. “To make them go away or bring them closer, depending on how you use it.”
Building on my general enjoyment, I felt as though there were memorable moments that the characters actually said something very amusing, or their exchanges were really entertaining to read through. It was moments like these that helped make it feel much more real and made the story an enjoyable experience whilst also helping to immerse me into the book. But it wasn’t just the characters’ relationships and interactions with each other that was done well. The magic and card reading was also interesting and the characters’ relationship with the idea of magic was great to see. Stacey’s link to magic and her ancestry was my favourite part of the whole thing and I think this was done really well!
“Gotta go, Chaddy Patty. You know how it goes, people to do, things to see. Ciao, ba-by.” Amber hangs up, stands, and pinches a three-finger wedge from her pajama crack. “I’m starving. Anyone for food?”
Another part that I really liked was the sense transition into the Dreamworld. It was a great concept and seemed effortless whilst flowing so well that it felt like I was dreaming. The first time it happened it was a little bit disorientating, but after that, when I came to understand the premise of the story better, I looked out for it and really enjoyed when Stacey would slip into a dream.
What’s Bad About Blue is for Nightmares?
I’ll open this section by saying that for the most part, I found the characters’ motivations to be lacking. It sometimes felt like their intelligence was fluctuating all over the place. Some of the scenarios and their actions would occasionally feel forced into what was required from them to either fill a gag, try and cause some tension or move the plot forward, as opposed to the characters being genuine to themselves. One example of this would be about halfway through the read, when the plot is in full swing and everyone knows that there is a threat to Drea’s life, everyone speaks and acts guilty. It felt like this was simply to help build up some mystery, but then they all become very offended when they are then thought of as guilty which led to a few inconsistent moments that would take me out of it. Another example of character confusion would be when one of them would go to get something that should only be five minutes, and disappears for over an hour… Again, this was done to build mystery and tension. That I am fine with, but how it was handled, I am less so. In a sentence a whole hour could pass by, barely any wonder about where they could have got to which didn’t feel as satisfying as some of the actually well constructed mystery I mentioned before. In the same vein, sometimes the writing felt rushed. It felt like it was in a hurry to get to the next part to try to build the tension back up which didn’t work as well as some of the more natural tension building.
Save it for the movies, Stacey. A little too drama-fest for me.
One of my main complaints was how the characters came off as very bitchy and at times showed their immaturity and childishness. Now while this is YA book and immaturity can be expected to a certain degree, this didn’t work for me. I understand that there is quite a market for characters like this and people who enjoy this type of person and the accompanying drama so maybe I’m just not the target audience and that is fair enough. I found an easy way to tell if you would like this would be that if you enjoyed the film The Craft (1996) (which Stolarz actually references…) then you would have a very good chance of enjoying this book.
“What can I say? I’ve gone from denial to separation to totally wigging in less than twenty-four hours… It’s so Heathers and The Craft, you know? Real.”
I also had a frustration early on. Stacey was attempting to force a nightmare to try and see more about what could be coming and the whole thing resulted in nothing… It was a whole chapter to prepare and there was this massive build up to what this dream could involve and then in the next chapter it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss it letdown. She failed to fall asleep and that was it. I felt like this was a big disappointment and I had to read the opening of that chapter a few times to make sure I had read it right.
Overall, this was a fun read and I was able to appreciate the story telling from Stolarz, she created a great little world, full of mystery, romance and laughs. While a lot of the jokes did fall flat for me, there are the occasional few that slip through the cracks and catch you off guard which I did enjoy.
The way Stolarz built up the world, the atmosphere and the setting all helped to really pull you into the story and immerse yourself in it. It all worked together nicely: the witchcraft, the dark and wet nights, it is definitely a read for the wintery seasons, especially Halloween. So if you are a fan of The Craft, or bitchy teenage angst and drama wrapped up in a cozy but layered mystery then this is the ideal book for you.
“I know why my dreams haven’t been so telling these past couple of days. Gram used to say that in order to have insightful dreams, you need to be brave enough to accept the consequences.”
We at BridingsBooks are thrilled to be hosting a spot on Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz Blog Tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours.
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