Sixth grade is hard enough. When the school bully is on your case because you got the lead in the play instead of her, when the cutest boy in the whole class might actually like you but never makes a move, and when your dad is an alcoholic and you have to cook, clean, and take care of your little brother, the last thing you need is more trouble.
But Sally Prescott has more trouble than she ever imagined when she starts having strange dreams of demonic dogs, magical keys, and a wolf-headed spirit bent on her destruction. Her best friend knows a secret that may help, but she refuses to tell, claiming Sally made her promise not to.
As Sally’s dreams start bleeding into reality, she realizes she is the only who can save her family. With a little bit of magic and a lot of determination, she’ll get one chance to change her destiny and theirs. If she succeeds, she’ll solve her problems at home and at school. If she fails, she’ll lose everyone she ever loved.
Turns out sixth grade is tougher than she thought.
If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews lately, you’ll know that John is one of my new favorites in the Kingdom of Writing. I loved the first two books of his that I read and this one only falls slightly short of those.
Let me start by saying that I loved the characters in this book. I could connect with younger versions of myself and those that I know. I think that everyone will be able to see a bit of them in one of the characters within the book. Each one has their own personality and is well developed.
Here’s my problem though. This book is supposed to take place during the sixth grade and these are not sixth graders. As mom to two teen boys, I’m frequently reminded of what happens during these years and I think that this book would have been much better set during the ninth grade. There is nothing like early high school drama and angst. Things like classes performing Shakespeare also would fit better into this not to mention the kissing and dating. I know that things are more progressive now, but I still don’t know many parents who allow their 12 year olds to date.
My only other complaint? The story is really well written, but the reader is left not knowing why this entire thing happened to Sally. In their world is it normal for giant dogs to pop out of your dreams and into reality?
Other than that, I loved this book. The story is interesting and held my attention all the way through. I could sympathize with Sally’s home life and problems. I absolutely loved her best friend, even if she was more than a little big gung ho at times. John is an incredibly talented writer and I promise that if I get my fingers on any more of his books, you’ll be seeing reviews for them!
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. No giant dogs were harmed in the writing of this review and all thoughts, comments, and opinions are those of the individual reviewer and not of any scary witches. Promise.