Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Stacy Brown is a traditional witch who practices folk magic, taught to her by her grandmother.  Lately she's been having nightmares that tell her that her best friend Drea's life is in danger.  Her other friends try to tell her that they're just dreams, but she can't believe that.  Not after what happened the last time she had nightmares...

Stolarz does a fantastic job of working in Stacy's magical practices as a tool in helping her solve the mystery of the identity of Drea's stalker, instead of treating it as a cure-all.  Stacy's friends (and potential boyfriends) are totally 3-dimensional and relatable-- who doesn't have a sassy, flirty fashionista like Amber in their life?  And who wouldn't want a quirky clown like P.J. as a friend?  Most importantly, the suspense is palpable--from the first nightmare, to the first time Drea recieves a lily (the flower of death, Stacy tells us), till the heart-pounding climax--Stolarz ramps up the the tension until the very end.

One stumbling block for me was that it all takes place at a boarding school, which took some getting used to.  But even if you didn't attend boarding school, you soon realize that the social dynamics are the same as at any other school.  It's also in present tense, which I know puts some people off.

There is an excerpt of the first two chapters up on the Flux Books website.

Blue is for Nightmares is the first in a series that includes White Is for MagicSilver is for SecretsRed Is for Remembrance, and the graphic novel epilogue Black is for Beginnings.

    (out of five)

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