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“‘Only way to be safe is to let me protect you. You can be part of my family. You can be with your parents again, and we’ll all become rich together. How does that sound?’ Monster sniffed. ‘It sounds like a join-the-Dark-Side speech.’ ‘Think about what I’m offering. A chance to be a part of something great!'”

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst is not only a great GU example, but worth reading if for nothing else but the infinitely likable Monster character, who seems one part Stitch and one part the wombat from The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (that’s him on the cover, the cat-like thing with tentacles and saucer eyes – and don’t let anyone tell you he’s nice!).

Sophie, 12, has a secret – her parents buy and sell dreams (and nightmares) in the basement of their bookshop. Sophie herself has never dreamed…except once as a child when she stole a bottle from her parents’ shelf and dreamed of a monster in a closet, who then followed her into the real world and became her pet/friend Monster. If anyone found out that Sophie could bring things from the dream world into reality, it would bring a world of trouble down on her whole family.

One day Sophie acts carelessly and lets a dream-customer see her and Monster. This man – the adversary – likes to go by the moniker Mr. Nightmare, which should have been their first warning. Later that day, Sophie’s parents disappear, and then so do two girls at school who were troubled by frequent nightmares. Sophie, Monster and her new friend Ethan band together to investigate Mr. Nightmare and rescue those he has kidnapped, with help from a variety of fantastical dreamworld creatures. She does return home briefly in the middle of this quest, as per usual. There is also a betrayal by a companion. Her final showdown with the adversary isn’t quite alone, but otherwise the story fits (he even attempts to seduce her to his side, as shown in the quote above), and she does end up saving everyone in the end.

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