Cover image for Bad dreams
Bad dreams
Fine, Anne.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
133 pages ; 22 cm
Despite her preference for books over friends, Melanie gradually becomes involved with a new classmate and determined to find the reason for her strange behavior.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 3.0 36537.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The thrilling story of a young girl with an extraordinary power. Melanie is less than happy when her teacher asks her to help Imogen, the new girl in their class, to settle in. Mel would rather have her nose in a book than in a conversation. But as she gets to know Imogen, Mel realizes that there's something different about her. Imogen has a way of knowing what's going to happen in a book before she's even read it. And not only does she know it, she seems to actually feel it, as if it's happening to her. Unlike Imogen and her family, Mel can see that this power is more of a curse. But how far is Mel willing to go to destroy the magic and free her friend?

Author Notes

Anne Fine was the second Children's Laureate in Britain between 2001 and 2003. She is a two time winner of the Carnegie Medal, Britain's most coveted children's literature award, and has also won the Guardian Children's Literature Award, the Whitbread Children's Novel Award twice, and a Smarties Prize. She also won the Publishing News Children's Author of the Year Award in 1990 and again in 1993. In 2010 she won the inaugural Good Writing Award.

Her books for older children include the award winning The Tulip Touch, Goggle-Eyes, which was adapted for television by the BBC and The Devil Walks. Twentieth Century Fox filmed her novel Madame Doubtfire as Mrs Doubtfire, starring Robin Williams. She also writes critically acclaimed adult novels as well. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages, and has over forty books to her credit.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. Fine, the author of Flour Babies (1994) and Tulip Touch (a Booklist Top of the List choice in 1996), among others, offers her usual edgy story, this time tinged with magic. Melanie is a bookworm who is much more interested in what goes on inside a book's covers than in the world. But when Mel is picked to take new girl Imogene under her wing, she becomes intrigued by her odd classmate. Mel soon realizes that Imogene can put her hand on a book and experience what's going on inside of it. She can also tell the future by touching photographs. Imogene's mother likes her daughter's special gift, but Imogene has mixed feelings, and Mel thinks the "gift" is awful. When Mel realizes Imogene's necklace is the source of the magic, she vows to get rid of it. Fine probably couldn't produce a really bad book, but this one is underwritten, with Imogene never really developed beyond her one magical characteristic. Even more enigmatic is Imogene's mother, whom Mel deems responsible for her daughter's problems, but who seems more fey than frightening. Only the iconclastic Melanie is fully realized, determined to do what she thinks is right even though she must defer a dream of her own to make it happen. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although not as ambitious as some of Fine's previous novels (The Tulip Touch; Alias Madame Doubtfire), this thriller featuring a preteen with supernatural powers will hook readers until the last page. Melanie, the deliberately unsympathetic narrator, has no friendsÄand doesn't mind, because she prefers reading to being with people. Her teacher assigns her to help out a new girl, Imogen, and Melanie quickly grows interested in Imogen's odd behavior. Whenever Imogen touches the cover of a book, she seems to know what will happen to the characters inside, even to feel their emotions. She can also predict people's futures by holding their photographs. Witnessing Imogen's torment in foreseeing events and suffering along with fictional characters, Melanie is convinced that Imogen's magical powers are a curse, not a blessing. Despite Imogen's protestations, Melanie is determined to do whatever it takes to rid Imogen of her "gifts." Experienced readers will know early on that Imogen's magic is linked to the odd necklace she always wears, but other elements here remain vague. Neither Imogen nor her mother, who horrifies Melanie with her fixation on magic, is well fleshed out, and the significance of the necklace challenges some of the narrative logic (e.g., Why is Imogen oblivious to its effect?). But Fine's storytelling dwarfs such flaws. Drawing readers into the complexities of Melanie's decision, she produces a subtle and absorbing tale. Ages 10-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Melanie gets along with books better than with people, and she likes it that way. Thus, she is less than pleased when her teacher asks her to help out the new girl, especially when she finds that Imogen is reluctant to spend any time reading. However, it soon becomes clear that Imogen's aversion is especially unusual: she seems to be able to predict stories before she reads them, and is extraordinarily empathetic with the characters. Melanie takes on the task of detecting and exorcising her classmate's curse not out of any deep-rooted friendship, but because she can't bear to see anyone so frightened by a book. It also becomes clear to her that clingy Imogen's unpopularity has to do with a necklace she always wears. Sure enough, when Melanie does away with the family heirloom during a swim meet and frees Imogen from its spell, she frees herself from the commitment of being "best friends," and is finally left in peace, alone. This quick and easy read is predictable, but fun, and Melanie's wryly independent character lends a unique and comically twisted tone to this novel that should appeal both to fans of school stories and magic.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.