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FICTION

Part of Your Nightmare

Disney-Hyperion. (Disney Chills: Bk. 1). Jul. 2020. 224p. pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781368048255.
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Gr 3-6– Middle-schooler Shelly is struggling with trying to fit in at a new school. After her parents split up, she and her brother moved with their mom into a townhouse in a quaint seaside village. Her family runs the local aquarium, so Shelly takes comfort in her love of aquatic life. The problem is that her passion just doesn’t fit with the in-crowd. Narcissistic Kendall and her two sidekicks, Attina and Alana, think anything science related is nerdy and not cool. Shelly downplays her love of science but is shocked to witness two eyes glowing with a strange light when they take a school field trip to the aquarium. That night, she awakens to a strange light flashing in her brother’s room. When she investigates, she finds a nautilus shell that she had gifted her brother from her aquarium visit to the aquarium that day. As soon as Shelly touches the glowing shell, she is transported to a strange underwater world ruled by the sea witch, Ursula. Ursula offers Shelly one wish in exchange for an unnamed deed. Just wanting to fit in with her newfound friends, Shelly signs a grim contract only to discover terrible consequences. She wished to be the fastest swimmer on her school’s swim team but realizes Ursula’s magic is slowly turning Shelly into a fish. Shelly desperately tries to hide her changing state yet receives vile, aquatic reminders from Ursula that she must pay back her wish. The plot is fast-paced and suspense is well maintained. The ultimate lesson of “be careful what you wish for” will resonate with bibliophiles.
VERDICT This sinister tale will wrap its tentacles around avid mystery lovers with a moderate dose of chills.

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