|Montefiore's Goddaughter by Elisabeth Brooks|
Since Abigale was little, she has always been able to escape to her dream world. She has a group of friends, made up of humans and animals, and her stuffed bear Boris. The friends congregate in a magical tree that keeps them safe from the giant cannibals who roam the dream forest, and is a place full of stories and fun. That is, until an evil creature that Abigale did not dream up enters her world, and demands she surrender herself to the King of Traumund.
Things are not going so well in the Waking World, either. She has been sent to an institution upon the request of her mysterious godfather, where she is expected to learn not Math or French, but how to care for her hair and nails and how to walk in high heels. The only things that keep her from being brainwashed are her dream land and her only friend, Joachim. When she is finally able to leave the Institute, Abigale meets her godfather to explain why she left. Abigale finds herself under his spell.
From there, a series of dark and dangerous events test Abigale's drive to save her dream world, and defeat the self-styled King of Traumund. Nothing is as it seems, and Abigale must choose between what she loves and what is right.
I didn't abandon this book, so I must have liked it. It was a darker story, and there were moments when I was nervous Abigale would make terrible decisions. The story is told by Abigale in the future looking back on her life, but I was not sure if it was a good Abigale or an evil one until later in the book. That added some suspense to the story, along with all of the paranormal and dream world adventures the characters have. The book was slow to start, and I found myself putting it down pretty frequently at the beginning. But I'm glad I stuck with it. Once the story picked up, it was engaging and I found myself doing the opposite of what I was doing before; I could not put the book down.
Abigale's character was especially pleasing to me because she was not all good or all bad as so many YA characters seem to be. Even when she was doing something good to help her friends, there was still a little tug in the other direction. I also found the parts where Abigale and Eyes the Owl travel through Traumund and see other people's dreams interesting. For a dream world, it was fairly realistic in that it showed that not all dreams are happy. The bouts of humor in this book kept it from getting too dark, and kept the spark of hope alive.