Review: Blue Is for Nightmares and White Is for Magic, Laurie faria Stolarz

Well. This is not what I expected. Amanda reviewed this series, of which Blue Is for Nightmares and White Is for Magic are the first two, earlier this year, and they are boarding school books and the series is a bunch of books that are matching and color-coded. Y’all know I had to get some of that. How, you inquire, did I manage to resist for eight months? By my home library always having them checked out, that’s how! But I got the first two at Mid-Manhattan when I came into the city last weekend to see the statues at the Onassis Cultural Center. Sadly, they didn’t quite do it for me.

Blue Is for Nightmares is about a psychic girl called Stacey who has been having terrifying nightmares that always culminate with her wetting the bed. She is mortally embarrassed as well as terrified: the last time she had nightmares like these, she ignored them, and they presaged the death of her baby-sitting charge, Maura. This time, as her dreams warn her that her roommate Drea is in peril, Stacey is determined to save her. In White Is for Magic — well, it’s basically the same thing, except this time she’s in peril and there’s a mysterious guy following her around.

I didn’t love these books the way I was hoping to. There is this thing in YA books where the kids don’t tell the adults what’s going on because a) adults are annoying; or b) adults won’t believe them. Although I recognize this is crucial because otherwise the kid protagonists won’t be able to handle their own problems, it can come across as forced, and it does in this case. I just can’t think of a reason not to bring the creepy happenings to the attention of the adults. Drea gets creepy roses and creepy notes, and so does her on-again, off-again boyfriend. You can bring these to boarding school teachers without bringing up Stacey’s psychic dreams! These are creepy happenings! But no, instead of doing that, they burn all the evidence. Really well-played, kids. In the second book they carry on hand-waving the possibility of involving the police. It didn’t work for me.

The first and second book had plots that were a lot alike, which is another thing that bothered me. They were so substantially similar I started worrying I’d picked up two copies of the same book. First it’s Drea in danger, and Stacey has dreams that will make it possible to save her. Then it’s her who’s in danger, and she struggles to figure out what her dreams are telling her that will make it possible to save herself. In both books she’s involved in a slightly complicated romantic situation. Meh. I’d have minded less when I was younger, maybe.

Sorry to end December on such a grumpy note, but you can’t choose what you read! Or, well, yes you can. I just do not always choose well. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you have an amazing, stress-free holiday! For those who don’t, I hope you have an amazing, stress-free few days when all the shops are closed and everyone sings Christmas carols around you. I will be seeing you after I get back from holidays with my family!