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review: “dreaming anastasia” October 9, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble.
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky // Paperback // 320 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Anne’s normal life — filled with college choices, ballet classes, and family issues — is turned upside down when mysterious stranger Ethan walks into her life. Ethan’s world revolves around Anastasia Romanov, the mystery of her disappearance, and Anne. Anne would love to ignore Ethan’s requests and presence…if it weren’t for the detailed dreams that she’s been having. Dreams that she’s pretty sure are all about Anastasia.

I really enjoyed this book. Preble expertly blends several genres — historical fiction, folklore, supernatural, romance — into one book. I think that it was the blend of these genres that really made the book a stand out, for me.

The characters are full and my favorite was Anne’s best friend, Tess. She seriously was the best best friend I’ve seen in a long time in YA lit. (I get so frustrated with best friends that disappear the moment things get weird in supernatural YA books!) Not to mention that I was definitely falling head over heels for Ethan.

But my favorite part of the novel was the Russian fairy tale aspect. I took a life-changing class in college on Russian fairy tales and it has stuck with me better than any other college course. So, I know about Baba Yaga and the rule of three and the most common fairy tale heroine name (Vasilisa in case you’re wondering). I know Russian fairy tales. And this book is a great twist to the traditional Russian fairy tale.

Seeing as the book is set in Chicago, I have no choice but to comment on the sheer joy as seeing my town in a YA book. (I know, I know. A lot of books are set in Chicago. But it is still cool.) My teens will also be thrilled!

Absolutely recommended.

SWAN catalog
Joy Preble




1. Jen - Devourer of Books - October 9, 2009

I just bought this too, I’m super excited to read it during the Readathon!

2. Mandy - October 9, 2009

OooOOh. I can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the review. You’re so right about the best friends disappearing the moment things get messy in paranormal fiction!!

3. Jennie - October 9, 2009

Oh so lucky!!! I wish I had this one in my pile! I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Great review!!!

4. Joy Preble - October 11, 2009

Thanks for reviewing! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the fairy tale aspect! I will be in Chicago 11/12 -11/5 on a mini-tour if anyone is around – signing at a Border’s in Wilmette 7 PM on 11/13, and at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park on 11/14 at 2PM among others. I’ll post the full itinerary on my website (www.joypreble.com) when I know it.

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