“Never be sorry for showing the world who you are or who you wish to become. These struggles have brought you exactly where you need to be.”
If you’re looking for a book to escape in to, one full of magic and adventure and ancient stories, then stop what you’re doing right now and go get a copy of The Spinner of Dreams by K. A. Reynolds. This middle grade fantasy was perfect, and gave my imagination a much-needed work out.
In The Spinner of Dreams, we meet Annalise Meriwether, who was cursed at birth by the Spinner of Fate. As a result, her and her family are subjected to constant bad luck, everyone in their town avoids them, and hate and ruination follow them everywhere. To make matters worse, there’s also a physical component to Annalise’s curse: a black, heart-shaped mark on her hand that seems to have a mind of its own, spurting smoke and fire whenever she’s upset.
Annalise is only 11 years old, but she’s tired of her curse and longs for a normal life where her family can be happy. She refuses to accept the path that was created for her by the Spinner of Fate, and vows to change it.
Growing up, Annalise heard all the old stories: there is the Spinner of Fate, but there is also her twin sister, the Spinner of Dreams. If you enter the Spinner of Fate’s labyrinth and beat all the challenges, you can enter the Dreamlands. Here, the Spinner of Dreams can grant your wildest wishes.
Despite being absolutely terrified of what may happen, Annalise sets out to alter her fate and fulfill her dream of being free from her curse. What follows is an epic adventure, full of hope and bravery, lots of magic, tests of strength and courage, and finding true friendship.
One of the main themes throughout the book was how Annalise dealt with her anxiety. There were many things that frightened her, and certain events, such as her train ride, brought on panic attacks and intense negative thoughts. It’s rare to see a book portray mental illness in such a realistic way, but this one was spot on. As someone who has dealt with panic attacks and still works at managing anxiety, I felt for Annalise, and loved seeing her strength and courage shine through. It was great to see a young character deal with these issues, and I hope young readers also find solace in the story.
I also really loved the writing in the book as well. The magic jumped off the pages, and the descriptions were incredibly immersive. I could really feel myself getting lost in the story and it was wonderful. While the book is written specifically for middle grade audiences, I believe that readers of all ages will be able to enjoy it.
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada and HCC Frenzy for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Spinner of Dreams was released on August 27, 2019, and is available wherever books are sold.