This book was reviewed for Xpresso Book Tours
Richards’ Dragonfly Nightmare is a thrilling young adult coming of age story. Four years ago Allie Bailey was kidnapped by a former employee of her father’s and held hostage. For the last four years, Allie’s parents have been overly protective of her, refusing to allow her away from home overnight. Finally, this summer, Allie is being allowed to attend summer camp with her best friend Laurel, with the stipulation that both Laurel and her brother Logan keep a close eye on her.
However, things at the camp appear sketchy from the start. The usual camp leader, Mrs A, isn’t there this year. Instead, her nephew and niece are running the whole show. Supposedly Mrs A broke her leg and is in her cabin, but not up to running things. As the first day progresses, things seem more and more out of place. The food is not the gourmet fare Logan and Laurel bragged about summer after summer, paid for excursions are cut, and then Allie gets a gift from her past, a gift reminding her forcibly of her kidnapping.
Attempts to see Mrs A or to call home are brushed off. Dante, the new camp leader, loses his temper several times, even going so far as to verbally and physically abuse campers. After a series of terrifying incidents and discoveries, Allie, Laurel, and Logan, along with new friends Nick and Marco, decide to take matters into their own hands in order to keep the younger campers safe. What they learn in the end is far grimmer than they first believed.
I loved this book. I admit, I didn’t when I first started, and it was because of the voice. It’s written from the perspective of a teen and the voice and phrasing reflects that. It grew on me though. Clearly Allie has gone through a great deal in her life, events that make or break a person. The intervening four years have served as a chrysalis period, and her ‘dragonfly nightmare’ breaks that shell. The person who emerges is a strong young woman who is fiercely protective and unwilling to give up. Realising her own deficiencies and limitations, Allie seeks to improve herself, such as learning martial arts.
The author chose well in using dragonflies. As a spirit or totem animal, Dragonfly represents transformation, and the ability to flow with life. Dragonfly shows one how to see through deceit. All of these things certainly apply to Allie and the camp! She’s still learning that flow part though, as shown with Logan. Both are too stubborn to speak to one another about those events of four years ago, despite burgeoning romantic feelings between the two.
This book is the first in a series, and I’m looking forward to the next one. I would also love to read the story of Allie’s kidnapping.
????? Highly recommended