Without spoiling, we review “Part of Your Nightmare – Disney Chills Book 1” by Jennifer Brody / Vera Strange in which Disney’s Ursula scares, makes us think about marine life & why a simple wish can be dangerous!
“My dear, sweet child. Go ahead. Don’t be afraid….”Eleven-year-old Shelly Anderson just wants to be popular. Her parents have split and she has to start over at a new school with different classes, a brand new swim team and an unfamiliar social scene. So what if she just wants the cool kids to like her? Is that really too much to ask? So when Shelly finds a mysterious nautilus shell that summons the infamous sea witch, Ursula, she jumps at her chance to make a deal that will solidify her as one of the coolest girls in school. But when Shelly’s wish quickly goes belly-up, she must figure out how to back out of the witch’s deal before it forever binds her fate.
Grab your night-light, dear reader, and prepare to be CHILL-ed!
Spoiler-Free Review :
A thriller or horror book featuring a Disney villain is an interesting concept but a difficult to pull off as this is a cross genre spin-off that requires delicate writing skills and storytelling to make a balance of both good and bad. This book is a perfect example of how to use a villain to write about things that can help improve the reader’s life and spread awareness about important issues affecting the world.
The thriller book starts with a group of middle school students who are on an aquarium visit. We meet the protagonist Shelly, whose family owns the aquarium but her parents have been separated. Shelly has classmates whom she is trying to befriend so that she can fit in with the rest of them. The twins Attina, and Alana along with the school’s best swimmer Kendall are the three classmates who are not like Shelly but still Shelly wants to be friends with them because she had the experience of loneliness for a long time. We see the interactions and aquarium trip that’s filled with humor and things that make you feel invested in the characters. The story focuses on Shelly’s efforts to balance her true self and her artificial persona so that she is liked and accepted by her new classmates. The swimming competition between Shelly’s Triton School and an old rival school becomes an event that changes Shelly’s life. Characters like the school teacher or Swimming Coach are so well written that you do care for them. We see the swimming practice and Shelly’s rival Judy who beats her in a swimming race. Shelly feels embarrassed as her loss causes the team to lose and thus, wants to make sure that she wins the next race so that she is accepted by all the classmates as a friend. This is when Shelly accidentally falls into ocean due to a high wave and discovers Ursula’s – the famous Sea Witch from Little Mermaid- lair…
Ursula offers Shelly a wish for a favor in future. Shelly barely escapes the lair and returns to the surface and is saved by Enrique, a volunteer at the aquarium who’s also training to be a lifeguard. He is introduced in the story from the start in a good “boy next door” type of a way reminiscent to the classic Disney heroes which is awesome as his character never feels forced into the story. Besides the accident, Shelly finds a sea shell that magically appeared out of nowhere which then becomes a way for her to reach the lair of Ursula…
We get to know Shelly’s family as well, which is likeable as her brother Dawson seems adorable despite all the trouble he makes. We can empathize with Shelly’s parents too as they try to do their best to run the aquarium while also taking care of their kids even after the separation. Shelly decides to use her wish to become the fastest swimmer and win the next race which she hopes would make Kendall and twins her friends. After the wish is granted, a lot of good and bad things happen. At first things seem to be working in Shelly’s favor but soon she realizes that a simple wish has been twisted by Ursula and now her life is turning into nightmare.
After realizing that the wish wasn’t a good idea, Shelly asks Ursula to reverse it and this starts a new adventure that has a goal which is also full of deception. Shelly manages to get help along the way and things keep on getting exciting as the story progresses. Ursula’s connection with Triton Bay and her dark motives are also revealed eventually.. Through Shelly’s story, the author teaches us some very important life lessons about friendships, happiness, family, and why we must take care of marine life. The book’s climax is action packed which ends with a scary twist. It makes you look forward to the next book.
Writing and storytelling is perfect for all ages. It’s like a novel but it’s easy to understand and it’s full of interesting details about characters, marine biology, emotions, suspense, humor and has Disney magic to it as it feels like a Disney movie or a web series in terms of presentation of dialogues as well as the pace of scenarios. The editing is perfectly done as the chapters feel well connected from start to the end.
Overall, Part of Your Nightmare Disney Chills Book 1 by Vera Strange / Jennifer Brody delivers what it promises by showing you how an innocent wish can become a nightmare while teaching you life lessons as well as the importance of marine life through the writing style that is filled with Disney magic. No matter what your age is, and your familiarity with Disney, this book will surely delight you and make you appreciate your life and of course, the marine life as well.
Highly recommended to have in your collection!
About the Book Author-
Jennifer Brody (writing as Vera Strange) is a graduate of Harvard University and a creative writing instructor at the Writing Pad. She began her career working in Hollywood on many films, including The Lord of the Rings and The Golden Compass. She lives and writes in LA, where she’s hard at work on her next book. You can find her on Twitter @JenniferBrody, and Instagram and Facebook @JenniferBrodyWriter.
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