Synopsis (from amazon.com):
Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can’t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.
The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.
Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.
Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she’d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.
Why I can’t wait to read A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares:
- Esther’s cursed family reminds me of The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman, about a family where the women have different gifts. A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares sounds like it has a similar kind of quirky magical-realism.
- How cute is the conflict? I want to know whether Alice and Jonah will be together, and what they need to learn about themselves before they are ready to overcome their fear of relationships. I love it when fantasy is used to explore real-world conflict.
- According to a couple of reviews I read, the novel is about mental illness. Not only is this fab in itself, the characters are definitely rounded. They do not appear to be defined by their illness, although their illness might form a big part of their journey. It is really important to see realistic portrayals of people with different health conditions.
- I’m loving contemporary YA this year. Before 2017, I hadn’t read much contemporary YA. When I was a teen, nearly all titles for young people were contemporary, and a huge number of them were about love triangles. How the world moves on. Wing Jones opened my eyes to what I was missing. After Wing Jones I vowed to read at least one novel with a contemporary setting every month. The family curse adds a touch of fantasy to put me in my comfort zone.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Hot Key Books (UK)
Sold? Not certain? Advance copies of A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares are available to win on ReadersFirst. Better still, you can read an excerpt from the start of the book and decide whether or not you’re hooked.