A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares

A Semi-definitive List of Worst Nightmares

eBook - 2017
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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.
Publisher: [North Sydney, NSW] : 2017. Penguin eBooks,
ISBN: 9781760142674
Branch Call Number: REM
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Bolinda Digital BorrowBox

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spl_teens Jul 18, 2018

Please see the Summary section for a full review of this book.


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spl_teens Jul 18, 2018

Seventeen-year-old Esther Solar’s extraordinary family is cursed in a very unusual way.
For many years – ever since Esther’s grandfather met Death in Vietnam, each Solar family member has been cursed to suffer one great fear – a fear that would eventually, in some way, bring about their death.
Esther’s mother is terrified of bringing about bad luck. Her father is an agoraphobe (one who fears being out in public where they could suffer a panic attack) and he hasn’t left the basement for over six years. Esther’s twin brother, Eugene, is deathly afraid of the dark.
And Esther? So far, she’s managed to escape the family curse … but she knows that it could strike at any time. To keep it at bay, Esther avoids many scary things – elevators, rollercoasters, crowds, small spaces, spiders, moths, snakes – and anything else on her “semi-definitive list of worst nightmares”.
What does Esther fear the most? Maybe it’s being seen by others as she truly is. As a sort of protection, Esther dresses as someone else every day – Red Riding Hood, Wednesday Addams, Jackie O., Optimus Prime, etc.
But ultimately this is a story of someone standing up to their greatest fears. And Esther will do just that in this funny but touching story of quirky, memorable characters, humorous dialogue and unexpected friendships (and romance)…. a story which also tackles some serious issues such as phobias, anxiety and mental health…. a story which is very, very hard to put down until the end.
** Recommended for ages 14 years and up.
** Reviewed by Sally Hengeveld, librarian, Stratford Public Library.

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