• Nicholas Nelson

Why The Marrow Thieves is YA, Dystopia, Fantasy, and Everything Else You Needed


Humans have lost the ability to dream, but one race has kept it; indigenous populations in North America. The novel begins as a boy, Frenchie, is saved from Recruiters, a group of people hunting those who can still dream, when his brother sacrifices himself. Alone, this indigenous young man sets out to survive in a futuristic world set on hunting him down. In a beautiful hybrid of adventure, fear, love, and the race for survival, The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline is an incredible ride.


After seeing it come through the bookstore I'm working at as a special order, I found the title to be interesting, so I took a look. It was mostly out of general interest rather than recommendation. So I didn't expect a lot, but wow was I wrong to think that.


From the very first moment, there's a sense of foreboding that never truly leaves, even at the last sentence of this short book. When the reader is thought to have security for the protagonist, Frenchie, we're quickly lead to never trust that instinct, instead fearing for this new world he's in.


Often marketed as young adult 'cli-fi' (climate fiction), this book could be described as adult speculative fiction into a world without dreams. I cannot claim any expertise on psychology, but I would love to explore what happens to the mind if it's not allowed to dream. Does the mind act out in terrifying and animalistic ways like that of the Recruiters, the ones hunting down indigenous peoples? Does it just fail to operate properly? What happens? Whatever answer those have, this book is a brilliant thought-piece on the loss of dreams. Keep your eyes open for the TV adaptation of this book soon to be coming out (from Dimaline's website).


The mentions of this book has had since its publication are as follows:

  • 2018 One Book, One Brampton Award

  • Globe and Mail Best Book

  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

  • Quill Et Quire Best Books of the Year

  • Finalist for the 2018 Pine Award

  • New York Public Library Best Books for Teens

Special order it now through Cream and Amber's website or find it at your local bookstore!

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