The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra's Legacy), by Dorine White, opens with the coolest dream sequence I've read in a middle grade novel. Dreams and fear are big issues for Sara Bogus. Sure, she's starting middle school and that's enough to scare anyone, but Sara doesn't have the kind of nightmares where you show up to math class in your underwear. Sara's dreams are linked to the ancient, powerful ring she found in her grandma's attic--and someone else is after it. To make matters worse, Sara is pretty sure she's losing it. How else can she explain hearing voices that seem to come from nowhere?
Throughout the book, Sara's dreams become more intense as her connection to the magic relic deepens. Sara, her best friend Heidi, and their new friend Kainu work together to uncover the ring's past. They turn to an expert, fortune-teller Angela, to help Sara learn to master the ring's intense power. In the process, Sara finds the inner confidence she'll need to survive her encounter with the dangerous thief and maybe even middle school.
The Emerald Ring was a fun book. White's characters are well-developed: her tweens are sufficiently reluctant to confide in adults, but the adults are responsible and concerned. I was glad to find the dialogue between Sara and her friends fresh and modern, but stopping short of sounding like a sit-com. Although the subtitle "Cleopatra's Legacy" and the details surrounding that legacy leave plenty of room for the author to build a series, Sara's story was satisfying and complete.