Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nightmares! by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller

Authors: Jason Segal & Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
Date of publication: September 2014

Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!

Charlie Laird has several problems. 

1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3.He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap. 

What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.

And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought it would be fun to listen to Nightmares!, a middle grade "scary story".  While it wasn't really scary for me, I think it will be just spooky enough for any middle grade reader who is looking for a little scare.  The story involves Charlie whose mother died three years before.  His father has since remarried and moved the family into his step-mother's house.   That is just the beginning of his problems.  His dreams seem to be happening during his waking time.  Soon it spreads to his friends and the entire town.  

There are a couple of themes running through the book that make it a great read for this age group.  One of the things that Charlie and his friends learn is that in facing your fears, it isn't knowing what you are afraid of.  It is knowing why you are afraid if it.  Once you figure that out, you can conquer anything. It is also a coming of age story about loss and dealing with the extreme grief of losing a loved one.  Charlie's inability to say goodbye to his mother and move on with his new life is the cause of the negative energy that starts all of the nightmares in the town. I have to say the scene in which he faces his own fear was very touching.

The book was co-authored by Kirsten Miller and Jason Segal.  You probably know him from "How I Met Your Mother" I thought he and Ms. Miller make a great writing team and I look forward to reading more from them in the future!

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