Nightmares by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
Illustrated by Karl Kwashy
Charlie Laird has several problems:
- His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
- He had to move into her purple mansion, which is not a place you want to find yourself after dark.
- 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.
[This is the first book in a trilogy.]
The protagonist, Charlie is all of us who have lost someone; the frustration and anger that bubbles out of him from the very start is relatable and identifiable. It pulls you in from the very start and takes you by the heart while you take Charlie by the hand.
His development as a character is epic; you are with him as he learns fights and grieves. There is so much emotion involved that it’s not hard to like Charlie, despite his anger.
There are plenty of other amazing, well rounded characters that Charlie meets and works with while on his journey, but I won’t spoil them here. All I will say is that not everything is as it seems when it comes to characters within the nightmare world.
It is a quest driven novel. Charlie is wrapped up in his own grief and anger and it puts his loved ones in danger. It leads Charlie on a journey to save someone he loves, saving himself along the way.
It’s a brilliant plot, very clean, very clever. It’s one that is worthy of being put alongside classics such as Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth and contemporary works like Percy Jackson.
Writing and Illustrations
The third person narrative is well written and includes amazing action sequences that draw you in and captivate you almost as is you’re watching it unfold on a cinema screen.
I also love that the focus remains on Charlie despite the use of third person. It actually helps me feel closer to him in some respects.
Being a Middle Grade book, there is the addition of some wonderful illustrations. They truly are beautiful and also in some wonderful conceit, gruesome. They give you the building blocks for building a world you will look forward to returning to. I know I cannot wait to start the next one.