Nightmares!  (paperback)

by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller

AR Level 4.8, 10 points

Lately, I have noticed that a lot of books are being written by actors.  Jason Segel is one actor I’ve enjoyed ever since I saw him in Freaks and Geeks, and he’s since been in several of my favorite movies, including Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  My husband and I also watched How I Met Your Mother religiously until the horrid final episode.  So this book intrigued me.  I know Segel is a great actor and has written a lot of his own material, but none of it has been “child-friendly” enough for a kids’ book.

Nightmares! follows a boy named Charlie.  He has 3 best friends, a brother, a father, and a stepmother, the latter whom he suspects is a witch.  The witch comes to him in his dreams, so he refuses to sleep, and is therefore crabby and exhausted.  When the witch comes to him in real life and not in his dreams, she takes his little brother and escapes through a portal.  It is up to Charlie to follow them into the Netherworld and rescue him, while facing his fears.  He makes a few allies and finds that he isn’t as alone as he previously thought.

What I liked about this book is that it has a great theme.  Readers are shown that our fears aren’t as scary once we face them, and that sometimes what we fear is a cover for a weakness that we have.  Charlie had to face his mother’s death, and the fear of losing her.  I’m wondering what weakness spiders is a reflection of in me.

What I didn’t like about this book is that there were so many characters and monsters, I had trouble keeping up.  I also had the same issue I usually have with lower-level stories… it didn’t challenge me, and I started to get bored mid-way through.  It has everything that a kid would like in a novel, I think- it is scary, a likable main character, strong friends, and humor.

Thanks to my niece Maliya for lending me the book!

Book 18 of 40 (year 2)