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4 genre spanning stars The Dreamers is a different sort of read for me, and I m grateful I read it The premise A disease is affecting a college town causing unstoppable sleep and vividly strange dreams It all starts at a university in Southern California when a student, Kara, falls asleep and no one can rouse her, not her roommate, Mei, and not even the doctors at the hospital That event is then followed by another student, and then another, and then the town is sieged with panic by this unknown and perplexing illness.At first no one knows why this is happening Are the students playing a prank With the doctors finding no known medical cause, just what could be going on I personally cannot imagine how scared I would feel in that situation Karen Thompson Walker s writing is stunning, and I found my emotions all over the place while reading At times, I was panicked and forlorn, like the townspeople and students Other times I was emotional over the effects of this disease on the community and individuals within it There was palpable tension, and again, that frightfulness Not in the horror kind of way, but in that unknown, insidious, completely out of your control kind of way The exploration of dreams versus reality was also captivating The Dreamers is all about the characters and their raw and authentic emotions I was so completely transfixed I felt like I was a resident of the town, too I found The Dreamers a memorable, thought provoking, insightful, and frightening page turner This book spans genres, including eerily tense suspense, light science fiction, and dystopian all on a backdrop of a glorious character study Loved it Thank you to the publisher for the complimentary ARC All opinions are my own My reviews can also be found on my blog www.jennifertarheelreader.com An epidemic of perpetual sleep strikes a small town Many are trapped not by a captor, but by their own slumber I was captivated immediately from page one A frightful opening made me ever so curious to read onThis author s writing style was mesmerizing and magical I was absorbed in her words and the fictional town in California Literary fiction at its best without needless side stories or wasted dialogue The story flows effortlessly and I adored it.It begins with some college dorm students falling ill, into a sleepliness, a dizziness, a state of dreaming As the sleep virus spreads so does the frequency of townspeople wearing hospital masks and blue latex gloves There is a growing buzz of panic and gloom Some of terrified of the sensation of sleepiness Nathaniel believes that hysteria over the illness is the real disease of the era As the cases balloon out of control, no one can stop the unstoppable dreaming state Some believe it could be a hoax What is real What is a dream I adored this story, the magical writing and the tension building suspense Totally bewitching read Highly recommend I borrowed this one from my local library and it is Available NOW. In An Isolated College Town In The Hills Of Southern California, A Freshman Girl Stumbles Into Her Dorm Room, Falls Asleep And Doesn T Wake Up She Sleeps Through The Morning, Into The Evening Her Roommate, Mei, Cannot Rouse Her Neither Can The Paramedics Who Carry Her Away, Nor The Perplexed Doctors At The Hospital Then A Second Girl Falls Asleep, And Then Another, And Panic Takes Hold Of The College And Spreads To The Town As The Number Of Cases Multiplies, Classes Are Canceled, And Stores Begin To Run Out Of Supplies A Quarantine Is Established The National Guard Is Summoned Mei, An Outsider In The Cliquish Hierarchy Of Dorm Life, Finds Herself Thrust Together With An Eccentric, Idealistic Classmate Two Visiting Professors Try To Protect Their Newborn Baby As The Once Quiet Streets Descend Into Chaos A Father Succumbs To The Illness, Leaving His Daughters To Fend For Themselves And At The Hospital, A New Life Grows Within A College Girl, Unbeknownst To Her Even As She Sleeps A Psychiatrist, Summoned From Los Angeles, Attempts To Make Sense Of The Illness As It Spreads Through The Town Those Infected Are Displaying Unusual Levels Of Brain Activity, Than Has Ever Been Recorded They Are Dreaming Heightened Dreams But Of What It is much harder for me to write a review of a book that I did not like rather than one I loved I do not usually read science fiction fantasy or whatever genre this would be assigned to but the reviews were so good for this novel I decided to give it a try Possible spoilers The premise is not a new one There have been many books written and movies made of a virus or some alien illness infecting humans and making them behave in one way or another In this case whatever this is, makes humans fall into a deep sleep Doctors have them hooked up for hydration and they show high levels of brain activity, but what does it all mean It starts in the dorm of a college town in Santa Lora, California, a very idyllic setting The book initially had me hooked, I kept reading to see where it was all going to lead At first it is just the college students being infected and they are not allowed to leave the floor of their dorm But quarantine does not work as many of the students on the floor continue to fall into the sleeping sickness They are then moved to a gym and not allowed to leave, still fall ill It was thought that perhaps the ventilation system was to blame for the sickness but that has been ruled out.There are many elderly people in a nursing home who fall ill to the sickness Now the doctors and nurses that are tending them are sick, it seems no one is safe.I would like to say that this book has strong characters, but I did not find that to be the case We get to know a young couple, both professors, who have an infant just a few weeks old We get to know a bit about their life before they moved here and how they are now working as a team, groggy from lack of sleep, as all parents of newborns are, but now never leaving their baby alone, fearful for the first signs that she will not wake up.Mei is a college freshman who really wanted to be in an Arts program but her mother insisted on this college instead She is shy and has trouble making friends She could have been made interesting if we knew about her background For her this forced kinship with others from her dorm floor almost seems like a good thing There are a lot of loose threads in this book There was mention several times that the lake level was lower than normal Did this have something to do with the sickness Nothing is ever resolved.Thrown into this mix it is discovered that a college student, Rebecca, has become pregnant and she is one of the last to awaken, nearly a year later In the meantime she has given birth to a girl, but when she wakes she can only remember a strange dream where she is the mother of a son and is already past middle age Is this a characteristic of this illness Who knows, we don t hear of anyone else with this type of dream There was a group of people who had been staying in a motel but run into the forest to escape quarantine Was there something wrong with the motel They all soon fall sick.There were so many individual occurrences that never seemed to lead to a resolution or cure There is quite a large cast of characters but I didn t find them to be well described Then there is a wildfire in the mountains and again for unexplained reasons, many people wake up from their dreamlike sleep while others perish Can this be the cure This was one of the most frustrating reads I ve had in a long time I felt no strong connection to any of the characters There were so many ideas or hints at things that may be causing the sickness but in the end there is no resolution and the sleeping sickness as it was being called never spread beyond this small town.In the end, even after several days to think about it I was still left with the question of what did I just read I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss. 4.5 College A time when teens begin the transformation into adulthood Truly, just teenagers experiencing life away from home for the first time Wide eyed excitement, anticipation and seemingly endless opportunities the world has to offer them.But at an un assuming, small college in Santa Lora California, that idyllic life is about to change forever.When Kara comes home unusually early from a night of drinking, she slips quietly into her dorm, and climbs into her bunkbed The next morning, her roommate Mei can t wake her from what seems like a deep, drunken slumber It s not long before everyone realizes this is only the beginning, as others begin to drift away into the same deep, deep sleep.Are these students playing a college prank Copying each others behavior Or does the town need to take this seriously This book had me hooked from start to finish It seemed to have, pardon the pun, a real dream like quality to it I couldn t wait to see where this was headed and what was behind it all If you re ready for something a little different that ll leave you mystified and yes, maybe just a little bit scared, this is one you must add to your list I highly recommend.A fabulous buddy read with Susanne Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group and Karen Thompson Walker for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review 3.5We sleep in order to forget Sadly I didn t love this as much as everyone else seems to It looked like it would be right up my street a strange illness overcomes a small town in California and people are falling asleep, not waking up for anything But unfortunately I was still left disappointed.The Dreamers follows a collection of characters constantly flicking between them From the college students where the virus first appears, to two young girls living alone in a house after their father falls ill, a single father with his 6 week old baby terrified that if he succumbs to the sickness, his daughter will die.My main gripe, which is always the same gripe with books of this nature is view spoiler we never find out the cause of the illness Or even its purpose It just appears and then disappears just as quickly and we are left none the wiser because of it hide spoiler Confession time I m a total hypochondriac I don t watch medical shows, because I ve convinced myself I m dying of things it s medically impossible for me to contract I caught a bad cold two days after finishing The Stand , and I was convinced the end was near I m a mess.Needless to say, it might not have been the best idea to finish Karen Thompson Walker s The Dreamers just before bed, but luckily I m here to tell you about it The only way to tell some stories is with the oldest, most familiar words this here, this is the breaking of a heart Another semester of college has started in a sleepy Southern California town Kara leaves a party one night saying she doesn t feel well Everyone figures she s probably had too much to drink She gets into bed and falls asleep She s still asleep when her roommate, Mei, leaves for class the next morning, but Mei isn t concerned, because Kara has done this before Kara is still asleep when evening comes, but no one can wake her, not Mei, not Kara s friends, not even the paramedics or the doctors at the hospital where she was taken.The doctors can t figure out what s wrong with her, nor can they explain why she dies the next day But everyone is unprepared when a second girl in Kara s dorm falls asleep, then a third That s when panic starts to set in, and as students, and others they come into contact with at the school fall asleep, fears of an epidemic are sparked.While doctors are stymied by what is sweeping through the college, and how it can be prevented from spreading, they also make an unusual discovery there is activity in these minds than has ever been recorded in any human brain awake or asleep Slowly, the virus begins to spread through this small town First it s the hospital and college personnel who fall prey, and then it starts to affect an ever widening circle of those they ve come into contact with Sarah and Libby, two young sisters, are determined to protect themselves Ben and Annie, two young professors, withstand the strains of their marriage to try and keep their infant daughter safe Nathaniel, another professor, worries he may be kept from visiting his husband, who is in a nursing home and Mei, who, along with another student, tries to make a difference once she stops submerging herself in her own fears The Dreamers is a tremendously thought provoking book about how we come together and tear ourselves apart in the midst of a crisis like this It s a portrait of fear, courage, love, stubbornness, sacrifice, and selfishness, and the stories of those affected and those waiting to see if they ll be next are very poignant.As she proved with her first book, The Age of Miracles see my review , Walker is a great storyteller, combining scientific elements with fantastical ones to yield a book rich with emotion Where I struggled with The Dreamers , however, is how things were wrapped up I felt left with questions than answers, and I really wasn t sure what kind of a message she was sending The book needed a clearer ending fitting of the complexity of the plot.That criticism aside, this is a book that will make you think about how you might act in a similar situation, if you were any of these characters I look forward to reading Walker s next book, because her talent is too good to sit idle.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at Follow me on Instagram at Me Liking a sci fi book It s true And no, I did not undergo electric shock therapy This book is almost pogo stick worthy, it s so damn good I don t even know what category this book fits into To me, it s not pure sci fi, really Is there such a thing as disaster books, like there are disaster movies Because that s what it is It s not about aliens or weird gadgets it s about a virus, a sleeping sickness, that takes over a college town Maybe it should be called sci fi light Well, whatever we want to call it, this book is excellent And what makes it so excellent is that it s character driven something I don t usually associate with a sci fi book.There are about ten or so characters Every single one is well drawn and likeable, and each one evoked my sympathy Most of the story revolves around a couple with a newborn, a survivalist father and his two young daughters, and two college students who hang out together There are a couple of other minor characters whose stories I found interesting, too Halfway through the book I realized with horror, hey, these characters could all get the sleeping sickness so would be unavailable to entertain me or they could even die Ah, so this is one reason why disaster books are such a bummer You get all attached to a character, then poof, they re gone What kind of deal is that Maybe I should have thought longer about reading a book where so many people may die But as I continued, I was happy to see there was hope and there were people who were helping, which gave this cynic a little faith in humanity The language pulled me in immediately It s straightforward, fluff free, and on the sparse side It s dramatic in tone, but not overly dramatic I was all in as soon as I opened the book.There are lots of wise little nuggetsNot everything that happens in a life can be digested Some events stay forever whole Some images never leave the mind But isn t the future always an imaginary thing before it comes But isn t every sleep a kind of isolation When else are we so alone But it feels good to take care of them the way it is possible to disappear inside someone else s need If you re an Extreme Worrier like I am, the following quote should make you feel better Hell, it will probably make you strut The two sentences are probably why I loved the book so much, lolWorry, she often reminds her patients, is a kind of creativity Fear is an act of the imagination Many of the characters face moral dilemmas, the kind of questions that come up with natural disasters Do you help people if it puts you at risk Do you leave your children to go help others Do you obey the quarantine because of the risk to other people Do you shove to get out first Remember the famous moral question, if you were in a life boat and could only save one person, how would you choose who to pick There s one character who keeps asking those types of questions to his friend This has significance later in the book, and it s all subtle and cool Fear Man, a contagious disease spreading fast is going to scare the hell out of everyone You have the people who live in the town, fearing they will be the next victim And you have the fretting parents of college kids, totally nutso because they live in other towns and can t find out if their kids are okay The book does an amazing job of showing people s fear, in all its permutations.The scenes of people desperately trying to leave town were realistic and powerful They reminded me of what happened during the recent fire in Paradise, California, when the whole town disappeared the whole friggin town I got an up close view because my friend s mom lived there, and she told of a harrowing tale of her escape She and everyone else lost their house, and they were left basically with the clothes on their back The trauma is unimaginable So as I read, I kept flashing on that real disaster The book definitely gave me a taste of the mayhem, the fear, the urgency of a disastrous event I felt like I was there, all unchy and crazed.The book got me thinking about what I would do if it happened in my town I ll tell you one thing I m sure I would run, just like everyone else Okay, I realize I can t really RUN, but I would try to beat feet out of town by car god, escape by car better be an option But what if I was low on gas Yi yi yi, I better make sure to keep my gas tank full If I were smart, I d probably go fill it up right now I must remember that these worries are simply signs of my creativity, lol One thing that happened with the sleeping sickness was that people still could dream Damn, am I going to have to hear about people s dreams Because I ll tell you right now, that doesn t interest me one iota Tell me what s happening now in the real world I don t care about what someone s brain cells are dreaming up Bor ing But thank god, no the book doesn t go there.Instead, the book playfully talks about dreams versus reality perception funnies parallel universes the mixing of past, future and present The comments pop up but they don t detract from the plot one bit If anything, they add some cool eeriness What a captivating book Good characters, suspense, and food for thought For those of you who shy away from the sci fi genre, go ahead and dive in It s worth it.Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy. These days, science doesn t take much interest in dreams. 2 stars I m rating this purely based on my personal enjoyment and connection with the narrative Some people are going to love this book I read Walker s The Age of Miracles than six years ago, didn t love it, but wanted to give her another try I know my tastes have changed Maybe even the author had changed, too As it turns out, my review of her debut is fairly similar to how I feel about The Dreamers, comma splices aside.This book is full of dreamy hypnotic prose I can count on one hand the amount of books where this style has worked for me In fact, right now, I can t actually think of one There s this sense that you are looking down on everything from a distance through a haze It is written in third person and moves through small chapters vignettes, almost with many different people who I never felt a connection to The Dreamers premise is virtually identical to King s Sleeping Beauties, except here the sleeping sickness can affect men and appears to be contagious The major difference, I feel, is in how much we are pulled into the characters lives Sleeping Beauties was not a fast paced book, but I felt very drawn into the drama With a page count almost twice as long as this book, it s hardly surprising that there was far character development.In the first few chapters of The Dreamers, a girl dies under mysterious circumstances, her friends and parents mourn, and it is all narrated with such bizarre detachment The sleeping sickness spreads from there and the author explores how it affects many different lives Some of this is interesting some of it feels repetitive.It is a book for those who enjoy sleepy, beautifully written novels The characters won t stay with me, personally, nor should you come into this expecting a satisfying sci fi story in which things are explained Much like dreams, a lot doesn t make sense in this book What I will probably remember the longest are the quotes that touched me Such as this one This is how the sickness travels best through all the same channels as do fondness and friendship and love. CW Suicide.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube This narrative style From the first paragraph I knew I was going to be so pulled into this story, whatever it was going to be, by the writing There is something about it, the way Karen Thompson Walker tells this story It s third person narrative and I felt removed as if I was watching this on film or on the stage but at the same time there s an intimacy that affords the reader a connection to these characters, their fears, their loneliness, their pasts, and their dreams from this deep sleep While this felt very visual, I didn t find the language to be overly descriptive It was clear and concise and beautiful In a small town of Santa Lora, California the sleep sickness, caused by a virus first hits a college dorm One by one they are taken to the hospital, until some doctors and nurses fall into this sleep, and the hospital as well as the dorm are placed under quarantine and then the library where overflow patients are taken and the gym where the students from the affected dorm floor are taken It s an eerie feeling as Santa Lora is placed under quarantine no one in or out We see the crisis through the lives of fairly large cast of characters who are not depicted as mere statistics, but as real people that we may know or could be Rebecca, the second victim lies in the hospital and we come to know something about her that she can t know in her sleep state until the dreams come to her Mei, a lonely college freshman for whom connections become possible through the crisis Sara and Libby, eleven and twelve year old girls, who are forced to care for themselves Anne and Ben and their newborn daughter, adjusting to parenthood and facing the crisis These are some of the characters I came to know and care about along with others as the narrative alternates between their points of view, sometimes overlapping as they connect with each other.I might have given this 5 stars, but it lagged in the middle and then it seemed the ending came so abruptly I m not sure I really understood what the dreams meant Were they memories of the past Were they about the future But what I do know is that this was a haunting, thought provoking, and hopeful story Mei whose loneliness broke my heart, says of people she sees on the street , One of the women outside is walking barefoot in her business suit Where are her shoes Mei wonders, but that s the thing about strangers you don t get to hear their stories The thing I loved most about this book is that we do get to hear their stories Esil, thanks so much for the recommendation because you were right that I would like this book I m so glad I followed up because this is so much than I thought it would be I also highly recommend The Age of Miracles, the author s first novel which was a 5 star read for me I received an advanced copy of this book from Random House through NetGalley.