The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates
The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates is a great book to read during the Halloween season. It’s got ghosts, an insane asylum, and one scary-ass clown.
The characters felt a little flat, and I had a hard time with the third person present POV, but the book is very cinematic. I could totally see this being a movie or a made-for-tv miniseries. Uber creepy and dark.
Caleb Mason has everything: money, good looks, a bright future, and a hot girlfriend. He’s trading Malibu for Africa after graduation to cover the AIDS crisis, hoping to change the world. Until he gets a desperate letter in the mail from Christine, his former best friend. Caleb drops everything and heads to Hudsonville, Florida. Accompanied by Bean, his current best friend and constant jokester, Caleb sets out to save Christine…even if he has to save her from her own nightmares. He arrives to discover that hundreds of children have gone missing, and nothing has been done to solve these mysterious disappearances. Hudsonville is a ghost town. Caleb is determined to find out why.
Caleb is too perfect. He doesn’t feel real, his emotions don’t jump out of the book and grab me. It’s like he’s modeled after every teenage girl’s dream boy, instead of being crafted and developed into something that better reflects reality. He has zero personality: Caleb is a set of goals and life achievements.
Bean,while funny, feels like your cliche class clown. He takes very little seriously, has no back story, and is just there for comic relief. He’s completely uncomplicated.
Christine really had no impact on me. She’s been through so much in her 16 years of life (her sister disappeared, her mom went crazy, she was committed into the Dream Center), but she has very mellow emotions. I don’t feel horrified for her, or sympathetic, and I don’t understand her obsession with Caleb. Parts of Christine’s past are never really explained, and I had a hard time connecting with her.
The Sleepwalkers is written in third person present POV, which, for me, is hard to read. I feel like I’m racing through every sentence, like I’m always behind the action and can’t keep up. To me, it felt more like a screenplay than a novel. But this is just personal opinion.
The plot is original, and has all the key elements in a young adult horror novel. It was just the writing style and characters that held this book back.
On the author:
“Author J. Gabriel Gates makes magic with his supernatural story telling. Young, good-looking, and charismatic, Gates has the star power to cultivate a loyal audience of swooning tween/teen girls and young men who want to escape into a riveting, dark fantasy-adventure.” – from the publisher
More young adult horror and fantasy you might like:
- Book Review: The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates (eulana.com)