Author: MacKenzie Cadenhead
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: I received Sleeper via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you!
A new suspense-ridden thriller that’s Heathers meets Inception.
As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.
When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?
Sleeper is unlike anything else I've ever read. I don't read much thrillers in general, but I do want to rectify that! Then again, I haven't heard of a psychological thriller about sleep disorders either. Because of this, I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't too critical when reading either. I had a great time reading Sleeper, and it flew by! However, there was one thing that kept me from loving the book.
The downfall of Sleeper is that nothing is truly developed. While the plot is unique, and the characters interesting, there was always something lacking. I didn't care for any of the characters, and the world building was shaky when it came to Sarah's side effects with the new drug she starts to take. I enjoyed myself when reading this, but everything felt rushed. The characters, especially the side characters as they all blended together, needed more development and the dream-world needed more development. Unfortunately, this led to a rushed and at times messy and disorderly mood.
Nevertheless, the thrilling plot kept my attention. Even though it wasn't developed as much as I would have liked, it still enthralled me. I loved the moral dilemma that was introduced, and Sarah's voice was believable. Sarah is a teenager, and of course that means she can be naive at times and make rash decisions. However, she also has times of grace and bravery that I also think are indicative of a teenager as well. Even though I haven't experienced anything like Sarah when it came to her sleeping disorder nor would I have made the decisions she did, I still understood her. When it comes to all the characters, she was the most fleshed out.
As for the other characters, most of them fell flat. I would have loved to see more of Jaime, Sarah's ex who is essentially used as a plot device (unfortunately) and Sarah's best friend, whose name I cannot remember. Obviously, the secondary characters did not bring much to the story. However, Wes was quite honestly the best character out of the whole novel. He wasn't as fleshed out as Sarah, but he was much more interesting. Wes was so morally grey, and I loved it. He's had a horrific childhood, and the actions he make are a direct effect of that. His personality was disturbing and left me unsettled in the best way possible.
At the end of the day, Sleeper was a super fun read. It wasn't the best by any means, but I am really interested in reading more psychological thrillers in the near future. I wish that Sleeper wasn't so rushed, because it adversely affected the book. The unique plot kept my attention even with its pitfalls. If Sleeper were to get a sequel, I would read it.
With that, I give this book
3.5 out of 5 Stars!