★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.
"Good night, Charlie.Sleep tight, Jack.Turn out the lightsand watchyourback."
Jason Segel is a multitalented man. Yes, he is Jason Segel, the actor from How I Met Your Mother and The Muppet movie reboots. Jason is fairly similar to the main character in this book, he suffered from nightmares as a child and learned from them. This is his book writing debut!
Kirsten Miller grew up in a small town similar to the one in this book minus the spooky purple mansion. Now she lives and writes in New York City. She has written several other book series.
Nightmares! is the story of Charlie Laird, a twelve year old boy who has suffered a lot. He lost his mother right before he turned nine, his father has remarried a woman that he is sure is a witch, and they all moved in to her creepy purple mansion. None of that is his biggest problem though; Charlie suffers from nightmares every time he so much as dozes off. Real, scary, terrible nightmares! He goes to another world when he sleeps and he is tormented there by his biggest fears.
Things are about to get worse for Charlie, his nightmares are slipping into the waking world and the entire town is in danger and it is all his fault. If Charlie is going to save his brother, his friends, his town and himself he is going to have to face his biggest fears. Two is always stronger than one, maybe with his three best friends help he'll be strong enough to save everyone.
I have to admit I was a little turned off by the beginning of this book. Charlie is pretty mean to his brother and dad and he calls his stepmother "the stepmonster." Looking at the stepmother through Charlie's eyes she does seem pretty horrible. She makes green pancakes and split pea soup and her job is really weird.
Charlie is no saint by any means but he isn't a character with no redeeming qualities either. Despite all of his problems Charlie doesn't whine, he doesn't sit down and say "why me?" or "life is so unfair." He doesn't run from his problems either. He reaches down deep inside himself and with the help of his friends he finds his courage and faces his deepest fears. At the beginning of the book Charlie turned me off, he was not especially sympathetic but as his journey progressed I found myself cheering for him.
I would recommend this book to everyone. Parents may wish to read it before letting their kids read it, or read it with their children. There are definitely some scary things in this book but it is all about facing your fears and overcoming them. I will definitely be reading this book with my eight year old!