Happy Nightmares Weekend, Part two!
Today, we're reviewing The Sleepwalker Tonic, the second book in the Nightmares! series.
I really enjoyed the first one, but absolutely loved the second one. Read on as I explain why this book doens't suffer from the sophomore slump, and why zombie are just so much creepier now to me!
(And check out our giveaway!)
Published September 8th 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller bring us back into Charlie Laird's world, as he fights both Nightmare and real-world foes, and quickly learns that the answer to a myterious plague may lie in both the real world and the Netherworld.
1) He has a weirdo stepmom who runs an herbarium.
2) He lives in a purple mansion with a portal to the Netherworld.
3) Since they escaped from the Netherworld, he and his best friends have been sleeping like babies.
But Charlie can’t shake the feeling that something strange is afoot. Charlotte’s herbarium used to be one of the busiest stores in Cypress Creek. Now her loyal following is heading to Orville Falls for their herbal potions.
Weirder, though, Orville Falls is suddenly filled with . . . zombies? At least, they sure look like the walking dead. Rumor has it that no one’s sleeping in Orville Falls. And Charlie knows what that means.
Things are getting freaky again.
Authors Jason Segel and Kirsten bring us back into Charlie Laird's world, several months after the events of the first book. Charlie is a bit of a cool cutomer now; he's made peace with stepmother Charlotte, and the two of them, along with Charlie's younger brother Jack, are now in charge of protecting the portal to the Netherworld.
However, after a chance encounter with a Orville Falls resident that is looking very zombie-esque, Charlie teams up with his family and friends, to figure out just why some neighboring town resident are looking more a little out of it...
What's brilliant about The Sleepwalker Tonic, is Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller's decision to further expand upon the crossover possbilities between the Netherworld and the real world. We've already learned in the first book that it's possible for individuals to travel between the worlds, and now we see what happens when that occurs in a large-scale way.
The results are mysterious and creepy, especially when Charlie and the readers jointly realize that the impacts of that crossover will likely include some long-standing ramifications for both the residents of Orville Fall and Cypres Creek, if they don't get to the bottom of what's going on, and Segel and Miller do a fine job of amping up the tension and the drama - epecially with the addition of mysterious notes, and a creepy lighthouse - as Charlie and his friends try to get answer from their Netherworld friends.
But even as Charlie, Jack and the crew delve further into the background behind the mysterious zombie roaming around Orville Falls, Segel and Miller do a nice job of sprinkling in some secondary familial and friend-driven drama as well. We see the continuing evolution of Charlie's relationship with his stepmother, and there's also great development between the two brothers and their friends, including understanding how the two of them respectively deal with their fears.
It's a great throwback to Segel and Miller's acknowledgement in the first book on how some of the scariest fears in the Netherworld are directly connected to our real world, and it's interesting to see how Charlie and Jack mutually respect how the other approache their conncerns.
While Charlie and the team's sleuthing into the zombies of Orville Falls eventually crests to a delightful (albeit, somewhat expected) conclusion, Segel and Miller have set the book up beautifully for book three, and have proven once again, they are a strong writing team.
Jason Segel and Kirsten MIller prove that they have crafted a rich, detailed world, full of intriguing mythos and detailed characters, with quirky personalities that are sure to delight and capture the imaginations of young reader.
But more importantly, Segel and Miller have written yet another book that recognizes some of childhood's biggest fears are ones that can be conquered, as long as you have some smart, industrious friends by your side - regardless of whether they're from the Netherworld or not! - and as long as you're willing to face your fears.
Highly recommend for all readers, full stop.
About the authors:
Jason Segel used to have nightmares just like Charlie, and just like Charlie, he’s learned that the things we’re most afraid of are the things that can make us strong…if we’re brave enough to face them. Jason likes acting, writing, making music, and hanging out with his friends. Sometimes he writes movies. Sometimes he writes songs for movies. Sometimes he stars in those movies and sings those songs. You might know him from The Muppets and Despicable Me. Your parents might know him from other stuff. The New York Times bestseller Nightmares! is his first novel. Look for the second book in the series, The Sleepwalker Tonic, available from Delacorte Press.
Kirsten Miller grew up in a small town just like Cypress Creek, minus the purple mansion. Now she lives and writes in New York City. Kirsten wrote Nightmares!and The Sleepwalker Tonic with Jason Segel. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Kiki Strike books, the Eternal Ones series, and How to Lead a Life of Crime. Visit her at kirstenmillerbooks.com.