Book Review: The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates

11290495Title: The Sleepwalkers
Author: J. Gabriel Gates
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Thriller, Young Adult
Publisher: HCI Teens
Publication Date: October 3rd 2011
Rating: 3,5 stars
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Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb’s childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine’s long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an a.m. radio. The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.

Caleb has seemingly got it all. A hot girlfriend, a goofy but trustworthy best friend, excellent grades and a wonderful future waiting ahead of him. Yet when he receives a card from Christine, an old childhood friend of his, Caleb realizes that sometimes the past cannot be forgotten. He travels back to the town of his youth only to realize that it looks nothing like the home he remembers. For starters, his father is missing. His childhood home is abandoned, but it looks like his father had to leave in a hurry…Caleb can’t begin to understand why his father would leave all his files, food and other things of that kind behind. Moreover, the amount of people who have gone missing in this small village is anything but ordinary. And whatever is going on in the Sleeping Center, where Christine is at, all Caleb knows is that it’s not a harmless sleeping experiment, like the center indicates…It’s something darker and more disturbing…

The Sleepwalkers stands out from other YA horror books because it’s…well, it’s horrifying really. Like it’s not enough that children are being abducted, they also turn into “sleepwalkers” and commit one horrible crime after another while asleep. The thought that an entire community just stands by and lets this happen is very unsettling, but it’s exactly what happens. I wasn’t too fond of the inclusion of the prophecy – I would’ve been just as happy had the entire event been random, because that would be even more terrifying, but I can understand why the author wanted to put some purpose behind it all. Also, the fact that Caleb supposedly plays a central part in all of these events didn’t sit right with me either. This story could’ve been much more terrifying had Caleb actually nothing to do with whatever was happening and if he was an innocent bystander who just happened to get caught up in these unsettling events because of sheer bad luck. But alas, we can’t have it all.

What we do get, is very satisfying though. Strong characters with intriguing personalities thrown together in the battle ofa lifetime. J. Gabriel Gates does not sugarcoat readers: the violence is real, horrifc and sometimes even deadly. A main character can just as easily die as a minor character. The author’s writing style is fast and fluent and simply sucks you into the story. Once you start reading The Sleepwalkers, there’s really no way to turn back. The events just have you so horrified, the story is so enthralling that you can’t do anything other than enjoy it. And look behind your shoulder every once in a while to see whether or not you’re being terrorized by little kids sleepwalking.

The suspense drops with the addition of reasoning behind why everything is going on, and trust me when I say you probably won’t spend the night tucked underneath your blanket screaming for your mommy. But for as long as it lasts, the suspense is intriguing and will make your heart beat significantly faster. I recommend this book to all young adults who enjoy a good horror novel once in a while. It’s decent and scary enough, but it won’t give you nightmares.


  1. I got a copy of this book a little while ago but haven’t read it yet. It does sound intriguing, and I’m looking forward to having the time to devote to it. Glad to know you think it’s enjoyable!

  2. I’m not big on horror stories in general, BUT I was intrigued by this when I first saw this. Still, this doesn’t seem like my kind of read.
    – Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

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