Title: Nightmares!Authors: Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
Genre: Young Readers (not quite YA)
Jason Segel seems like a pretty funny guy. And I have read and LOVED some of Kirsten Miller's other books (such as KiKi Strike and How to Lead a Life of Crime). So I had very high hopes for their first book together, Nightmares! Unfortunately, it was pretty forgettable.
Charlie has recently moved into his step-mother's creepy mansion, and he is having terrible nightmares. He soon realizes that the mansion's magic allows his nightmares to cross into the real world, and him to cross into the nightmare world.
Frustration #1: His step-mother KNOWS ABOUT THIS and yet she fails to WARN THE TINY CHILDREN who have come to live with her. She expresses concern, and makes a weak attempt at speaking to Charlie about it, but that's it. She takes no action until Charlie is missing. WTF, Step-mother?
Frustration #2: Charlie ignores his step-mother's half-assed attempts to talk about his nightmares, and then takes HALF THE BOOK to figure out that she knows something. Even though he found drawings she created of creatures in the nightmare world. WTF, Charlie?
And yes, I know that I'm an adult reading a book meant for older children. But kids aren't stupid, and I remember this kind of shit making me crazy even when I was younger.
Frustration #3: Charlie is dumb. This is related to Frustration #2, but it doesn't stop there. When Charlie goes to Nightmare-land, he can be injured or killed for REAL. His friends, who are only dreaming, will eventually wake up safe in their beds. Nevertheless, Charlie repeatedly risks his life to help them fight their nightmares. Dude, you could REALLY FOR REALS DIE and your friends are just having bad dreams. Get some perspective, man.
I liked the second half of the book better than the first - Charlie smartens up, and the action moves a lot faster. But I still didn't love it. There is a nice empowering message about facing your fears, but ultimately, it's pretty forgettable.
Full disclosure: I bought this book with my own dollars.