Wow, was this a great book. When I saw this book being recommended to fans of “Station Eleven” and “Never Let Me Go” I knew I had to read it. It honestly exceeded my expectations and is a book I thought about for days after I read it. My fear when reading a book like this is that the idea is going to be better than the execution and the payoff. Luckily, Thompson Walker was able to take an amazingly interesting concept and write a beautiful, thought-provoking novel about what could happen to society when the unexplained occurs.
Any review of “The Dreamers” has to be careful to not reveal too much. This book is full of twists and turns and multiple characters that are all somehow connected and I don’t want to give too much away. Much of the pleasure I got from reading this book came from not knowing what was going to happen next and constantly being afraid and excited to turn the page. The basic story is this: in a college town in California, a student goes to sleep one night and doesn’t wake up. She is not dead, but is instead in a dream-like state. Then, another student succumbs to the same sleep. All too quickly, there are numerous cases, a quarantine is setup and the National Guard is called. Medical doctors, psychiatrists, specialists— are all called in to help but no one can figure out what is causing the illness, nor any potential cures. There are several main characters: the roommate of the first patient, a janitor who works at the college and his two young daughters, a married couple of professors and their newborn baby, a psychiatrist, and an older professor at the college. Through their eyes, the reader is exposed to the fears and horrors going on in town and how the unknown can quickly change an entire town.
From page one, I was hooked. Even when I didn’t know what was going on, I was engrossed in the story. At one point, when I had no idea where the story was heading, I actually stopped and wrote in my notes “is this book about the end of the world?” There is definitely an apocalyptic feel to the story and the ending was exactly what I thought it was going to be and at the same time nothing like I thought it would be. There were some tough emotional moments that I refer to as “gut-punches” when I had to stop reading for a few minutes to reflect on what I just read. I found myself invested in the characters and genuinely cared about what happened to them and thought the choice of the characters to tell the story was great. Every character had a different thing to care about, whether it was their child, their family, or the neighborhood in general. The writing style was easy yet beautiful and I definitely highlighted some line I found to be particularly great.
I would HIGHLY recommend this book and think it would be a great book club pick. There are so many things to discuss and dissect and the writing was beautiful.
* I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Author: Karen Walker Thompson
Expected Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Rating: 4.5 Stars