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.My Thoughts: This book was wonderfully, phenomenally, fantastically creepy. I even gave myself a couple of days after reading it to make sure this wasn't some knee-jerk reaction to one of my favorite settings (abandoned asylums - although this one is not really abandoned) and I STILL feel the same way. Obviously this means this is one awesome book.
Things that worked for me: The asylum - Obviously, since asyulms are my ultimate creepy good time. Even if we'd never entered the asylum itself, its very presence could be felt through much of the book due to the events that happened in the beginning.
The town - Dying by inches, run down, forgotten. Caleb and Bean's initial interaction with the police department set the tone for how far the town has sunk into apathy.
Caleb - By no means the perfect hero, Caleb nearly abandons his quest more than once. If his friends hadn't been involved and in danger, he might have walked away for good. In the end, though, he stands tall and makes a stand.
Christine - Perhaps the most tragic of all the characters because she's trapped in a nightmare and is repeatedly told that everything she believes is wrong. Hated by her mother, loving a boy who's no longer a part of her life, constantly bombarded by the voices of the dead, she's the one I most wanted to come out of all this in one piece.
The Sleepwalkers - Creepy. Just, creepy to a degree that I can't express. Sleepwalking alone would be bad enough but the things they're made to do while in that state gave me the good shivers.
Gorgeous, evocative writing brought the setting to life and kept me frantically turning the pages. Seriously, guys, this book tops my Awesome Gothic Creepfest list.
More books by J. Gabriel Gates
Reading challenges: The Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, The YA Reading Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge
The Sleepwalkers was provided for review by HCI Teens through NetGalley.